Holi Hullad Charity Night collects funds for 350 eye cataract operations!


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Rekha Rajvanshi watches as senior Mrs Tolani, Chandru Tolani’s mum lights diya on the night. Chandru donated 101 Cataract eye operations.

By Neena Badhwar

Philanthropy ”˜is a desire to improve the welfare of humanity’. In Australia, philanthropic collections amount to around $11 billion annually and volunteers contribute some 836 million hours annually, according to a 2005 report by the Department of Families and Community Services. This represents significant social investment in Australia that is independent of investment by governments.

An analysis of data from a recent Gallup WorldView poll has shown that Australia, along with New Zealand, is the most generous of the 153 countries surveyed, based on the proportion of population giving money to charity, volunteering time and helping a stranger.

We contribute a drop in the ocean as far as the Indian community down under is concerned, in spite of being at the forefront of being well off in Australia.

Holi Hullad 2013 on April 12, organised by Indian Literary & Art Society of Australia (ILASA Inc.), The Indian Down Under newspaper and Voice of India ”“ Monika Geetmala helped collect 351 Eye Cataract Surgeries for the eye camps by Vision Beyond Aus run by Australian Indian doctors in India.

Holi Hullad picks credible work done by Indian community members and has honoured selected people who are quiet achievers. This year two people who were honoured are Dr Shailja Chaturvedi and Mr Bipen Sharma of Sharma’s Kitchen. Organiser Rekha Rajvanshi, said, “It is an enormous effort for which my whole family rallied as I got so involved in the project and to motivate everyone into a benevolent mood and to convince all who have donated is not an easy task. But in the end it has paid off.”

Vision Beyond Aus has done enormous amount of work conducting over 2,000 eye operations through Camps they have held in Rishikesh, Tughlakabad in Delhi, Garvadi in Tiruchirapalli and also Ayodhya and Myanmar in Burma. In future they plan to go to Cambodia and Kolkotta and are looking at a target of 400,000 eye operations in the next five years.

“In Rishikesh and some of the areas we have worked in have a high incidence of treatable cataract and vision impairment amongst the poor. We need volunteers, doctors, equipment or simply money which is as little as $28 for a cataract eye operation to help achieve the goal we have set out for ourselves,” says Dr Singh.

This year Holi Hullad also collected funds for the Diabetes Council of Australia. Dolly Soni and Shikha Natasha worked hard to bring sponsors, supporters and the community for the cause as Indian community rank quite high as diabetes sufferers in Australia both in Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes..

Besides charitable work, the evening was also to celebrate Holi. And indeed it was a fun-filled night at the Parravilla Function Centre in Parramatta, with plenty of singing and dancing and a professional fashion show choreographed by Deepa Arora of Sanskriti School of Dance. In the end there was an entertaining song quiz hosted by Vinod Rajput and Shailja Chandra. The program was emceed by Amit Grover who kept all entertained through out the evening.

Holi Hullad highlighted everyone’s altruistic nature as they all chipped by committing to one, two, some 10 and others 20 eye operations. Chandru Tolani topped it all with a pledge of 101 eye operations. Kamal Athwal of Parravilla Function centre has been a strong supporter of the event making sure plenty of food was available and has not only donated himself for the last three years but also brought in his friends to commit to charity. Patel Brothers bought the pearl necklace auctioned on the night. Tuli Jewelers donated two pearl necklaces for auction, Australian Opal Cutters donated opal set, Milan Bazaar Thandai, Curry Masters their curry mixes, Sabzee in Harris Park offered fruit for fruit platter, Royal India dinner for two, Jack Tolani gifts for participants and Radio Dhoom sound system and DJ. It was a concerted effort by all the community, business community and artists for Holi Hullad to have been a success for three years in a row.

Holi Hullad not only has helped enabled an annual platform to help people in need but also brought together community members and the business community to achieve its goal. In the past it has helped Delhi University students to provide for rickshaws, empowered poor women in slums by distributing sewing machines and organizing lessons in sewing. Holi Hullad has every year picked a local as well as an Indian charity which is doing genuine work. Holi
Hullad team personally delivers to these charities the money collected making sure the programs promised are executed as well. If one person donates it helps a little bit but together the impact can be manifold.   The team at Holi Hullad invites people to come forward with genuine charities they have come across in India, in their hometown where they have been personally involved or even here who are doing work like the Sydney doctors of Vision Beyond Aus.

People who donated eye surgeries are: Chandru Tolani, Kamal Athwal, Sheba Nandkeolyar, Sue Advani, Aruna Chandrala, Amarinder Bajwa, Usha Puri, Mala Mehta, Rekha Rajvanshi, Manbir Kohli, Shailja Chandra, Madhu Chaudhary, Dr Prabhat & Neena Sinha, Preeti & Dinesh Thadani, Sneh Gupta & Dr Vijay Gupta, Piush & Sarika Gupta, The Indian Down Under newspaper, Sanjiv Raja, Global Women Network, Dharminder Singh, Lalit & Neelu Anand, Aruna Gupta, Geeta Gupta, Meena Mahanty, Cheeky Bites, Crowne Enterprises, Sanjay Deshwal, Maya Da Dhaba, Kamini Shani, Billu’s Indian Eatery, Sharma’s Kitchen, Giner Restaurant, Kamlesh Chaudhary, Best & Less Travel, Poonam Bali Chibbar,   Lata, Kiran Asija, Janki Advani Bhandari, Dr Mehta, Murali Bhojwani and Sol Voron.

In all 351 Eye Surgeries were donated while $2,500 went to Diabetes Council of Australia.

Holi Hullad has in the last three years collected and donated funds for 16 Rickshaws, $1000 to Queensland Relief Fund, 57 Sewing machines and Sewing Certificate Courses for slum girls in Delhi helping them to empower themselves, $1100 to Cambodian Children Trust, $9,200 to Vision Beyond Aus and $2,750 to Diabetes Council Australia. It is not the effort of three individuals but a united community that has come forward and has generously supported Holi Hullad and helped raise over $24,000 in these three years the amount duly passed on to the nominated charities in India and Australia and receipts issued to everyone who have donated.


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Dolly, Shikha, Deepa all worked hard to make the night a success

The buck does not stop here and this benevolent work must go on as many people in India and other needy countries have people who need eye operations.Vison Beyond Aus’ benevolent work does not end with once a year evening by Holi Hullad Charity Night as we need to increase community awareness and collectively help the team of doctors at Vision Beyond Aus who have spent valuable time in helping restore eye sights for people who cannot afford. Many people in India and other countries are so poor that they cannot afford even an eye check up. When these Eye Camps are held, they walk miles and even sleep outside in the open waiting for their turn to get checked up and operated. It is only $28 for a cataract operation and it will go a long way for a person who will get a lost vision back. Pledge of 350 cataract operations is still a long way away from the set target.

Vision Beyond Aus have a website that provides more information: www.visionbeyondaus.com.au . You can also pledge support by calling 1300 554 409. And do spread the word!

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Vikram Sharma and son Jagat great supporters of Charity Night

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