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Nirbhaya - Successful Fundraiser For Saheli

Ranjani Saigal

Saheli, an organization that works to support victims of domestic violence held its bi-annual fundraiser on Dec 8, 2019 to raise initial funds for a transitional home, money for scholarships and to support general programs for Saheli. The fundraiser was successful in building awareness and raising over $110,000. 

“Saheli is an organization whose work is not easily understood by people. It is nearly impossible to fathom the unusually difficult situations these women find themselves in. Our goal this year was not only to raise funds but also to give an understanding of the issue to our audience” says Neelam Wali, who served as the chair for the event. 

Nirbhaya as an event was initiated by several years ago by many dedicated volunteers. Dr. Manju Sheth and Anu Chitrapu worked hard to create a structure for the event several years ago and have provided support for the event year after year. They, along with attorneys Kaplesh Kumar and Jerry Tutor were honored for being volunteers who have made significant contributions to Saheli.

The highlight of the entertainment for the evening was a play written by Meenakshi Garodia that showcased the tales of women who are helped by Saheli. Jharna Madan, Eesha Ingle,Ajay Jain and Ajay Jaisingh played the characters. Music was provided by Anish Khanzode.

There was a lovely dance presentation by Shyamoita Mukherjee, odissi dancer to the poetry of Sunayna Kachroo. Other items included music Mohan Subramanium and dance by DFD academy. There was an art auction with art pieces donated by local artists. Ajay Jaisingh and Tanu Basu served as the master of ceremonies for the evening.

In addition to gathering support for Saheli’s regular programs, this year’s fundraiser was targeted to raise funds to build a transitional home for victims. “Our goal is to have the home fully functional by 2021. We have enough funds to start the project now and are actively seeking a place” says Neelam Wali. This year’s fundraiser was also used to raise scholarship money for women to attend college. 

“The fundraising program was extremely impactful. The program motivated me to increase the donation I was planning to make at the event” said Puran Dang, a community leader from Lexington, MA.

“The work the DV advocates and volunteers do day in and day out is extremely difficult. They do it with utmost sincerity and that is truly inspirational,” says Neelam Wali. 

Neelam Wali, Gouri Banerjee, Usha Vakil, Divya Chaturvedi, Priya Murli, Rita Shah, Meenakshi Gorodia,Divya Chandra,Shalini Kakkar, Ramila Thakkar,Anu Chitrapu, Manju Sheth and Suman Sharma were part of the core organizing team.

Other volunteers who helped included Anjali Wali, Ambika Wali Patel, Sejal Menon, Sumana Bhatt, Humsha Naidoo, Vandana Sharma, Manish Patel, Shilpa Kulkarni, Tashvi Khakkar, Nisha Wali and Rekha Palriwala .. 

To learn more about Saheli and their programs, please visit their website at http://saheliboston.org/

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