LONG ISLAND, NY, May 22, 2017 – Children’s Hope India (CHI) held its very popular annual women’s luncheon on May 10, 2017 at the Carltun at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow, New York. Over 250 women came to celebrate the accomplishments of women and their contributions to improving their communities. The over $45,000 in funds raised at this year’s luncheon will benefit Children’s Hope India’s Sight for the Sightless Program (Dekhna Hai Muje, or “I want To See”) in Pune, India. This important project unites CHI in collaboration with KK Eye Institute in Pune, in screening thousands of children every year in rural and urban slums for eye problems ranging from cataracts to refractive errors and other rare eye disorders such as ocular tumors and congenital diseases. 41% of children in India experience vision problems before they complete school which dramatically hinder their ability to learn, grow and achieve their dreams.

A highlight of the spring luncheon is the Woman of Distinction Award, given to a woman who has managed to balance the challenges of the workplace, home and social responsibility. This year CHI honored Tania Ahuja, Banker, Advocate for Education and Patron of the Arts. Ms. Ahuja has a senior role at Arkera, a London based AI start-up in the financial sector. Prior to that she worked at Citigroup on credit and liquidity stress tests and loan loss reserve methodology to satisfy the bank’s capital and liquidity requirements. She is passionate about education, especially for women, and sits on the boards of many non-profits and institutes for higher learning. Ms. Ahuja spoke about the challenges she has personally taken on in her life, her resilience, and the teachings (mostly outside the classroom) passed onto her by her father and her mother—the example they set for her in going beyond merely being the best you can be for yourself and your family to helping others. She likened her mother’s mission to help the unlucky to the work of Children’s Hope India, changing children’s lives forever with their work. Ms. Ahuja closed by saying. “If you’re lucky enough to do well, it’s your responsibility to send the elevator back down. Always remember how lucky you are and pay it forward.”

The guest speaker for this year’s luncheon was MoniCa Singh, an international voice for survivors of acid attacks. Ms. Singh, who is known for surviving and overcoming an acid attack and reaching New York by herself to study at her dream school (Parsons), is a motivational speaker, humanitarian and well known social activist for violence against women. In addition to being a spokesperson for the United Nations, Ms. Singh is the Founder and President of the Mahendra Singh Foundation, which is aimed at helping women overcome obstacles and reach their full potential. Ms. Singh spoke not only about her own resilience and her journey back to health and wholeness after her attack, but also about her mission to give the dreams back to the thousands of girls out there who have suffered from various forms of violence, many of whom may not have the support she had from her parents. “Life is too precious to cry over,” she said. “If you keep crying, you are insulting life. And if you have survived one time, there must be something amazing in your life which is gonna come. All you have to have is hope.”

In attendance at the luncheon was Mrs. Riva Ganguly Das, Indian Consul General of New York, as well as many of CHI’s past honorees. The spring luncheon was organized by the CHI benefit committee comprising of Babita Advani, Milan Devjani, Aarti Kamat, Maneesha Sani and Madhulika Shroff. Jharna Jaisinghani of Artistic Affairs coordinated the event, and DJ Sharad provided the fun music. It was a celebration of young women who are achieving so much. Some of the vendors who participated in the event include:

Anjali Khosla’s collection of cashmere and silk cashmere stoles enhanced with delicate French laces, crystals, fringes and tassels of a varied nature, using different mediums like silk and suede completing the look of a modern luxe.

Black Tie Chefs’ top quality truffles and truffle products— specially designed for the everyday chefs at home as well as professional chefs alike trying to create those ‘black tie’ event worthy dishes.

The Front Row, one of the premier retailers of Ladies Fashion in the Caribbean, providing its customers with trendy, yet affordable clothing.

Kashish Hemnani, a Hong Kong based designer and founder of exotic handbag brand Laykh, a fresh take on the classics, with styles that effortlessly transition across multiple looks.

Meenu Kumar Collections of Trendy Fusion wear at pocket friendly prices including the Nehru Vest.

ReeMat Designs’ stunning handcrafted statement jewelry and scarves blending the classic with the contemporary.

Shruthi Jewelers and their beautiful gold jewelry.