Festive spirit marks event where 85 groups got funding for their work
The 10th anniversary of India Community Center Sevathon 2018, Run Walk Yoga raised 250,000 for a variety of nonprofit groups working either here or in India.
About 85 non-profits and about 2,500 people registered for the event, held August 19 at Arena Green in San Jose.
The participants included someone as young as Mayank Bharadwaj, 11, who woke up 5:30 am to support Sevathon and raise awareness about Sri Sankara Cancer Foundation in Bangalore, India, and one 85-year-old who walked 5K to support a cause.
The participants were served bananas and Parle-G biscuits at the entrance, and ICC seniors handed out Golgappas (pani puri) to attendees.
A few people had even quickly worked to help recent flood victims in Kerala.
One group doing that was Punyam, a non-profit that offers food, education and economic support to the poor in India.
Raji Menon, founder and president of Punyam, said her state of origin is facing natural calamity – its worst flood in a hundred years, and which has displaced half a million people and claimed over 370 lives.
Menon, born and brought up in Kodanad, Kerala, said that a lot of farmers in that area have lost everything.
“My family is okay, but Kerala is affected and that is my family at present,” she said, describing calls she is getting speaking of floating corpses and overcrowded camps with limited facilities.
“There are more than 1,500 camps and we are getting calls that food supplied are short. Only 800 people were offered food when there are 3,000 people in the camp,” she said, adding that Punyam has raised about $20,000 to help the victims.
“We need to identify [affected] areas and we are going to offer underclothing, nightgowns, underskirts and sanitary pads all over Kerala,” Menon said. “We are working with other organizations both in the US and India…. Our volunteers are working night and day.”
The group plans to allocate 50 percent of its collected funds for rehabilitation and the rest for rebuilding. It plans to send help directly to ensure the team is in touch with people on the ground. It is working with Sukarma Foundation, a non-profit that spreads awareness in villages about menstrual hygiene and the use of sanitary napkins.
Maya Vishwakarma, the founder of Sukarma Foundation, runs a cottage-industry style unit manufacturing sanitary pads to support rural women in India. She told indica that her group would indeed be helping Punyam to send about 10,000 sanitary napkins to the flood victims, along with undergarments.
Vishwakarma along with the sanitary napkins said she would be donating funds to the local people at the campus.
Mani Krishnanan, one of the oldest participant and the founder of Shasta Foods, said in his speech, “It’s always nice to be part of Sevathon. And as long as we grow as a community we should be able to do great things.”
He told indica he has been in the US for 41 years, and that he felt invigorated to see people with so much energy and enthusiasm up early in the morning to promote the causes that they believe in.