The New Jersey-based Share and Care Foundation raised $800,000 at the 34th the gala with the theme “I Am Empowered.” The charity hosted its 34th Annual Gala and Fundraiser at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center on December 10th. Singer Parthiv Gohil and Indian-American actor Omi Vaidya entertained the audience of more than 1,500 who came to enjoy and give to their favorite charity. Describing Gohil as the “son of Share and Care,” Chairperson Sharad Shah said both Gohil and Vaidya have pledged to support the foundation and its various endeavors.
“Our annual gala is not like anybody else’s,” Shah said. The gala consists of 80 percent fundraising and 20 percent entertainment, he explained. Shah said the foundation uses the event as a platform to interact with their supporters and the community in general. Copies of the financial report are distributed to the audience, Shah noted, and the report is also read out at the event. “Communication with the community, our supporters is key,” Shah said.
Share and Care’s signature projects were also highlighted at the event. Two of these programs – Women Empowerment and Nirmal Bharat – have done exceptionally well, Shah said.
Share and Care’s Women Empowerment Committee has been striving to find simple and effective solutions to completely empower rural women in India, Share and Care says, describing gender equality and women empowerment as a multi-faceted and deeply rooted issue in all countries.
Although there is not one single solution to promoting gender equality, small steps can be taken to create significant change, and impact the lives of women all around the world, Shah said, noting, “Equality and equity, both are important.”
The foundation works with women with limited education, who therefore have few skills that can translate to an income or self-sufficient life. They also come from traditional families, where women are not given the same importance or value as men.
The foundation works with these women to provide vocational training, such as fashion design and computer training, to provide skills for employment or starting a business; financial management skills, basic principles of budgeting and saving their own money for their futures; self-defense lessons to help them defend themselves physically when necessary; confidence training, to help undo the traditional mindset of inferiority their communities may have instilled in them and to help them become more confident and self-sufficient; a safe space and legal protection and education for those who have escaped from prostitution; and gender equality education, for both boys and girls starting at a young age, to change the way women are viewed in society.