The U.S. chapter of “Life Global” held an event to familiarize the Indian American community with the various social projects conducted by the organization, at the Royal Albert Palace on June 27th. Dr. Sudhir Parikh, founder and chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media, was joined in this new initiative by Meetal Koticha Shah and Rushikesh Pandya, Project ‘Life’ representatives who came from India.
Chief Guest at the launch event was Consul General of India in New York, Sandeep Chakravorthy, who spoke about the commendable features of Life Global service in Gujarat, India. Ambassador of India shri Dr Sandeep Chakravorthy spoke about the necessity of medical and surgical camps not only in Gujarat but other states of India and gives involvement in supporting various projects. Consul General did emphasized on education by providing monetarily support in rural villages, clean water services and medical help by inviting supporters as investors in future and not a view of donations.
Others who who were present at the launch included former New Jersey Assemblyman, who is now Commissioner on the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, Upendra Chivukula, Senator Freddie Thompson (D-NJ), peace activist Acharya Lokesh Muni; Chairman of the Federation of Indian Associations (FIA NY-NJ-CT) Ramesh Patel and President of FIA NY-NJ-CT Srujal Parikh along with 200 other guests.
“One way to nurture our love for India among the next generation is to do some kind of philanthropic work. This commitment to philanthropy to help the underprivileged in India is not only deeply satisfying on a personal level but more importantly it is the uniqueness of India that makes it even more satisfying,” said Dr. Parikh as he encouraged everyone to pitch in. Dr. Parikh and his wife Dr. Sudha Parikh have been involved with Project ‘Life’ for many years now and it is because of their help that the organization has reached such a stupendous level.
“I would like to thank Dr. Sudhir Parikh and Dr. Sudha Parikh for organizing this event, keeping us together on this platform and it is because of them, we have come together today as they have spent some quality time at Project ‘Life,’” said Shah, the daughter of founder, Chandrakant Koticha.
“As I look back in time, the fact that a mission that was just a dream, has come to such a global level, is really hard to believe. Project ‘Life,’ a temple of humanitarian services, was born in the Saurashtra and Katyavad region of Gujarat and is now spreading its wings globally. We have been influenced by St. Mother Theresa and short but heart-touching phrase ‘live simply so others can simply live.’ She was the first distinguished guest to visit our blood-bank on Feb. 25, 1982, just 81 days after its inception,” Shah continued.
“The journey of Project ‘Life’ is full of miracles, unbelievable miracles and the association of exceptional people like you. My grandmother became a widow at the age of 23 and though she was married at the age of 14, she understood the value of education and it is because of her vision and rigorous hard work, I am standing here in front of you. My uncle and my dad lead a strong foundation of Project ‘Life’ in 1978 with an aspiration to support, sustain and enrich the lives of the underprivileged,” Shah added.
Shah also mentioned that the blood-bank is the mother of all interventions and as of today they have issued 592,567 units of blood components, saving more than 300,000 lives. Meetal Koticha Shah and Padma Shri Dr. Sudhir Parikh present a token of appreciation to the Share and Care organization. (Photo: Peter Ferriera)
From a state-of-the- NABH (National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers) & AABB (American Association of Blood Banks, USA) blood bank, the Koticha brothers expanded Project ‘Life’ beyond blood donation.
In 1990, Project ‘Life’ introduced their second intervention, the Life Greenfield Centre, which has distributed and re-planted more than 257,813 plants out of which 63 are indigenous, 23,000 have grown to be six to 15 feet and 17,000 plants are being nurtured for a three to four year period.
Project ‘Life’ was started on December 6, 1981 by brothers Shashikant Koticha and Chandrakant Koticha, as a blood-bank in Rajkot, Gujarat, India with the vision to support, sustain and enrich the lives of the poor and underprivileged in India through environmental protection, thalassemia prevention, education, health initiatives and women’s empowerment projects, as a way of giving back to the society.
Three years later, the organization started a Life Thalassaemia Prevention Centre where they screened 656,518 people for Thalassemia, which is a blood disorder that involves less than normal amounts of an oxygen-carrying protein and can be life-threatening. Today, they have screened over 1,442,152 people, preventing 117 births with Thalassaemia.
After the prevention of Thalassaemia, Project ‘Life’ decided to take up the initiative of education and though it was started in the year 2000, the Life Education Centre did not make an impact until the year after when Gujarat was struck with a 7.6 magnitude earthquake, which destroyed many buildings, including schools.
Today, Project ‘Life’ has constructed 78 Primary Schools in the rural areas of the state of Gujarat and it benefits 24,000 students each year as it has awarded 12,644 scholarships while 11,539 girls have received grants.
In 2003, Project ‘Life’ established a Life Health & Wellness Centre from which more than 579,403 people have benefited through Yoga ‘Shibirs’ and the Universal Healing Program, including 6,585 prisoners from 23 jails throughout Gujarat who benefited from Preksha Dhyan Shibir, a meditation camp.
The success of the project in Gujarat has been identified as one of the six Non-Resident Gujarati Centers and to facilitate connectivity of the Non Resident Gujaraties and Nonresident Indians with their love for homeland and to serve to uplift humanitarian activities Dr Sudhir Parikh provided structural podium for Indian Americans who want to help underprivileged people in India and did opening of new chapter of Life Global in New Jersey.