Articles

New York City's important Indians all at one charity

Source: Vogue
October 2013


Madhur Jaffrey and Meera Gandhi. Photo: Muhammad Jaffur/SnapsIndia

Last Sunday brought together the most prominent of the Indian diaspora in New York City, to highlight their achievements and raising funds for the charity Children’s Hope India (CHI). The evening, themed Viva Calcutta, was held at Chelsea Piers, with sweeping views of the Hudson River encompassing the room on all sides.

Among the honorees, were fashion designer Rachel Roy, a longtime supporter of CHI and Indra Nooryi, CEO of PepsiCo. Mallika Dutt of Breakthrough, was also honored, along with television personality and Rajya Sabha member, Derek O’Brien, and artist Sundaram Tagore. Meera Gandhi was acknowledged for her scholarship collaborations with CHI while Culinary icon Madhur Jaffrey, business mavens AJ and Poonam Khubani and Ali Velshi of Al-Jazeera America all served as award presenters.

Roy was unable to attend the gala, though spoke at length about CHI’s importance in a phone interview.

“When I started my collection 10 years ago I was doing a lot of work in Indian factories,” Roy says from Los Angeles. “I wanted to further the blessing I received from it, and that’s how I came to work with Children’s Hope.”

Roy and her daughter, Ava, paid a visit to a CHI center in New Delhi, whose purpose is to provide education, nutrition, vocational training, and medical assistance to children in marginalized urban and rural communities in India.

“Better than lecturing my daughter about what I think would benefit her life, I thought I would show her,” she says, “I think what she learned that day was more than anything I could have given to her.”

Nooryi’s acceptance speech was a homage to her grandfather’s constant sense of responsibility towards her.

“We’ve all been blessed with people who made sure we got the care we needed,” she said, and believes everyone deserves the same privilege.

“It’s important to create cultural change as you can’t keep dealing with the problem after the fact. You have to change the different attitudes and norms that lead to the issues that women and girls face,” says Mallika Dutt, another award-winner of the evening and the founder of Breakthrough, an organization whose mission is to make violence against women unacceptable.