With its Bollywood theme and altruistic intent, the recently held Yatra Foundation annual fundraiser delivered some serious fun.
A crowd of about 340 arrived at the St Kilda Town Hall, bedecked in vibrant Indian wear and geared up for some wonderful revelry.
Nothing gets a party going better than a Bollywood theme with its kaleidoscopic colours, peppy music and fun elements. Add to this some spicy curries and everyone warmed up in no time.
This is Yatra Foundation’s 9th year of holding the annual fundraiser, with all the proceeds utilised to support underprivileged children’s literacy projects currently underway in India.
Founded by Ravi Savarirayan and Sanjay Jain, Yatra Foundation has been instrumental in giving hope for a better future to hundreds of children through effective education.
It is a not-for-profit, non-religious, non-governmental organisation that works with selected NGOs in India, supporting over 1,200 children, in some of the remotest rural areas of Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu to gain quality education.
Ravi is an Indian origin paediatrician and clinical geneticist who works at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. Sanjay, who hails from Rajasthan, runs a marketing company based in Melbourne, and is the Managing Director of a sporting goods company.
Both are driven by the strong belief that every child should have access to good education as education can change lives. Together, with their partners, they have embarked on this journey (or yatra, in Hindi) towards making a difference to disadvantaged children in India.
This year, Yatra raised $80,000 with generous support from the guests.
Generosity mixed with vivacity at the event, as guests enjoyed the upbeat Bollywood music and grooved to the tunes of DJ Aji. Those not into dancing had henna stalls, bindi and bangle stalls to keep them happily occupied.
Sam Goraya and his disciple Soumaya performed a mesmerising Odissi classical dance performance to kick off the entertainment segment of the evening. Moving in sync, the duo gracefully executed a short traditional segment that was well received by the audience.
Ignite Bollywood dancers presented the quintessential Bollywood medley and had the guests on their feet. MC Natasha Margaritis along with young volunteers from Wesley College ensured that the night went smoothly.
Garth Davis, Director of the movie Lion, briefly addressed the audience speaking on how education and opportunity can transform lives. Garth is a longtime supporter of Yatra Foundation and was also present at the movie night fundraiser held by Yatra earlier in the year.
“Through the amazing generosity of all who attended, we were able to raise funds that will continue to sustain and enrich our various projects in India,” said Sanjay Jain.
“Yatra Foundation Australia has now raised over $1 million towards our projects with the aim of sustainable, quality, and accessible education delivered effectively to the poorest children across India,” he continued.
“We remain deeply humbled by the support and belief all our supporters have shown us over many years and we look forward to our 10th Gala Fundraiser next year!” said Sanjay.