Washington: May 20, 2014: Hundreds of Sikh community members gathered from across the Washington area and some traveled far distances to offer their support to Punjab’s poor but bright students in a fund raising event held at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center in the Washington area.
A glittery gala gave a thumbs up endorsement to the program of assistance for financially strapped students pursuing higher education in Punjab by the fifteen year old Washington based Sikh Human Development Foundation (SHDF).
Over $330,000 was raised when the donors enthusiastically opened their hearts and check books. This was in response to a passionate appeal by the Chief Guest of the event, Sardar Surender Singh Kandhari, a business tycoon and who has gained worldwide respect for being the driving force for building an ornate and impressive Gurdwara in the heart of Dubai. He exhorted the audience of 550 to donate wholeheartedly to the cause of education and challenged the audience by announcing his donation of $100,000. Famous Punjabi Singer, Malkit Singh MBE from UK, enthralled the audience with his latest numbers and made them dance to his catchy songs.
Gajinder Singh Ahuja, Chairman of SHDF, while welcoming the guests, said, “I would like to report to you today that it is with your help and your whole hearted support that the lives of thousands of poor but bright students are being transformed. You are directly responsible for fulfilling the dreams of these students. You are giving them a life of dignity.” He ended with a touching phrase “We need your help. They need your help.”
On announcement of his magnanimous support for SHDF, Surender Singh Kandhari received a standing ovation! He said, “We are all very blessed and we must serve our youth. Their future is our future. Education is the most important treasure that any young man can possess and we are privileged to be in a position to help those in need in Punjab. It is our duty to do so. Good education helps in breaking the cycle of poverty. Giving is a virtue and it is a blessing that we are being asked to give.”