Pongal-Republic Day 2011

Event Summary Report

On January 8, 2011, Bighelp held their 8th annual fundraiser Pongal-Republic Day celebrations at Canton High School, Canton, MA. This year’s event was attended by over 1400 people and lasted nearly ten hours. The event started with Spelling Bee, Math Bee, Art, and Coloring for kids and a Rangoli contest for adults. The Cultural programs were hosted by 6 energetic young students Neha Majeti, Avinash Gundimeda, Rahul Polu, Madhu Prakash, Susruthi Rajanala and Susmitha Saripalli who are also part of Bighelp's Youth Group. A colorful mix of songs and dances, patriotic, devotional, filmy, classical and modern, performed by over 300 children and adults made up the cultural programs. Though everyone thoroughly enjoyed the exciting day, they knew that the real reason behind the event was to extend Bighelp’s mission, and they did just that. A total of $20,000 was raised to continue the organization’s projects in the upcoming year.

The President & Founder Mr. Chand Pasha Shaik said he is very encouraged by the response and thanked all those 95 volunteers and 40 youth members for all their hard work and commitment in making the event an another successful fundraiser for Bighelp. He said the funds raised during this event will be utilized to sponsor additional 50 children, adopt 5 new schools, setup 5 new merit awards and support another special needs school in 2011. He said $2000 (90,000 India Rupees) will be donate to a computer training institute “Samanvai” that was recently started by a blind student from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to provide free computer training to visually impaired children in India. The project proposal for Samanvai was presented by one of the youth committee member Ravi Yelamanchili during the event. Progress of this project will be monitored by the members of youth group.

Mr. Chand Pasha Shaik said “For many of us who were born and brought up in India, it is so natural to see children dropout of the schools, work as a maid servant to do household chores, work in workshops, hotels or beg on streets of India. Although sometimes we try to be sympathetic to these children, we always tend to ignore the source of their problem and leave them to their fate or destiny. But it is the time for all of us to start wondering what made these children to be in that situation!”.

“What value do they add to this world when they grow in that impoverished situation? Can we see the safe and developed world in future when we leave these children to their destiny?” questioned Mr. Shaik

The year 2010 saw many accomplishments for Bighelp. In addition to sponsoring the education of 343 poor children of India, sponsoring 23 merit awards, providing support to 150 public schools, Bighelp Youth Group was expanded and now has more than forty members. In addition, an environmental awareness group, known as GreenHelp, was formed and is being run by the Youth Group and headed by Mrs. Madhavi Kamma with the mighty vision of doing their part for a greener Earth. The core mission of GreenHelp is to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle plastic & paper. This team’s efforts prevented 355 water bottles and 75 soda cans from being disposed as trash on January 8th. All of them were collected and recycled.

Several individuals who made significant achievements were recognized at the event by Bighelp. Yashita Thota and Haaseef Shaik were the recipients of this year’s “Raising Star” Awards. These thoughtful young children refused a birthday party, asking their parents & party guests to donate to Bighelp instead. Mr.&Mrs. Valiveti, Mr.& Mrs. Gora and Mr.&Mrs. Kamma were presented with the Volunteer of the Year 2010 Award, for their outstanding contributions to the organization. Winners of the art, coloring, and rangoli contests, as well as the spelling and newly added math bee were presented with trophies and certificates. Complimentary dinner prepared by 95 volunteers was served to all guests at the end of the event.