'Punjabi village' raises $68k for Delhi slums | india | Hindustan Times
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'Punjabi village' raises $68k for Delhi slums

india Updated: Dec 19, 2007 15:32 IST

The Punjabis of Yuba City this week raised about $68,000 for slum dwellers of New Delhi.

Known as the first Punjabi village in the US, Yuba City in northern California is home to the families of Sikh farmers who migrated to the US about 100 years ago.

Among its prominent resident is Didar Singh Bains who grows more peaches than anyone else in the world.

The Punjabis of the city raised the money for Asha, a voluntary organisation working for the welfare of the slum people in India's capital, at a function in the city.

Kiran Martin, who heads Asha, made a powerful presentation of the organisation's work to an audience which included local Congressman Wally Herger, Mayor Rory Ramirez, Councilmen Kashmir Singh Gill and Tejinder Singh Maan, Supervisor Jim Whitaker and Sheriff Jim Denny.

Martin, a paediatrician, recalled how she was moved to set up the organisation in the mid-1980s when cholera broke out in a slum in New Delhi. She had just finished her post-graduate degree and began her career by treating the cholera-hit slum dwellers.

Over the years, she went on to create a community health and development society, Asha.

"We have so far transformed the lives of over 300,000 people, and our work continues apace," Martin said. The Indian government has honoured her with the Padma Shri for her work.

Her presentation on the plight of the slum dwellers moved the audience to open their purses. In no time they raised about $50,000. But before the end of the event, the donations had risen to $67,904.

In a touching gesture, the children in the audience presented the cheque to Martin.

Congressman Wally Herger, in his address to the audience, praised Martin for her selfless service to humankind. He also praised the Punjabi community for raising money for a noble cause.

Speaking to IANS, Jasbir Kang, who was one of the organisers, said Yuba City would hold more such fund-raisers in future for noble causes. He said some local people had volunteered to go to India and work for the slum people.

"The Yuba City Committee for Asha, which includes Sundeep Singh Dale, Ginger Kaur Purewal, Sushil Kumar Satija, Kam Singh Takhar and Sarbjit Singh Thiara will never hesitate to step up to the plate whenever they are called upon to donate for India's poor," said Kang.