A Sikh-American community organisation has raised over $250,000 to fund scholarships for needy students striving to acquire higher professional education in Punjab and neighbouring Indian states.
The funds were raised at an event in Vienna, Virginia, a Washington suburb in support of Sikh Human Development Foundation (SHDF)'s mission to provide need-based scholarships for higher professional education in India.
Noted television talk show host and producer Gurmeet Sodhi served as the emcee. Welcoming the audience Foundation chairman Amar Jit Singh Sodhi said in the last 12 years SHDF had awarded nearly 2,400 scholarships at a cost of nearly a million dollars.
About 800 of these scholars have graduated and are working as professionals in some 31 disciplines.
"These scholarship recipients in turn are changing the lives of their families by educating their siblings and helping their parents live their golden years with a smile on their faces," he said.
Applauding SHDF at the gala, chief guest and philanthropist Harshivinderjit Singh Bains, an ophthalmologist from Austin, Texas said, "We as contributors to SHDF can extend a strong helping hand that not only pulls that individual out of poverty but potentially a couple of generations before and certainly those that follow."
A highlight of the evening was a move by a dozen girls, all around the age of ten, which contributed to the outpouring of compassionate giving by the guests.
Seeing their parents and grandparents selling tickets for the Gala event, these girls formed a group called Young Khalsa Girls (YKG) and raised $17,500 - enough to give 35 scholarships.
Before the programme began, guests observed a moment of silence in remembrance of the victims and those affected by the recent shooting in a Wisconsin gurdwara.