APRIL 2022
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EKAL VIDYALAYA DONOR APPRECIATION VIRTUAL CONCERT SET for April 30

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Ekal Vidyalaya Florida region chapters will present “Ekal Geet Mala," a virtual concert at 7:30 p.m. on April 30, featuring Hemant Kumar Musical Group, as a token of appreciation. The online mega show promises to be one of its kind with more than 50 musicians, including singers Ishita Vishwakarma (“Sa Re Ga Ma Pa” Winner), Priyanka Mitra, Dr. Gauri Kavi, Alok Katdare, Mukhtar Shah and Saurav Kishan.

To make a donation or pledge, visit https://www.ekal.org/geetmala

Ekal empowers people in rural India by providing basic education, digital literacy, skill development, health awareness, learning modern and productive agricultural practices and rural entrepreneurship so they can help themselves. Since 1989, Ekal has reached 100 million people living in over 100,000 rural villages with your help. 

For more details, refer to Ekal.org/us or reach out to local chapter volunteers.

For information, Florida Region - Dr. Umesh Choudhry at (727) 507-0584; Tampa Chapter- Jaimin Amin at (813) 283-8125; Lakeland Chapter - Nilesh Patel at (863) 513-6505; Ocala Chapter - Nagesh Kohil at (352) 427-1542; Tallahassee Chapter - Santosh Dixit at (850) 559-1080; and Fort Myers Chapter - Senthil Kumar at (786) 245-1959.


OVER 9,000 ATTEND MELBOURNE INDIAFEST

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More than 9,000 people attended the 25th Indiafest March 5-6 in Melbourne. Apart from the daylong cultural shows on the stage, vendors set up food, clothing, jewelry, henna and more under perfect weather conditions. Part of organizer Manav Mandir’s philosophy is to support deserving charities locally and nationally and assist in disaster relief in the U.S. and overseas. This year, the group presented an endowment of $100,000 to the Eastern State Florida College in Cocoa to assist about 10 deserving students per year with tuition.


TAMPA COMMUNITY RECOGNIZES RAM AND RASHMI JAKHOTIA

By NITISH S. RELE – editor@khaasbaat.com

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Nearly 300 people attended a special event on March 12 to recognize and appreciate Ram Jakhotia, his wife Rashmi, and a dedicated team of kitchen volunteers (Nita Shah, Rekha Chandra, Ramila Patel and Trushnabein) for selfless service to Tampa Bay seniors for 18 years.

“As soon as India Cultural Center was built, Ram came to ask about starting a senior group,” remembers Dr. Dipak Shah on behalf of ICC management. “He has been persistent and now we are enjoying the fruits. We thank Ram and Rashmi for their dedication, hard work.”

The free ICC Seniors get-to-gather, held every third Wednesday of each month from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., has been the place where seniors meet not only to socialize and network but also listen to world-class musicians and speakers specializing in elderly needs such as finance, health care, Medicare, spirituality, diet, stress management, etc. The ICC management team has been providing free use of the Lotus Hall, kitchen facility to cook food on site, as well as offering audio/video system, tables and chairs to seniors who come from such faraway places as Sarasota, Spring Hill, Lakeland, Plant City, etc. Also, rides are arranged for seniors who do not have transportation. For more information, call Mahesh Modha at (813) 476-1540.

Dr. Jayendra Chokshi recalled the tremendous hardship Ram Jakhotia endured in India before moving to the United States. “He was born in Jayal, a small town in Rajasthan. He studied under a tree and that’s how his education started. At 10, he moved to Bombay, graduated from high school, then college, with his brother’s support. When they married, Ram was 17 and Rashmi was only 14 years of age.”

Jakhotia wanted to be an engineer and earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in Sangli, Maharashtra. “He came back to Bombay but couldn’t find a job. Ultimately, he decided to move to the U.S. and came here via boat in 1962 with few dollars in hand. After finishing post-graduation, he got a job in New Jersey in 1965. ICC Seniors get-to-gather has grown from a handful to 250-300 people,” He worked for IBM before retiring in 1997.

“A dream without a goal remains a dream only,” noted philanthropist Dr. Kiran C. Patel. “It was a dream of Ram and a few friends, he persevered, persisted and now you see the outcome. Ram and Rashmi has been committed and dedicated monthly for the seniors group. They are involved in any community activity to volunteer, work without any expectations, and that’s what we have to learn from them.”

Jakhotia thanked ICC for offering the Lotus Hall and all its conveniences. “Seniors can make friends with other seniors when they come to Tampa to settle down in our city,” he noted. “They get good food, entertainment.” The Jakhotias’ sons Deepak and DJ Ravidrums along with family were also present. In recognizing his parents, Ravi aptly put it, “You both are the Tom Brady and Gronk of the Indian American community!”

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