‘Punjabi village’ in US raises $35,000 for orphans in India

April 25th, 2009 - 1:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Yuba City (California), April 25 (IANS) People of this so-called Punjabi village of northern California have raised $35,000 for the poor and orphans in India.
The local Punjabi American Heritage Society, which has been in the forefront of raising funds for slum dwellers and orphans in India, organized a colourful Punjabi evening Thursday to raise the money.

Known as the first Punjabi village of North America, Yuba City is home to the descendants of the earliest Indian immigrants to the US.

Famous for its annual Sikh parades, the city is also known for producing the world’s biggest peach producer Didar Singh Bains.

Yuba City mayor Rory Ramirez, vice mayor Kash Gill, councilman Tej Singh Mann and County supervisor Jim Whitaker were among those who joined the Punjabi evening to contribute from $10 to $1,000 to raise the money.

“Every year, we are raising the bar to collect money for the poor and orphans of India. This is one of the many fundraisers that we organize here to help the less fortunate in India,” said event organizer and Punjabi American Heritage Society convener Jasbir Kang.

“Since we don’t want wastage of funds, this money will be spent in India through a local non-profit called Sahaita,” said Kang who is chief of staff at a city hospital.

Sahaita, which runs more than a dozen clinics in California, has adopted an orphanage in Ludhiana. It also runs many health camps in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.

Sahaita founder and physician Harkesh Sandhu said he was moved to start fun-raising after meeting two young girls blinded by cataract in India last year.

He said he was shocked to know that their poor, migrant worker couldn’t afford the surgery to restore their eyesight. On his return to California, Sandhu raised within a month $10,000 for the girls’ surgery in India.

The surgery was successful and the girls got their eyesight back, he said.

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