BOSTON–The Desai Foundation, an organization empowering women and children through community programs in India and the US, will host their hallmark Lotus Festival in a virtual-live hybrid format this year.
With social distancing measures keeping attendees at home, the annual fundraiser will bring a welcome celebratory mood in the midst of COVID, with watch parties tuning in to the live stream event on Saturday, October 3rd. Over the past several months, the organization has focused its efforts on COVID relief, and is eager to connect and celebrate with it’s supporters.
Far from your average zoom call, the Lotus Festival program will highlight the people at the heart of the Desai Foundation’s work through a live tour of a rural community where the Foundation works and a meet-and-greet with beneficiaries, the Desai Foundation said in a statement.
Celebrity guests, including Jay Wadhwani from Netflix’s Indian Matchmaking and singer Avanti Nagral, will provide entertainment, and twice-over Olympic Gold Medalist soccer coach Jill Ellis will also be joining to support the cause.
The organization is offering a variety of experiences to attendees, including access to an exclusive VIP networking event, featuring virtual sponsorship “tables” where guests can interact in a closed setting; a silent auction; and a national dance party hosted by the one and only DJ Rekha. The event will also feature appearances by activist, artist & creator of Jeanette The Musical Ari Afsar, award-winning filmmaker Shruti Ganguly, and actor/musician Monica Dogra.
In a first-of-its-kind national expansion of the event, attendees of the organization’s highly successful Diwali on the Hudson and Cali-Diwali, typically held in New York and San Francisco, will also be invited to attend the Lotus Festival this year in place of those events.
“We’re known for these incredible events that bring people together, so we were devastated at the thought of not being able to bring that same joy to our communities in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and California,” said the organization’s President Megha Desai. “I’m so excited to introduce this virtual-hybrid model, as it’s more important now than ever that we find ways to connect, not only to socialize and network, but to celebrate successes during a tough year.”
The Desai Foundation hopes to raise $250,000 to bolster their work, which includes COVID relief: in light of the pandemic, the Foundation pivoted swiftly from their regularly scheduled health and livelihood workshops to ensure women not only retain access to the menstrual hygiene products they need, but also the financial means to meet basic health and nutritional needs for themselves and their families. Through their program Masks for
HOPE (Health, Opportunity, Perseverance & Empowerment), more than 200 women across rural India are now earning a much-needed regular income to produce and distribute 100,000 hand-sewn face masks monthly in vulnerable communities. These women were originally part of their sewing program, and they were able to quickly activate them to work safely from their homes during India’s severe lockdown. The organization has also redoubled their efforts to provide food, masks and sanitary napkins to populations in rural India and the United States. Every dollar raised during the event will be matched 100% and go towards these much-needed COVID relief efforts focused on health, hygiene, menstrual health and livelihood.
People interested in attending the Lotus Festival are invited to buy early-bird promotional tickets here, available until September. The Festival is also currently accepting item donations for the silent auction, as well as sponsorship applications.