LOS ANGELES: India Friends Association (IFA), an organization of Indian Americans and others dedicated to fostering grassroots development in India, is holding its annual signature fundraiser ‘Archana’ on Saturday, April 23 in Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, CA.
The funds that are raised are used to empower the poor people in India to fight corruption, improve governance, obtain employment and healthcare, protect the environment and more.
Archana features a cast of more than 100 local children and adults. Showcasing India’s cultural richness and diversity, the program also aims to build social consciousness by using a variety of audio visual resources. Archana programs are envisioned to reflect Indian culture/traditions in a manner that relates to IFA’s overall mission.
It is a collective effort of hundreds of volunteers. Other than the hall and food, most everything else is donated by members or supporters. All performers, artists, and others offer their services free of charge. Many also make additional contributions in cash, kind and labor. It is never about how much one is required to give, it is how much one is able and willing to give. The program is also not about show casing or advertising talents, even though we frequently have performers of exceptional quality. Instead, it is about the desire to work collectively for a cause that transcends individual recognition. It is also about ordinary people working hard to create something that is beautiful and unique.
IFA, located in Ventura County, California, was started in 1993 by a group of Indian Americans in Southern California after the devastating Latur earthquake. Concerned about the red tape and corruption involved in charity work, they wanted to explore direct avenues for their support. The resulting success of this endeavor and the satisfaction received wherefrom encouraged them to make a long-term commitment.
The group has since evolved in to a solid organization with a well thought out charter and clear philosophy. Neither a charity nor a debating society, IFA is designed to function as a catalyst in activities that promote economic empowerment and self sufficiency of the most under privileged population of India. IFA’s mission is to help change the face of India by becoming a help in the economic self-sufficiency and empowerment of the underprivileged segments of Indian society.
Some of the projects that IFA has worked towards include: Awareness about Farmers Suicide, Arunachal-Karuna Trust, The Health Awareness center (THAC), Asha Ashram, National Campaign for People’s Right to Information, RIM (Rejuvenate India Movement), Foundation for Democratic Reform, Save the Rivers Campaign, People’s Science Institute, Child Labor Study Centers, Manavi, FFDA, Samskar: Child at Risk, Gramin Vikas Vigyan Samiti and the list goes on.
The greatest strength of IFA is exemplified in its philosophy, group structure and working principles. Their philosophy is rooted in the Gandhian concept of service that attaches a high value to personal involvement. Monetary contribution, thus, becomes a sort of proxy for those who are unable to be active due to various reasons. Their commitment to inviting all – but compelling none – has resulted in a warm and supportive relationship with the local community. There has been a steady growth in IFA’s outreach in home base and its impact in the field. It is now linked with numerous campaigns, organizations and movements that are attacking endemic poverty in creative ways.
On the home front IFA’s growth is evident in the steady increase in the funds raised and the number of people involved. Archana – the annual, signature fund raiser – epitomizes the ideal of widespread community participation in a shared and worthy cause. It is a celebration of Indian culture which is held in the spring of each year. It is an excellent opportunity for people in the community to experience the colors, the costumes, the songs and dances of India. and all of that for a cause that really transcends us all.
India Post News Service