San Francisco nonprofit Compassionate Chefs Cafe (CCC) and the acclaimed New Delhi Restaurant join forces to host the much-anticipated industry event, “Bollywood Dance Party.” This extravaganza brings together residents in the Bay Area with the food and beverage industry for a night of Bollywood dance and music, eclectic performances, henna artists and a gourmet Indian buffet. DJ Amar will supply a heady mix of catchy beats and hypnotic Middle Eastern and Balkan rhythms for the evening. Amongst the talented line-up of performers will be Vicki Verk and the Non Stop Bhangra Dance Troupe, and Calamity Sam, a tribal fusion belly dancer.
The evening’s entertainment and dining is offered as a gift to the community with a suggestion of “paying forward” a donation to directly benefit CCC’s support of children’s welfare and education locally and globally through its involvement with the Tenderloin After School Program in San Francisco and the Gandhi Ashram, Kingsway Camp, in New Delhi. “This is always a fun, high-energy evening,” says founder and president of the organization, Ranjan Dey.
The CCC was inspired by Dey’s mother, a uniquely independent and inspiring woman for her time. As the headmistress of a school in Calcutta, she firmly believed in education for all children regardless of caste. Continuing her legacy as a spokesperson for the disenfranchised, CCC strives to improve the lives of challenged children and communities and cultivate global connections between local and international children. Ranjan Dey believes that “improving the lives of children will have the strongest effect on our future—both as a nation and as part of the world. CCC is dedicated to creating more citizens of the world by helping kids with the most challenges.”
This year, the majority of funds raised from the event with benefit the children’s music program at the Tenderloin After School program. “Music instructors are bringing instruments and recording equipment to the kids so they can learn to play, record their performance and share it with the children in both India and the United States,” says Dey.
Though a vibrant, multicultural neighbourhood, Tenderloin suffers from problems inherent in crowded urban areas such as abuse, violence, unemployment, and overcrowding. Six days a week, 200 children from the area are provided with a safe, supervised space to play and study. “We have made donations that paid for college tours for a dozen high school seniors. This allowed the kids to get a feel for college life, know where they wanted to attend and helped them become the first members of their families to go on to university,” he says.
Three hundred impoverished children of the Kingsway Camp have also received support from past events. Promoting Gandhi’s ultimate goal of nonviolence and education for all people, the ashram educates children of the Harijan (“untouchables”) in an attempt to eradicate this social label and the injustice faced by those burdened with it. The CCC hopes to continue its support in maintaining an adequate water supply for children and staff, providing of basic medical care and improving dining and kitchen facilities.
The children of Tenderloin and Gandhi’s Ashram reach out to each other through letters and artwork, forming a global support network. Another recent project facilitating cultural exchange involved 16 children from the largest slums of Ahmedabad, Gujarat, who were selected through auditions and trained in dance and drama. The result was “Ekatva,” a production sharing Gandhi’s message of oneness and harmony within oneself, with others and with the planet. The group will tour India, U.S. and the U.K., hoping to inspire citizens across the globe to care for those in need.
Part of CCC’s vision is to fund a student and teacher exchange program between India and San Francisco to further cultivate connections between communities and funds raised from the Bollywood dance party will go toward fulfilling this goal.
“One of the best parts of CCC is seeing how small donations can have a very large impact on the lives of other people,” Dey says.
Sunday, Aug. 28, 6-10 p.m. New Delhi Restaurant and Bar, 160 Ellis St., San Francisco. $50 suggested donation. (415) 397-8470. [email protected] www.newdelhirestaurant.com. www.compassionatechefs.org.