In a Gentle Way, You Can Shake the World — Gandhi

Prakash Jha works as an engineer at a Silicon Valley startup. He came here from a small village in Bihar, where students still walk miles to get to school. His father has turned blind with diabetes. Prakash wants to help not just his family but also his village. Caught in 14-hour-work days, he cannot himself open a school in India. He wants to give the children of his village the same chance for a better life that he has had.

Kalki has been traveling from United States to India with her parents since she was little. She has seen young children begging at traffic spots. A blessing by a beggar woman, “May God give you sons” leads to a transformative moment. “How terrible is it being a girl in India?” asked the ten-year-old. When she was twenty-five, Kalki and her friends set up a non-profit to take back underage girls from sex slavery.

Prakash has found the answer. If he can’t go to India himself, he can empower individuals and organizations who are working in the field and help them succeed. He looks for and finds a non-profit he can support with the help of Indians for Collective Action (ICA), the same organization that helps social entrepreneurs like Kalki.

Indians for Collective Action (ICA), a non-profit that would allow donors like Prakash and social entrepreneurs like Kalki to partner, was formed over fifty years ago. In 1965, Berkeley students along with their Professor P.K. Mehta, got together with the aim to aid India’s rapid economic advancement. At about the same time, professionals working in San Francisco, like Mahendra Mehta, were thinking along the same lines. The two groups got together to form ICA.

Over the last four decades, ICA has helped fund over 30 organizations with upwards of 8 million dollars impacting 10 million lives.

Going forward, in the new global world, ICA wants to nurture cross-fertilization of ideas amongst social entrepreneurs in the US and India. This interaction will help social entrepreneurs across the globe share solutions to social problems like homelessness and education.

“Additionally, high net-worth donors, both in the US and India, can leverage ICA’s network to achieve their social impact goals. We can all work together to make the world a better place,” says Reshma Nigam, the President of ICA and CEO and Founder of Markable Solutions.

Celebrations of its 50th anniversary are dedicated to this meeting of the minds. A Conference and Expo for NGOs in India and the US is giving them an opportunity to make new connections with donors, volunteers and sister organizations. On October 20th, leading social entrepreneurs of India, including Anand Kumar of Super30, Suhani Jalota of the Myna Mahila Foundation, Dr. Anagha and Dr. Digant Amte of Lok Biradari Prakalp, will share the stage with prestigious Ashoka fellows Hasina Kharbhih and Victoria Hale, as well as Padmashree awardees Janak Palta McGilligan and Dr. Pankaj Shah.

Radha Basu, BV Jagdeesh, Suresh Bazaj, Talat Hasan and Maya Vishwakarma, among others, will be representing the bay area.

“ICA gives people an opportunity to select from carefully vetted Indian charities to fund and to volunteer. Passion to serve, love and care is nurtured,” says Abhay Bhushan, Vice President of ICA

Reshma Nigam, President of ICA

The Golden Jubilee conference event on October 20th is at Santa Clara Convention Center. Bring your children to this worthwhile event. The conference opens at 12:30 p.m. with a keynote from Ramon Magsaysay Award winner Dr. Bharat Vatwani. It ends with a keynote by Padma Shri recipient Janak Palta McGilligan. The gala dinner is from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Recognized for their work will be Lata Krishnan of America India Foundation, Girish Kulkarni of Snehalaya and Naginbhai Jagada of Arpan Foundation.

Click here for The agenda of the conference.

Ritu Marwah is a Business Executive who writes for India Currents.

This article is edited by Geetika Pathania Jain.

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