Tag Archives: Indiaspora

Top: Raj & Anna Asava. Bottom: HungerMitao Founders, Taiwan Center Foundation of LA, and HTHF on a zoom call.

An Unexpected Union of NonProfits Raise COVID Funds: HungerMitao, Taiwan Center Foundation, & a Hindu Temple

In April 2021, the United States experienced a steady decline in the COVID-19 cases, resulting in portions of the economy opening up. However, for people in India, the worst had just begun due to the second wave of the pandemic. The new variant of concern doubled the number of infections and deaths in the nation of 1.3 billion in population, sparking a  humanitarian crisis due to the shortage of medical resources for critically ill patients, resulting in an alarming number of people losing their lives. 

What emerges from the crisis is a story of three entities that didn’t know each other who, out of their compassion and vision, collaboratively raised $50,000 to help their fellow human beings in India.

In response to this crisis, Dallas-based philanthropists and founders of the HungerMitao movement, Raj & Aradhana Asava, initiated a matching donation challenge on Facebook of $25,000 and raised $12,343. 

Concurrently, the Los Angeles-based Taiwan Center Foundation of Greater Los Angeles spearheaded a fundraiser in the Taiwan American community in LA, raising $11,620 from many generous donors, and sent their funds to Pasadena-based non-profit Hindu Temple and Heritage Foundation (HTHF) to arrange to send to India. 

The three entities combined fundraising efforts – Taiwan Center Foundation’s $11,620.00 and HTHF’s donation of $1,037, was added to the $12,343 raised by Raj & Aradhana Asava challenge on Facebook for a total of $25,000. This was matched by a donation of  $25,000 from Raj & Aradhana Asava – resulting in a final donation amount of $50,000. 

These funds will be sent to India through Indiaspora to help set up COVID-19 Care Centers. The 10 bed COVID-19 Care Center, for a period of three critical months, will provide over 120 patients care for seven days each; and 7,000 people will be benefitted through outpatient services and utilization of various logistical support. 

A true story of what humans can achieve when they put their hearts and minds together! 

In addition, responding to the same crisis in May, HTHF also raised $17,500 to send 2,000  oxygen concentrators and help set up an oxygen plant in India. 

For additional information or to donate, check out each organization:

Mohna Manihar is an artist and a marketing, publicity, and fundraising consultant. She uses her MBA and networking skills as a catalyst to help non-profits and newer artists grow.


Creating Spaces For LGBTQIA Hindus

Washington, DC (June 21, 2018) — In honor of LGBT Pride Month, the Sri Siva Vishnu Temple, in Lanham, Maryland, hosted a town hall discussion on June 16 about what the temple could do to make queer Hindus feel more included.

The event, “Creating Spaces for LGBTQIA Hindus,” was co-sponsored by the SSVT Center for Dharma Education, HAF, and Indiaspora.

Moderated by Sivagami (Shiva) Subbaraman, the director of the LGBTQ Resource Center at Georgetown University, the panelists talked about their experiences coming out and the struggles they had to overcome reconciling their sexual identities with their religious identity.

SSVT co-founder Dr. Siva Subramanian and BOT member Vasu Murthy opened the discussion by noting that Hinduism’s scriptures do not vilify LGBT identities, but noted that the scriptural openness is not always reflected in the attitude of many Hindus. They noted the SSVT’s statement on creating an inclusive space for LGBTQIA Hindus, which read:

“Hinduism is an all inclusive and open way of life that teaches that all beings are equal. To honor those scriptural ideals, SSVT’s Constitution forbids discrimination against any one on the basis of race, gender, religion etc. The recently formed Center for Dharma Education — whose task has been to engage younger generations of American-born Hindus — has done several events based on the relevant issues in the society such as non-violence, socially conscious parenting etc.

Based on the CDE’s initiative, the SSVT is undertaking a dialog about how those who identify as both LGBTQIA and Hindu have reconciled those identities, and how the temple can help make them feel included and integrated into the larger Hindu community. SSVT is undertaking this discussion to bring the community together for an open dialog, and find a way to make sure all of our community’s voices are heard and respected.”

Subbaraman and panelists Swarna Chowdhuri, Mytili Jagannathan, and Harsh Voruganti said they appreciated the temple’s willingness to host the discussion. Members of the audience, including some who identify as queer, added that they felt more welcomed as a result of the event. The event was standing room only, with some traveling from as far away as Pennsylvania just to attend.

CDE chair Rohit Setty and former HAF education director (and current consultant) Murali Balaji noted that the townhall was just the first step in creating a long-term space for queer Hindus. The SSVT Board also said they would work to do more to provide support for community members and their families.

“We need to do more to uphold our scriptural ideas,” Balaji said. “Hopefully our queer family members will feel that the SSVT is a welcoming and loving space as we build on this.”

The SSVT is working on engaging more Hindus, and others, on important topics through the CDE’s townhall series. Townhalls on domestic violence and mental health, respectively, will take place in the fall.

HAF co-sponsored the event as a continuation of its advocacy on behalf of LGBTQIA issues. To see more on HAF’s advocacy on behalf of LGBTQIA rights click here.