Gulshan Singh, 2/22/20
HC4A (Hindu Charities for America) celebrated 10 years of ‘serve where you live,’ at the Asian American Resource Center, Austin, on Saturday.
The founder, Harish Kotecha, spoke about his journey as an Indian refugee ousted from Uganda by dictator Idi Amin, in 1972.
His education and determination rewarded him with a successful career in the US.
After his retirement, he engaged in several social service activities and felt the need to give back.
“There is poverty here too. I thought it would be so great if the Indian community worked as one to serve those in need in the US,” says Kotecha.
So HC4A was established in 2010 with the mission to ‘bridge income disparity through education.’
Several hundred volunteers have since been inspired to raise over a million dollars.
Two salient events help raise funds: the HC4A Gala and Bollywood Meets Borscht Belt.
The latter is organized in partnership with the Jewish community; leading Bollywood dance schools in Austin like Monsoon Dance and Agni lend the glitz and glamor to a social-spirited night.
Over the years, the funds have helped provide 10,600 students with school supplies and over 550 vocational training scholarships.
Soon this successful model motivated them to start chapters in Southern California, Houston, and Dallas.
“Indian community is very successful, and we all came for one purpose, education, that was our driving factor.
We know the struggle, so we are ready to support the cause for education,” says Vaishali Tendolkar, Secretary of HC4A.
In 2017, US President, Donald Trump, honored Harish Kotecha with the President’s “Lifetime Achievement Award.”
Teri Benge, who was pursuing a degree in hospitality management at ACC, while keeping a full-time job, writes in her thank you note to HC4A that, “I will always remember this gesture of kindness and will one day, pay this forward by helping students achieve their goals, just as you have helped me.”