New York, N.Y. – April 2, 2012 – Famed actress and activist Shabana Azmi recently flew to New York to be the Special Guest of Honor at the first New York City art auction and fundraiser for AmeriCares India. More than 200 supporters of the humanitarian aid organization attended “A Celebration of Indian Art & Humanity” at the Aicon Gallery on March 22, 2012. Guests bid on artwork by prominent Indian artists such as M.F. Husain and Owais Husain and enjoyed appetizers catered by the Michelin-starred Indian restaurant Tulsi. Ms. Azmi mingled with celebrity auctioneer and American TV personality Aasif Mandvi, as well as distinguished guests including Aroon Shivdasani, executive director of the Indo-American Arts Council in New York, and AmeriCares President and CEO Curt Welling.
Ms. Azmi, who was recently honored with the prestigious Padma Bhushan award, spoke about her first experience with AmeriCares, helping to deliver aid after the 1993 Latur earthquake.
“There was an airlift mission and AmeriCares brought an entire plane full of critical medical supplies,” she said. “I work in the slums in Mumbai with my organization, Nivara Hakk, and we managed to coordinate the supplies brought in, and I saw for myself and witnessed the kind of compassion and commitment the people from the organization had and were providing to people in desperate need at that time. I was very impressed with that.”
The AmeriCares India Foundation responds to emergency medical needs and supports long-term humanitarian assistance programs in India and throughout the region. Last year, AmeriCares India delivered $1.4 million worth of free medical assistance in 20 Indian states, including free health care in the Mumbai slums and medical camps for disaster survivors. AmeriCares, which has an office and warehouse in Mumbai, also conducts disaster preparedness workshops for emergency medical personnel and community-based health education programs for disease prevention. The AmeriCares India Foundation was honored as “the best U.S. nongovernmental organization working towards humanity” by the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce in 2009.
Ms. Azmi said she is impressed with AmeriCares mobile clinic program in the Andheri slums that treats 1,200 patients a week, and looks forward to working with the organization to improve maternal and child health.
“Health care is so important, and we don’t recognize it enough. We look at it like charity, but I don’t think AmeriCares looks at it as charity,” she said. “They look at it as a commitment that’s necessary to get people back on their feet, and I think that’s the most important thing they do.”
Dr. Purvish Parikh, vice president and managing director of AmeriCares India, said it was a great honor to have Ms. Azmi attend the New York event and endorse his organization.
“We are truly honored that Shabana Azmi interrupted her filming schedule to travel so far just to be part of our event,” Dr. Parikh said. “She knows the work we are doing in the Mumbai slums and across India is improving health and saving lives.”