“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.”- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sahaay 2011, with Honourable Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, Former President of India being the Chief Guest, was a dream that came true.

Sudha had worked with great focus all through the year of 2011, identifying the causes associated with children, finalizing on the beneficiaries and setting out to seek funds from all the compassionate souls that she came across. It was a decision made deep within that she somehow must work on getting Dr. Kalam to be present and hand over the donations to the beneficiaries. And the universe conspired. With persistence and pursuance, it happened and the day dawned bright and clear to leave an imprint in the history of Samudhaaya Foundation as one unforgettable occasion!

Malavika Ragunathan, daughter of Shri M.C. Ragunathan and Smt. Sudha Ragunathan was the MC for the evening, ably structuring and managing the flow of events with precision. A crisp function, timed one hour, preceded by a magic show by SAC Vasanth for the children, set the pace for the evening. The stage was bedecked with jewels....of humility, compassion, commitment, knowledge and generosity. Yes, this was a reflection of the occupants on the dais – the Chief Guest, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, Shri N. Gopalaswamy, Shri M Murali, Smt. Sudha Ragunathan and Shri M.C. Ragunathan

The evening began at 5:00 pm with Magician SAC Vasanth delighting the children and taking the audience to raptures. The children from Prema Vaasam, Sri Arunodayam and Clarke School for the Deaf were all smiles watching Vasanth’s show.

The official function began at 6:00 pm with the Chief Guests seated on the dais and a welcome speech by Sudha Ragunathan. Sudha spelt out the purpose of the evening, the way the thought processes came about and the relentless pursuance to collect funds for the identified beneficiaries. Focussed on her mission and a firm conviction that she will have the august presence of Dr. Kalam for the event, Sudha was grateful for his acceptance and sought his blessings for the Foundation and for those deserving children who are the future of the nation.

A cheque of Rs. 20 lakhs to Sri Ramachandra Hospital for the underprivileged cancer afflicted children was handed over to Dr. Julius Xavier Scott, Associate Professor and Senior Consultant at the Department of Paediatric Haematology and Oncology Unit.

Indra, first student of Prema Vaasam received the cheque for Rs. 20 lakhs, on behalf of Mr. Selvyn Roy, Founder of the Home.

The Saadhana Award for Excellence is a token of recognition that honours individuals who have visibly impacted society with their contribution and talent in an exemplary manner. Mr. M. Murali of Sri Krishna Sweets is the recipient of the Saadhana Award for Excellence in 2011. Over and above his presence and stature in the food business, Mr. Murali plays a major role in spreading art and culture and is a great philanthropist with numerous projects for the needy and underprivileged, to his credit.

His Excellency, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, in his speech, described corruption and moral turpitude as major challenges that threaten economic progress and the dream of India joining the league of developed nations by 2020.

It’s a ‘What can I take?’ attitude that seems to have gripped the country. And that immediately and urgently needs to be replaced with ‘What can I give?’ He used the occasion to request artistes to devote at least 10 per cent of their time to spread the mission of music and inject humaneness into people. He highlighted performances given by Sudha Ragunathan in schools run by Chennai Corporation and old age homes as acts worthy of being emulated.

“Through our individual efforts and contributions, we must strive to create a compassionate society,” were his closing words.

Former Chief Election Commissioner N. Gopalaswami, quoting from the Tirukkural, termed philanthropic acts as ‘life’s ornaments’.

In her concluding speech, Sudha could not express enough her gratitude to the Chief Guests and all those donors who reached out to support and make this evening happen, enriching the quality of life for those afflicted and underprivileged deserving children.

And we move the next continued consciousness of the philosophy of ‘what can I give?’

Links with information and pictures of the event.