"1.1 million yuan! A new record!" All the people stood up to give a toast to this phenomenal moment at the 3rd Pita's&Tika's annual Diwali Charity Gala.
This year, again in Grand Hyatt Hangzhou, the event moved to a 3-ballroom space that held up to 300 guests, among whom are the 80 generous sponsors, some Chinese friends, and friends from the expat communities in Hangzhou.
The night began with a prayer to Lord Ganesha and a stunning dance performance. The food served by Pita's&Tika's was authentic Indian and rich in traditional spices.
"Those sights, sounds and fragrances already transported me to the fine venues of Mumbai or Delhi," exclaimed Hazel from the UK, who made encounters of old and new friends at the tables.
Naty from America is a newcomer to Hangzhou. "It's the events like the Diwali Charity that makes the communities in Hangzhou so special, and gives us a chance to be part of something bigger."
The essence of Diwali, to strengthen the sense of family and community, and to bring a positive change in the life of others, expressed so profoundly in the relaxing vibe and cheerful fund-raising.
To contribute to the good cause, one could purchase raffle tickets that might win him/her a fine dining experience, a luxe hotel room for a night, or even an iPhone13.
The gala culminated with an auction. A painting "Namcha Barwa" by independent artist Jin Geng was sold at 40 thousand yuan, and other biddings were all sold at good prices.
All the tickets and auction money will go to Hyatt Charity Fund. Since 2013, the fund has been making a difference to the education of underprivileged students in Hangzhou Yanzhou High School, a well-known school that almost guarantee students a slot to universities.
Ms. Lai Zhongling, Duty Principal of the school, expressed gratitude to Rajni and Mona, the two amazing ladies who are the owners of Pita's&Tika's and worked hard behind the scenes, and everyone onsite. "It's magic of love from you that gives our students the wings to fly high." She told the guests that one of the receivers has been admitted to Tsinghua University, the leading university in China.
The Diwali gala last year was a blast, which raised 300,000 yuan. "We were often asked when it would happen this year. Expat communities in Hangzhou, our past attendees, as well as Pita's &Tika's guests were all excited and geared up to help more kids," said Mona.
Months prior to the event, Rajni and Mona reached to as many people as they could for sponsorship. "Looking to the cause and the trust they had in us, we got a record of sponsors, that enabled us to make it bigger this year."