The Salvation Tree School brings the sights, sounds and flavors of India to Wellington each winter season for one special night and one special purpose.
On Tuesday, March 1, the Salvation Tree School hosted the third annual India Night at the International Polo Club Palm Beach.
It was a night dedicated to raising money and awareness for the life-changing school in New Delhi, India.
Cocktail dresses and suits were traded in for Indian saris and turbans. Pop music was foregone in favor of catchy Bollywood songs. Chocolate molded into elephants filled with mousse replaced more traditional desserts, and the IPC Pavilion was transformed into a scene straight out of India for more than 250 guests.
Thanks to the generosity of attendees, the event allows the Salvation Tree School to raise money needed to continue to provide impoverished children in India with an entirely free education, including books, supplies, meals, transportation and uniforms.
This year’s event proceeds will not only support the day-to-day functions of the school, they will go toward the construction of a new school building, allowing the Salvation Tree School to greatly increase the number of students within its reach and to expand the school’s life-changing impact.
“We are so blessed by the support that is shown to the school every year at this event,” said Wellington resident Timmy Sharma, co-founder of the Salvation Tree School with his wife, Laurie Sharma. “We just broke ground on the new school building that will allow us to go from having 300 students to thousands of students.”
The education provided will be a life-changing experience for the children, he said.
“Many of the children there are stuck at the bottom of the Indian caste system and don’t go to school at all,” he said. “Education is just completely denied to them. Our hope is to provide them, not only an education, but also hope for a better future. We want our school to be the small pebble that creates a ripple of change throughout India.”
Preceding dinner, prepared and presented by Aaron’s Catering of the Palm Beaches, guests at India Night enjoyed a children’s Bollywood dancing showcase, choreographed by Jyotsna Gupta and performed by her Chamakte Sitare group.
Guests then had the opportunity to bid on the trip of a lifetime to India, as well as on naming rights to areas of the new school building.
From there, the party turned into an evening of dancing, kicked off by a performance from Janet Uribe and her Jai Ho Fit team.
For those unable to attend the event and interested in learning more about the Salvation Tree School, visit www.salvationtree.org.
ABOVE: Salvation Tree founders Laurie and Timmy Sharma.