A school for 200 children opened in a rural village in India, thanks in large part to a philanthropic family in New York.
The school, in the village of Napaniya khijadiya in the Indian State of Gujarat, was built with a $100,000 donation made by the late Champalakshmi Narottamdas Lakhani. The school, which opened in February 2018, is housed in a brand new three-story building and is named for its benefactor, serving Grades 1 through 8.
Students at the school will be able to learn using the latest technology, purchased with a $5,000 grant from the Subraj Foundation, a charitable organization based in Queens and run by Anthony Subraj, whose wife, Vibha Subraj, is Lakhani’s granddaughter.
Gujarat was the home of Mahatma Gandhi, who spearheaded the Indian independence movement against British colonial rule.
The Subraj Foundation was recently honored for decades worth of charitable work by the Indian Diaspora Council International, which recognized the medical missions it has sponsored in Guyana, including the country’s first-ever kidney transplant. Since 1992, the Subraj Foundation has also brought pioneering doctors and technology from leading American hospitals to conduct corneal transplants for impoverished people in Guyana who have little or no access to this type of medical care.
“Whether it is building schools, so tomorrow’s future leaders can be educated for the world they will inherit or bringing vital medical treatment to parts of the world where people can’t afford life-saving care, it is so important for those blessed with good fortune to give back,” said Mr. Subraj. “That is what my father taught me and what Vibha learned from generations of her own family.”
The Subraj Foundation was started by the late George Subraj, who founded Zara Realty in 1982. The firm, based in Jamaica, Queens, manages more than 2.7 million square feet of residential property and is one of the city’s premiere providers of affordable housing.
On March 18, at a ceremony in Queens Village, the Indian Diaspora Council International honored the late George Subraj and his family alongside luminaries such as the late Cheddi B. Jagan, a leading figure in Guyana’s independence from Great Britain and that country’s President from 1992 to 1997.
That event was held to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the Indian indenture system, in which people from India were sent to various locations throughout the British Empire, including Guyana, as debt-bonded servants. The practice existed in Guyana from about 1838 to 1917.
The Champalakshmi Narottamdas Lakhani School was dedicated Feb. 17 and was built in partnership with Project Life, a global humanitarian organization. Three generations of the Lakhani family were present for the opening.