Maanavseva, a Massachusetts-based public charity organization, will celebrate its anniversary with a fundraiser on Feb. 20 at McCarthy Middle School in Chelmsford. Renowned classical dancer Padma Shri Dr. Ananda Shankar Jayant will headline the event with performances in Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi, including a presentation of Thyagaraja Ramayanam.
Established to promote health education and services in India, Maanavseva focuses its efforts on fighting cervical, oral and breast cancers among women in rural areas. Mr. Sastry Dwivedula, Maanavseva’s Founder and President, points to the barriers to prescreening for cancers, such as lack of awareness, resistance to testing and poor access to medical facilities in villages, as one of the reasons for the organization’s creation. Maanavseva is currently piloting a project in two villages in Vizianagaram districts in Andhra Pradesh, and an immediate goal is to purchase a mobile mammogram vehicle that will help increase access to cancer screening for women in rural areas.
“We chose Ananda to participate in our very first fundraiser because she would be a strong advocate for the work we are doing back in India,” says Mr. Dwivedula, referring not just to Dr. Ananda Shankar Jayant’s accomplishments as a dancer but also to her fight against breast cancer. A multifaceted artist, Dr. Ananda Shankar Jayant is a cancer survivor who has received much acclaim for her work in breast cancer support and advocacy. Her talk at TED India 2009 is ranked among the 12 Incredible TED talks on cancer. A celebrated dancer, choreographer and scholar, Dr. Ananda Shankar Jayant has received many awards, including Kalaimamani from the Government of Tamil Nadu, Kala Ratna from the Government of Andhra Pradesh and Padma Shri from the Government of India. As the Artistic Director of Shankarananda Kalakshetra in Hyderabad, she leads an ensemble of Bharatanatyam dancers and has presented critically acclaimed productions at international venues.
Admission to the fundraiser on Feb. 20 is free, although prior registration is required. The event will begin at 5 p.m. and will include a silent auction and dinner. Maanavseva is a 501(c)(3) Charity, and contributions are tax deductible as per IRS guidelines. For more information about the event, visit the Maanavseva website.