The 2014 DARPAN Extraordinary Achievement Awards was truly a night of wonder. Celebrating DARPAN Magazine’s 10 years in the publishing industry and 5 years of the Extraordinary Achievement Awards, this year’s awards night soared to new heights, and will definitely be remembered for its glitz, glamour and inspiration. Take a look at our Extraordianry Award recipients:
Anuradha Koirala receives the International Sensation award from Canadian Western Bank executives, Puneet Agrawal, Director of Business Development, and Bob Duffield, General Manager
Anuradha Koirala- International Sensation
Anuradha Koirala has devoted her entire life to rescue and rehabilitate females from the heinous cycle of sex trade and trafficking. Since the past two decades, Koirala has been working adamantly towards eradicating commercial sexual exploitation of females in Nepal. Her non-governmental organization, Maiti Nepal, located in Kathmandu, is serving the purpose of providing various services including women empowerment programmes, legal support and antiretroviral therapy (ART) to women and children infected by HIV. The extent of this amazing organization's support can be calculated from the fact that it directly assists more than a thousand children every day.
Over the years, Koirala's work and dedication has been recognized with 30 national and international awards. These include- the Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience award in 2006 for the work to “rescue, rehabilitate, and support some of the thousands of girls and women who have been trafficked from Nepal to India to be sexual slaves in brothels,”; in 2007 she won the German UNIFEM (United Nations Development Fund for Women) award for her humanitarianism; and, in 2010 this determined activist was recognized as the CNN Hero of year for “protecting the powerless” in many years of her human service.
Anoop Virk receives the Young Wonder award from Matthew Grant, Director Marketing and External Affairs SFU Surrey
Anoop Virk- Young Wonder
“Be the change you wish to see in the world,” – these are words Anoop Virk lives by and at the young age of 21, she already has an impressive list of philanthropic achievements. Virk was named Canada’s Top 20 under 20.
While attending high school, Virk co-founded Project H.E.L.L.O (Helping Everyone Locate Loved Ones), an initiative that helps connect homeless residents of the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver with their long lost family and friends. More recently, Virk founded Project L.O.V.E (Letting Our Voices Empower), which focuses on education, gender equality and giving girls equal access to opportunities. Virk spent the past summer in rural Zambia, building a school in order to integrate gender equality into the education system. The school also aims to teach boys and girls income generating skills.
Sirish Rao receives the Artistic Visionary Award from Gurjinder Rana, owner Capital Stone & Tile
Sirish Rao- Artistic Visionary
Hailed as one of the most original contemporary voices in Indian literature, Sirish Rao is author of over twenty books, which range from novels to children's books to re-telling of classic myths. Not only was Rao the director of Tara Books, an independent publishing house in India, for 10 years, he currently serves as the Artistic Director of Vancouver’s Indian Summer Festival which concluded its fourth year in 2014. Co-founded by Rao and his wife Laura Byspalko, the annual Indian Summer Festival showcases contemporary South Asian arts and ideas. Featuring top performers, authors, musicians, chefs and more, the 10 day festival celebrates the arts and inspires dialogues between the East and West.
Gunwant Bains receives the Advancing Philanthropy award from Dr. Aly Kanani, Orthodontist, BC Orthodontics Group
Gunwant Bains- Advancing Philanthropy
Gunwant ‘Gunny’ Bains truly leads a life dedicated to the service of others. Bains has been a dedicated volunteer throughout her life, supporting various charities and community centre initiatives.
She founded the Golden Girls Foundation in 1999, an all-women charitable group which raises money for BC’s Children Hospital and other world emergency funds, such as 9/11 and the South Asian Tsunami of 2004. Under the leadership of Bains, the Golden Girls have been able to successfully raise over $1.027 million to establish a Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji operating room at the BC’s Children’s Hospital in Vancouver.
Peter Dhillon receives the Corporate Engagement award from Peter Heppner, general manager Preston GM Langley
Peter Dhillon- Corporate Engagament
Peter Dhillon epitomizes the role of the community leader and savvy businessman. He is the CEO of Richberry Group of Companies, one of the world’s largest suppliers of cranberries in the world. The company has about 800 acres of cranberry bogs in B.C. and about 450 in Quebec.
After completing his undergraduate at University of British Columbia, Dhillon received bachelors of law from the University of Leeds before taking up the family business in 1993. Since then, Dhillon has also served on various local and national boards across Canada and was recently elected as the Chairman of Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc, making him the first Canadian cranberry grower to hold this significant position.
Dr. Raghbir S. Bains receives the Community Crusader award from Balraj Mann (left), CEO at Balraj Mann Group & Milan Mann (right)
Dr. Raghbir S. Bains- Community Crusader
Dr. Raghbir Singh Bains, the renowned author of the Encyclopaedia of Sikhism on Multimedia Technology is also an eminent community activist.
Dr. Bains has done extensive research on HIV-AIDS in Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya and has initiated numerous seminars, youth camps and community campaigns on the subject of AIDS Awareness. He has also produced a lot of publications on drug and alcohol addiction. Dr. Bains is currently in the process of establishing a Cyber School that would give free coaching to students on topics such as English and Maths as well as drug addiction. He is one of the most prominent Sikh personalities in the world and has been honoured with more than 60 local, national and international awards, including the Order of BC and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal.
Dr. Gurdev S. Gill receives the Breaking Barriers award from Paul Bhogal and Sohan Bhogal, Founders of Sunrise Kitchens
Dr. Gurdev S. Gill- Breaking Barriers
Since immigrating to Canada in 1949, Gurdev Gill has been a pillar and a pioneer of the Indo-Canadian community in British Columbia. He was the first Indo-Canadian to graduate with a medical degree from the University of British Columbia and the first Indo-Canadian to practice medicine in Canada.
As a former President of the Khalsa Diwan Society, he helped with the early human rights struggles that faced the Indo-Canadian community and was one of the individuals instrumental in building the Ross Street. He was also part of several delegations to Ottawa in the 1950s to push for voting and immigration rights. Dr. Gill has devoted his energy and finances to charity, starting the Indo-Canadian Friendship Society of BC (ICFSBC) and championing projects to provide rural Indian villages with sanitary living conditions, clean drinking water, public health and rural infrastructure upgrades.
Anita Huberman receives the Industry Marvel award from Daljit Thind, CEO of Thind Signature Developments
Anita Huberman- Industry Marvel
Anita Huberman serves as the CEO of Surrey Board of Trade and her inspiring story is a testament to what one can achieve through hard work and determination. Huberman began working for the Surrey Board of Trade at a young age. Working her way up the ladder, she was made CEO in 2007. Renowned for her dedicated work ethic and determination, Huberman led her organization to greater heights and built the brand that the Surrey Board of Trade is today.
Huberman, who was named Vancouver’s Top 40 Under 40 in Business in Vancouver 2011, has won several other awards for her distinguished leadership in the business world and continues to work tirelessly to enrich the lives of those in her community by promoting programs and resources that benefit the citizens.
Amarjeet Singh on behalf of Naad Foundation receives the Hertiage Defender Award from Mark Taylor (center) and Bhupinder Singh (right) from Exclusive Floors
Naad Foundation (Amarjeet Singh)- Heritage Defender
Naad foundation – a non-profit organization initially started in 2006, is dedicated to preserving and promoting the culture, traditions and heritage of music, dance and literature. With a vision to promote and preserve the South Asian culture, Naad Foundation organizes an annual festival each year. This festival which is now in its 10th year, started off as a one day event but starting 2013, this has been converted in to a two-day event.
The educational training centre offer courses in language and literature studies (English, Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu), music (vocal, percussion instruments, wind instruments, stringed instruments, etc.) and dance (folk, modern, contemporary). These courses are taught by a faculty of trainers and teachers who are highly qualified in their respective disciplines.
Arjun Gill receives the Spirit of Sport award from DARPAN Magazine Publishers, Gurvinder Hundal (center) and Ramneek Dhillon (right)
Arjun Gill- Spirit of Sport
At the young age of 22, Arjun Gill has proven himself to be a fantastic wrestler, winning gold in wrestling at the Commonwealth Games 2014 held in Glasgow, Scotland.
Gill was one of the seven male wrestlers who were selected to represent Canada at the games and wrestled in the 97 kg weight category. The young surrey resident defeated Satywart Kadian of India in the finals.