More than 500 KOJAIN members – young and old, males and females – had gathered together in Toronto, Canada for the weekend of July 1-4, 1994. It was a very memorable gathering – Sammelan – for more than one reason. Our community decided, then and there, unanimously, to formalize us into an organization, to be known as KACHCHHI OSWAL JAIN ASSOCIATION IN NORTH AMERICA – KOJAIN, in short. An 18-member constitution committee was set up with a mandate to come up with a constitution.
The committee gave us a constitution in October of 1995. KOJAIN was born. Elections were held and the first governing body was elected for a two-year term for 1996-97. We have had elections thereafter for the two-year terms of 1998-99, 2000-2001 and 2002-2003.
The Kachchhi Oswals started coming to the United States for higher education in moderate numbers in the 1960s. An influx of large numbers of Kachchhis occured in the 1970s and 1980s. Information Technology graduates dominated the 1990s. Now it is estimated that approximately 1200 Kachchhi Oswal families are residing in North America.
Our first Sammelan of KOJAIN Families was held at Siddhachalam on the weekend of September 1-3, 1990, at Blairstown, New Jersey. This was then followed by our Sammelan at Toronto, Canada, on July 1-4, 1994. Then we all got together in Houston, Texas, on December 26-29, 1996 which was then followed by our gathering at Cherry Hill, New Jersey on July 28-30, 2000. We cherish the sweet memories of these Sammelans and thank the organizers for their time and efforts to make them so memorable. These gatherings of ours have brought us all closer socially as well as emotionally.
KOJAIN also undertook fundraising for humanitarian causes, when called upon. Our community responded generously for The Kachchh Cyclone Relief Fund in 1998 and we collected and sent $35,415 to Shri Vivekanand Research & Training Institute (VRTI). The response to our Kachchh Earthquake Relief Fund was overwhelming. We collected and distributed $428,000. Effort by our community for Matunga Boarding fund are also noteworthy. We are so grateful to all our donors. KOJAIN contributions are tax-exempt. Our tax-exempt ID number is 06-1442444.
The Kojain directory started in 1974 with loose papers distributed among few families. It has been revised and reprinted several times. The directory of Kachchhi Oswal Jain families residing in North America was published and updated in the years of 1989, 1994 and 1997. This directory has become an indispensable tool for the bonding of our community. Many other projects have been conducted through KOJAIN to serve our community here and in India. Youth organization, scholarship program, matrimonial information service, host families program, helping Kachchhi students coming from India for further studies in North America, are some of our programs.
One of the unstated objectives of forming organization such as ours is to promote a sense of belonging, a sense of unity amongst the members of our community. Our unity is our strength. One of the ways we strengthen this sense of unity is by getting involved. The first step one can consider taking is to become a member – and, preferably, a Life member.
With the support from all of you, zeal dedication and commitment from the Board Of Directors, we shall bring the KOJAIN to the next level of accomplishments.