Jun 1, 2024

Krutika Pranav

Krutika Pranav is the President at the South Asian Helpline and Referral Agency (SAHARA) – serving survivors of all forms of abuse, especially within the South Asian community in Southern California. Krutika is also the co-owner at Highglow Jewelers – providing authentic, traditional and modern Indian jewelry to the community.

Episode Highlights

  • 00:00-02:32: Introduction to Krutika Pranav and her involvement with Sahara, a nonprofit organization aiding victims of domestic violence in the South Asian community in the US.
  • 03:23-04:40: Emphasis on Sahara’s culturally sensitive services, growth, and focus on empowering clients to achieve independence. Discussion on Sahara addressing various forms of abuse, including elder abuse, and assisting thousands of individuals annually.
  • 04:45-05:27: Impact of Sahara through client assistance, ongoing support, housing rental aid to prevent homelessness, and dedicated team efforts despite challenges.
  • 05:41-06:45: Seeking more financial aid, especially for legal assistance, and Sahara’s goal to raise awareness and engage the community for a compassionate society.
  • 08:23-10:02: Krutika’s reflections on balancing failures and successes in life, regretting past work-life imbalances, but finding fulfillment through making a positive impact via Sahara.
  • 11:01-11:52: Sharing hobbies and life lessons from her father, emphasizing key qualities.
  • 11:53-12:43: Nitin praises Krutika for embodying values and positively influencing others through Sahara.

Show Transcript

Transcript - Full Episode

[00:00:00 – 00:00:11] Nitin Bajaj

Everyone. Welcome to the industry show. I’m your host, Nitin Bajaj. And joining me today is finally my mentor, Krutika Pranav. Krutika, welcome on the show.

[00:00:11 – 00:00:13] Krutika Pranav

Hi, Nitin. It’s a pleasure.

[00:00:13 – 00:00:21] Nitin Bajaj

Pleasure to have you here. It’s taken 9 years, but here we are. So let’s start with who is Krutika?

[00:00:22 – 00:01:05] Krutika Pranav

Born and brought up in India. And I moved to Zambia after marriage and then to London before we moved to the US in 1988. When I came here, I joined the family business of Highglow Jewelers and had been working there since then. I’m blessed to have 2 wonderful children, 4 amazing grandchildren, and a very supportive husband who has been my strength and my motivation for 46 years. I found my passion in serving in nonprofits, and I’ve served in several over the years. Akshay Patra, Jupiter 360, and now Sahara. I’ve been on the board of Sahara since 2020 – 1 and currently serve as the president of Sahara.

[00:01:07 – 00:01:19] Nitin Bajaj

Amazing, wonderful causes, and thank you for doing everything you do. Tell us a little more about Sahara and what’s the mission, the vision behind the organization.

[00:01:20 – 00:02:32] Krutika Pranav

So Sahara was founded in 1991 by a group of volunteers where they saw the need to serve the victims of domestic violence in the South Asian community in the US. And what was needed was linguistically specific and culturally sensitive service for those clients. 2003, Sahara acquired its first home, a shuttle, where the Pranav found a safe, and secure place away from the trauma that they had suffered or endured. In 2023, Sahara acquired its the second shelter, which would serve as a transitional home for these clients as they progress towards a self sustainability. As a grassroots organization, we believe that compassionate service along with empowerment Mhmm. Is the key to helping them on the road to living the life of independence and be able to provide for themselves. And what Sahara started as an organization that served victims of domestic violence now serves, all all forms of abuse, especially elder abuse.

[00:02:32 – 00:02:32] Nitin Bajaj


[00:02:32 – 00:02:40] Krutika Pranav

And we see a lot of an increase in those numbers. That’s very disheartening Mhmm. But it’s the reality of the time.

[00:02:41 – 00:03:22] Nitin Bajaj

True. And knowing a little about, what Sahara has done over the years, as you said, there’s been an increase in some of these things that is unfortunate. From Sahara’s perspective, it’s also a place at the right time. There’s a a foundation now, and it’s a known entity in the community. Give us a sense for the size and scale. And and I say that in a way to understand the impact the organization has created over the past several decades it’s been around. So it gives us a sense for the work that has been done over the past several years, but increasingly in the recent memory.

[00:03:23 – 00:04:40] Krutika Pranav

So the the principle on which Sahara operates is project care Mhmm. Which stands for counseling, advocacy, reintegration, and education. Mhmm. These are the mainstays of the program. So in the last 10 years, we’ve sold over 11,000 clients, out of which 79 100 plus clients have been integrated into self sustained, living. Mhmm. In in just last year, we saw 37% increase in the needs and the calls that we received on our helpline. So we answered about close to 3,000 calls. 377 clients received health care and citizenship services, and 766 elder abuse clients were helped by Sahara last year. To get the statistics for this year, in just the past 8 months, we’ve assisted 377 new clients, and we have continuing services provided that have been provided to 1795 clients. 8 of our clients have graduated from a shelter in the past 8 months. And in just the last 3 months, the Q1 of this year, we’ve provided housing rental assistance to 29 clients, preventing them from eviction and homelessness.

[00:04:41 – 00:04:55] Nitin Bajaj

That’s amazing. Those are some real numbers that is making some real impact to not just those individuals, but their entire families Yes. And their next generations. So kudos to you and the team for doing that commendable work.

[00:04:56 – 00:05:27] Krutika Pranav

I think it would not be possible without the team. It it’s such a committed and dedicated team, and it’s not easy dealing with the trauma and assisting clients. It’s very painful at times. But it’s their strength and determination to make that difference that makes Sahara successful in its program? I mean, without that team of counselors, advocates, shelter directors, housing assistants, we would not be where we are today.

[00:05:27 – 00:05:28] Nitin Bajaj

True. It takes a village.

[00:05:28 – 00:05:30] Krutika Pranav

It takes a village. Sure does.

[00:05:31 – 00:05:41] Nitin Bajaj

That’s that’s really commendable. Kudos. Now as you deal with so many of these challenges, what’s the one big challenge you would like to call on?

[00:05:41 – 00:06:45] Krutika Pranav

So the numbers speak for themselves, the impact that Sahara has, made over the years, but the need is much more. We’re able to do what we do because of the grants and because of the support of our donors, But much more can be done with additional financial support, especially in the legal aid department, because a lot of these clients need that support in the courts, where they are face to face with their abuser. Mhmm. As Mother Teresa said, we believe that we are just a drop in the ocean, but the ocean would be that much less without the drop. Mhmm. Every dollar helps Sahara in changing one life at a time. At Sahara, we try and raise awareness for the cause and for what we do through podcasts, through newsletters, through events, and participating in outreach events in association with other communities and organization.

But I think much more could be done with, with the help of the community and spreading the word to more people.

[00:06:46 – 00:06:55] Nitin Bajaj

True. Now on the flip side of challenges come opportunities, I’d love to hear what is the most exciting one.

[00:06:55 – 00:07:12] Krutika Pranav

I’m an idealist, and so I don’t look at it as an opportunity, but as a vision of a society of families, of communities built on compassion and understanding. Mhmm. That the need for Sahara would then exist.

[00:07:15 – 00:07:23] Nitin Bajaj

Yeah. That’s a beautiful vision, and it is an opportunity for us as a community, as humanity, to make that come true.

[00:07:23 – 00:07:23] Krutika Pranav


[00:07:24 – 00:07:32] Nitin Bajaj

I think the best end goal for any nonprofit is for it to not exist anymore because there’s this movie. I agree with that vision.

[00:07:32 – 00:07:52] Krutika Pranav

It’s just a lack of understanding. Right? It’s that sometimes all the the lack of give and take in a relationship that leads to so much of this that we see. And with that little understanding, it would be so much better for the families. The dish it would save them so much of the trauma and the distraught. Mhmm.

[00:07:53 – 00:08:22] Nitin Bajaj

I agree. Now as we look into the future with opportunities and the vision, I wanna take a look in the rear view mirror and, invite you to share 2 moments. One where things did not work out as you had expected. There was some failures, some lessons. And another one where things became a success beyond your imagination.

[00:08:23 – 00:09:10] Krutika Pranav

So the failure, something that takes me every single day is the time that I could not give my children as they were growing up. Till the age of about till my daughter was about 7 and my son was 5, I was with them hands on every day. But once they got to that age, I focus more on my work and my ambitions, and I think it took away from the time that I would have devoted to them. I live with that regret every day, But it has given me a valuable lesson that I should know what is the prior what I should be my life’s priorities. Sure. And I try to make that up with my grandkids now.

[00:09:11 – 00:09:14] Nitin Bajaj

And knowing both of them, I think they turned out more than this one.

[00:09:14 – 00:09:21] Krutika Pranav

They did. But for me, it’s still work in progress Yes. As far as changing myself.

[00:09:21 – 00:09:28] Nitin Bajaj

Yeah. And I think you’re doing more than enough to catch up with that with the grandkids. Keep spoiling them.

[00:09:31 – 00:09:35] Krutika Pranav

That’s grandma. It’s my priority. It makes my perogative. Just spoiling.

[00:09:37 – 00:09:38] Nitin Bajaj

What about the success?

[00:09:40 – 00:10:02] Krutika Pranav

The success? Actually, it’s very simple. The day I joined Sahara and I told my children, and they said, mom, we’re so proud of you that you’re doing this for the women of the community. To me, that was an affirmation, and it really made me very happy. For me, that is an achievement.

[00:10:04 – 00:10:27] Nitin Bajaj

And, again, congrats. It’s almost a pride. You should cherish it. And as I said, you’ve raised wonderful children, and I’m glad they appreciate and acknowledge the responsibility that comes with you. Now, I’m gonna pause. We’ve we’ve talked about some serious stuff.

What do you do for fun?

[00:10:29 – 00:10:30] Krutika Pranav

I love gardening.

[00:10:30 – 00:10:30] Nitin Bajaj


[00:10:31 – 00:10:42] Krutika Pranav

Reading, puzzles always, and cooking. Those are activities that I turn into. I just want to relax or Yeah. Get away from the daily grind.

[00:10:43 – 00:11:00] Nitin Bajaj

Those are wonderful, and I’ve enjoyed some of them. Thank you for the wonderful cooking. Now on to my favorite part of the show. We call it the one line life lessons. Would love to share or ask you to share some of your life lessons with with all of us.

[00:11:01 – 00:11:52] Krutika Pranav

He said a lot of them I learned from my father. Mhmm. This is live your life in such a way that anyone can judge you. The left hand should not know what the right hand gives. Objectivity, honesty, sincerity, and credibility are more important and valuable than wealth. When they go low, you go high. I’m sorry.

I’m missing my father right now. And you lose everything, but never lose your self respect.

[00:11:53 – 00:12:03] Nitin Bajaj

Wonderful. And I can see how you passed on these values, these lessons through the next generations.

[00:12:04 – 00:12:05] Krutika Pranav

I hope so.

[00:12:05 – 00:12:22] Nitin Bajaj

Kudos on living those values, living those lessons, and not just sharing it with family, but with everybody around you and bringing that to organizations like Sahara and its beneficiaries. Krutika, thank you so much

[00:12:23 – 00:12:23] Krutika Pranav

Thank you.

[00:12:23 – 00:12:33] Nitin Bajaj

For sharing your journey and story and your life lessons with us. We really appreciate it, and, keep making the world a better place to live in.

[00:12:33 – 00:12:36] Krutika Pranav

Thank you. It’s and, people like you

[00:12:41 – 00:12:42] Nitin Bajaj

thank you.

[00:12:42 – 00:12:43] Krutika Pranav

Thank you.


apple podcast
Spotify Logo
Youtube logo