In Conversation With Josie Chauhan and Neera Vohra of Touching Lives Foundation

josie chauhan and neera vohra

I had the pleasure of having a very meaningful and purposeful conversation with two extremely empathetic, generous, caring, and passionate women; Josie Chauhan and Neera Vohra, the founders of Touching Lives Foundation. Josie and Neera are working hard again this year to host a Christmas Party Fundraiser to collect funds and proceed them to Sara For Women organization that works effortlessly for underprivileged women.

Touching Lives Foundation is a non-profit and registered society dedicated to empowering and supporting marginalized groups through and community-based campaigns to offer relief, assistance, and support to those in critical need.

free session on mental health by touching lives foundation
Josie & Neera with the community supporters at an past event of Touching Lives Foundation

Josephine Chauhan (Josie) is the co-founder of Touching Lives Foundation. Josie is originally from Bangalore, India, and moved to Canada in 1981. She has been a healthcare worker for 22 years. She is engaged in extensive volunteer work at the grassroots level and is active in various community initiatives. A strong advocate for healthcare workers’ rights, she became engaged in the BC Hospital Employees Union as a local Chairperson and used her platform to represent and defend those facing discrimination and abuse in the workplace. Josephine received an award from Shakti Society for community service excellence in acknowledgement.

Neera Vohra works full-time for one of the post-secondary institutes in BC and also dedicates her time to giving back to the community. She is a passionate community activist who believes in practicing gratitude and giving back. Neera has been involved in a variety of community initiatives both in her personal and professional capacities, having volunteered for other societies and non-profits including BC Organizational Development Network, Shakti Society, Laxmi Narayan Mandir.

Q.) What inspired you in the direction of social work and towards helping people in need? ( to Josie)

A.) Josie: I have been inspired by my father to do social activity and to serve the society by extending help where it’s needed the most. He never backed out from going out there in the community and giving the best and most of what he could. I have worked in palliative care and health care for many years and empathy and care are naturally imbibed into me.

Q.) We would like to know more about how you fought for the rights of your co-workers?

A.) When Health Care was privatized by the Liberal government, we the health care workers were left in jeopardy, stripped of all their rights and protection. I became engaged in the BC Hospital Employees Union as a local Chairperson and used my platform to represent and defend those facing discrimination and abuse in the workplace.

Q.) How did Touching Lives Foundation (TLF) come into existence? (To Neera)

A.) Neera: Josie and I have been family friends for 15-17 years now. I am originally from Delhi and moved to Vancouver after I got married. Josie and I share the same passion for giving back to society, for uplifting and supporting the ones in need and we share the same intensity of empathy and care. Our like mindedness and this constant desire to help others made us take a leap into social service by starting Touching Lives Foundation in 2016. We incorporated TLF in 2019 as a non-profit organization.

Q.) What are the main causes that you TLF fights for? (To Josie)

Josie: We are passionate about
1) Combating Hunger
2) Fighting Domestic Violence 3)Normalising Mental Health

Q.) How did you get the idea of Christmas Fundraiser Party to fight for the three causes you just mentioned)?

A) Neera: Josie always hosted beautiful, entertaining big Christmas parties that were enjoyed by lots of friends and families. We both being passionate about finding channels to fund and finance our causes, thought why not convert these Christmas parties into fundraisers! The first Fundraiser party was organized in 2016. And we believe that by transforming a normal Christmas Party into a fundraiser, we are actually living by the spirit of Christmas, which is all about ‘Giving’ all about ‘Bringing Joy’ in everyone’s lives. Josie and I feel that by God’s grace we are privileged and don’t have to think or worry about our next meals, or about shelter, or being safe, etc. God has given us this good life which we must utilize to uplift others who are in despair.

Q.) Whom have you sent your proceeds to from your Fundraiser parties?

A.) Our 2017 Charity of Choice–Guru Nanak’s Free Kitchen Guru Nanak’s Free Kitchen is a Registered Charity and since its inception in 2006, GNFK has served over 1,125,000 free hot nutritious meals to those in need. Our 2017 fundraiser raised funds for GNFK which were directly utilized towards their Food Rescue Programs.

josie with guru nanak free kitchen
Giving proceeds to Guru Nanak’s Free Kitchen in Vancouver

Our 2018 Charity of Choice-Harmony House was a second-stage transition home providing women and their children with a shelter that is safe and secure. Harmony House is one of the Progressive Intercultural Community Services Society (PICS) housing programs, a local community organization. Our 2018 fundraiser raised funds for PICS which directly benefitted in supplementing resources offered by Harmony House.

proceeds to pics
Proceeds to Progressive Intercultural Community Services Society known as PICS

Our 2019 Charity of Choice-Coast Mental Health Foundation – Our 2019 fundraiser was organized to raise funds for a Vancouver Based Coast Mental Health Foundation which directly contributed to increased resources and delivery programs for promoting recovery and transformation of people fighting mental health issues.

proceeds to coastal mental health foundation
Proceeds to Coastal Mental Health Foundation

2022 Charity of Choice-Moving Forward Family Services – Moving Forward offers free short-term and affordable long-term counselling options to underserved communities across Canada via in-person, telephone, and online platforms. Our 2022 fundraiser was organized to raise funds for Moving Forward Family Services supplementing its existing resources and creating new ones.

giving proceeds to moving forward
Proceeds to Moving Forward Family Services

Q.) Can we have more information about the Christmas Fundraiser this year?

A.) Josie: The Christmas Party Fundraiser is going to be super fun! Our success with parties comes in the fact that 80% of our attendees are returning attendees! We have always had very good quality and variety of food! Our party is fun not only for adults but for children and families too. We have Dance and Christmas carols! Neera: And oh yeah! Santa is always present on out Christmas Parties! There will be DJ and Music! There’s DJ and Bollywood music! And also Amazing Door Prizes Remember to buy your tickets before November 17 for early bird discount!

touching lives foundation christmas dinner
Christmas Party Fundraiser 2023 organized by Touching Lives Foundation

Neera: I would like to mention that Health Minister Mr. Adrian Dix always attends our Christmas Fundraiser Parties! He will be attending it this year too.

health minister honourable adrian dix
Health Minister Honourable Adrian Dix speaking at a past event of Touching Lives Foundation

Remember the proceeds of this year’s fundraiser will go to the organization Sara For Women, they are a feminist non-profit society providing safe refuge and community-based resources for women in the Fraser Valley. They promote and support women’s efforts to achieve domestic, political, and social equality.

Q.) What message would you like to give to our readers today?

A.) Josie: I am a passionate advocate for Mental Health Issues. I have personally suffered and my experience has made ne more passionate about this issue. I would like to tell my readers to not not shy away from seeking help if and when required. I would like let everyone know that if you see anyone struggling with mental health, try to be as supportive as you can, try to get help for your family, friends, colleagues or even strangers if the need be.

Neera: I would like the readers to know that you can contribute and TOUCH A LIFE, as much possible as in your capacity! You don’t have to be a philanthropist to bring change. Even a small group of people, even a small act of empathy can bring change! We, Josie and I, are very honest and loyal to our cause, you won’t find any abuse of funds, money or finances with Touching Lives Foundation.

Josie and Neera: We want people to have fun and give back to the community at the sane time. Attending Touching Life Foundation’s Christmas Fundraiser Party on Dec 9th 2023 at The Empire Banquet Hall, Surrey. Please support us and buy tickets online or e-transfer at [email protected] for our upcoming 6th annual Christmas Party.


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