WASHINGTON, DC – The Washington DC chapter of Pratham USA, a four-star rated charity that provides quality education to underprivileged Indian children, hosted their annual gala on September 30 at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel in Arlington, VA.
The event, which was attended by more than 360 guests, raised $275,000 to combat childhood illiteracy. The gala marks a successful year for the DC chapter, which has raised over $500,000 so far.
Actor, writer and filmmaker R. Madhavan made an impassioned plea with his keynote address underscoring the importance of tangible results when giving back.
“Pratham is doing an extraordinary job in making a huge difference in the lives of people, especially children and women, in India,” Madhavan said.
The organization’s low-cost education programs provide scalable and effective solutions for improving children’s reading and math skills.
The crowd was visibly moved by Nisha Sisodiya, a young woman from Rajasthan, who bravely told her story of how she overcame an abusive marriage to become a successful entrepreneur after discovering Pratham’s vocational program. Pratham provided her seed funding and mentorship to be able to launch her own beauty salon where she provides livelihood for other women in the community.
Rousing performances by South Asian a cappella group Penn Masala and songwriter Vasuda Sharma added to the energy in the room.
“From the beginning to the end, the evening was electrifying,” said Chapter President Chethan Rao. “We welcomed so many guests and successfully highlighted Pratham’s achievements. This year marks an important moment for our growing chapter, and it’s a testament to our strong community in the DC metro area and our collective support for the great work Pratham is doing.”
The event’s success would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of the gala committee, chaired by Advisory Board member Alpa Bhungalia; the Pratham DC Board; and the generosity of event sponsors including Casepoint, Harmonia, NETE, Murthy Law Firm, Lancesoft, Gates Foundation, PWC, Newmark Knight Frank, VTECH Solutions, Octo Consulting, and Axar Hotels and OMM who collectively contributed over $200,000 for the benefit of Pratham.
Established in the slums of Mumbai in 1995, Pratham is now one of India’s largest non-governmental education organizations, having affected the lives of more than 50 million underprivileged children in the past two decades. To achieve its mission of “every child in school and learning well,” Pratham develops practical solutions to address gaps in the education system and works in collaboration with India’s governments, communities, educators and industry to increase learning outcomes and influence education policy.