Pratham, one of India’s largest educational organizations providing quality education to underprivileged children, hosted its annual DC Gala on Saturday, September 21, 2019 at the Ritz-Carlton in McLean, VA.
The event, which was attended by more than 400 guests, set a record for the burgeoning chapter by raising $450,000 for Pratham’s innovative and award-winning programs, according to a press release.
Chethan Rao, president of the DC chapter, welcomed guests to the evening’s program, which featured a keynote speech by Pratham CEO Dr. Rukmini Banerji, a live auction, as well as a comedy performance by Hari Kondabolu.
“This year’s gala was record-setting for our chapter!” Rao said. “We had our largest attendance and set a new record for funds raised that night. This was a testament to our community coming together to pay it forward and give back to the less fortunate. We’re grateful to have a dedicated board and generous donors who made the evening a huge success. Together, we’re not only impacting individuals, but generations to come.”
Similarly in her speech, Banerji reflected on how Pratham has transformed so many lives throughout a quarter century of hard work and commitment.
“The last 15 years have been spent in understanding the problem of why children get ‘left behind’ and in developing solutions to solve this problem. We have worked hard over the years to develop, evolve and refine an effective and low-cost method that helps children to ‘catch up,’” she said.
She was later joined on stage by twin sisters, Anjali and Anchal Purabiya, both graduates of Pratham’s Second Chance program, which assists female dropouts in attaining their secondary school certificates. In a lively Q&A, the girls, who are competitive athletes, elaborated on Pratham’s role in allowing them to continue their education and pursue their dreams of one day competing in the Olympics.
The event’s success would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of the gala committee, chaired by Board member Madhu Chawla; the Pratham Washington, DC chapter board; and the generosity of event sponsors, according to a press release.
“Pratham gives a chance to underserved communities to find their path to success by supporting them with the essential skills and tools to sustain growth,” said Vipul Rajpara, Chief Operating Officer at Casepoint, an event sponsor. “Casepoint founders and employees find these communities close to their hearts and are humbled to share in their growth with yearly contributions.”
Pursuing its mission of “every child in school and learning well,” Pratham promotes basic literacy as a means to establish a secure foundation for learning, both in and out of school. Pratham collaborates with governments, communities, educators, and industry to focus on innovative ways to address gaps in India’s education system. By bridging the divide between stakeholders, Pratham raises standards and increases accountability, thereby transforming the lives of children, families and entire communities.
Pratham’s vast network spans 21 Indian states and has reached more than 60 million children and youth since its inception. Pratham’s work has been recognized through major International awards, including the Asia Game Changer Award, the BBVA Frontiers of Knowledge Award, the WISE Prize for Education, the Henry R. Kravis Leadership Prize, the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, and most recently the 2018 LUI Che Woo Prize in the Positive Energy category.