Mar 09, 2017

Pratham Chicago Gala: A Night of Inspiration


More than 300 supporters, including business and community leaders, gathered together at the beautiful Winter Garden of the Harold Washington Chicago Library Center on September 24, 2016, to celebrate Pratham’s transformative work at the annual Pratham Chicago Gala. Funds raised at the event will help support literacy and learning programs for underprivileged children in rural villages and urban slum communities across India.

“When we look back at the past 20 years of our accomplishments, we cannot but feel proud of what we have achieved! Today, we are one of the largest non-governmental organizations focused on literacy in India. We have created a unique, low-cost and innovative model that educates a child for an entire year for only $25,” said chapter president Shailu Verma. “What an amazing feat. We should feel immense pride and achievement that our ASER survey, the largest undertaking used to measure the learning levels of children across India, is now being replicated in several countries around the globe.”

The evening was not short on inspirational speeches. Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government Ambassador Nicholas Burns and Pratham CEO Dr. Rukmini Banerji, who shared the honor of keynote speaker, each gave a thought-provoking speech. But the highlight of the evening was an address by Nuzhat Malik, State Head of Pratham programs in Uttar Pradesh, whose emotional speech about her personal journey earned her a standing ovation. She urged the audience to believe in the power of education and the worlds it opens. “Believe in the strength of young girls who will fight down any obstacle to earn the right to choose their future.”

The evening also featured a performance by Indian pop singer Vasuda Sharma, a silent auction and a pledge drive that raised $48,000.

We are grateful to those who attended and affirmed their support for our cause. A special thank you to our sponsors: Vinakom, Allstate, Pentair, McKinsey, Infosys, Salesforce, and Genpact.

More photos from the evening are available for viewing on our Facebook page.