Pratham Houston Raises $2.8 Million
On May 12, 2018, more than 900 people attended the annual Pratham Gala at the Hilton Americas in downtown Houston. This year’s sold-out event celebrated the year’s achievements and secured a record $2.8 million in commitments for our programs in India.
Serving as the evening’s co-emcees were Bollywood actress and former Miss India Neha Dhupia along with LA-based comedian Rajiv Satyal, whose unique brand of clean comedy was a hit with the multi-generational crowd.
Chapter President Asha Dhume discussed the reasons for her and her family’s strong support of Pratham, citing the organization’s positive impact on “50 million underprivileged children in its 23-year history,” but reminded guests that in a country where nearly 100 million children cannot read or write, “there are many more mountains to climb.”
In an informative speech, Dr. Anupam Ray, Consul General of India, explained that “Education will determine the speed at which India becomes a rich and powerful nation. I have myself seen the work Pratham does in India. Its activities have a huge positive impact. I am glad to be associated with it.”
The final speaker, Pratham vocational training program graduate Ganpat Luche, left the audience visibly moved. At the age of 23, he earned 1300 rupees—the equivalent of $35—a month doing odd jobs. After completing a course in hospitality with Pratham, Ganpat, now 29, takes home $800 a month as a waiter in Dubai and is saving to buy a piece of land in his village, where he plans to start his own restaurant. His closing words echoed the sentiment of the entire evening: “I ask you all to continue supporting Pratham and we, the youth of India, will not disappoint you.”
Pratham Ambassador and iconic Bollywood legend Waheeda Rehman was celebrated as the guest of honor. The night closed with a fashion show featuring one-of-a-kind pieces from renowned designer Tarun Tahiliani. A dance performance, live and silent auctions, a cocktail hour and an Indian dinner rounded out the event. Gala co-chairs Swatantra and Bimla Jain were pleased with the success of the gala, calling it “an unforgettable night.”