Students at UT Dallas launch Pratham Club
In 2017, Astha Khiani, a student at the University of Texas at Dallas, decided to start a club to support Pratham programs in India. She and a small group of students held bake sales, manned booths, and gave dance workshops, among other activities, to raise funds and awareness for the organization’s mission.
Astha’s decision was inspired by a trip to a Pratham center in Pune. “It helped me put things into perspective.,” she recalls. “The visit also enabled me to understand the importance of education in breaking the cycle of poverty. I was able to see first-hand how Pratham is making an outstanding impact in the lives of millions.”
In the short time since its inception, the club has already grown considerably, with seven officers joining during the 2018-19 school year. As a result, its fundraising capabilities have also increased. Last semester, the group hosted a Garba (Indian folk dance) event that was attended by more than 150 guests and raised $900.
For many, the club is a chance to give less fortunate children the same opportunities they themselves had. According to club member Sreoshi Chowdary, “The idea of providing children with access to a quality education was enough to draw me in. Not only did Pratham allow me to find my little place in helping others but it also gave me insight into how to view education without ever taking my privilege for granted.”
Some are simply drawn to the comradery of fellow students striving toward a common goal. “It has been always been such a fulfilling experience working for Pratham,” explains member Ruta Uttarkar. “One of my most memorable experiences was volunteering at the DFW Gala, where I was blown away by the support Pratham had garnered.”
In the future, the group looks forward to strengthening its leadership as well as increasing its community outreach and fundraising capabilities so it can impact more children and youth in need. Along with the University of Houston and UT Austin, UT Dallas is one of several college chapters in the Texas region that are mobilizing young people to support Pratham.