Sep 18, 2023

Subash Pereira: An inspiring champion of leadership and learning


Subash Pereira, a dedicated and longstanding supporter of Pratham, goes above and beyond the role of a typical donor. His journey with Pratham began in 2008 when he felt inspired to step up and volunteer for the organization. When asked about his motivations to volunteer, he shared, “A lot of people would like to help, but either do not have the information or don’t know an organization they can trust. I wanted to take Pratham’s message to more people.”

As his commitment to Pratham grew, so did his involvement. In 2009, Subash joined the board of our Boston Chapter. He was later appointed as Pratham Boston’s Vice President and, in a testament to his dedication and leadership, became Co-President of the chapter in 2022.

Subash’s passion for supporting Pratham manifests in various ways. When asked about his message to those considering supporting Pratham, he emphasized, “If you believe that India’s path to progress is through education, then Pratham is an effective and efficient organization to achieve that goal. Having seen the organization working on the ground and the dedicated staff and volunteers, you can be sure that your contribution will have the highest impact it can achieve.”

This summer, Subash spearheaded the Seeing is Believing: Pratham Youth Summer Program once again. Our Youth Summer Program is an opportunity for young people aged 16-19 to experience Pratham’s learning programs firsthand in Aurangabad, India. Here he recaps his personal history with Pratham and shares more about his time in India.

What is one of your personal Pratham highlights?
I met Madhav Chavan, Pratham Co-Founder and President, for the first time in 2008. Hearing him articulate the findings of the ASER survey made me realize how dire the learning need is in India. This was reinforced by a visit to a Pratham project in Bombay and seeing the enthusiasm of the children to learn even in less than ideal circumstances.

What motivated you to support Pratham?
I realized I was very lucky to have access to quality education as a child and the fact that more than half of India’s children do not have that opportunity. I hope my support to Pratham will help India achieve an informed and educated citizenry.

The Pratham Youth Summer Program was an initiative we began running in 2018. Can you tell us more about the program?
The Program started as a way of introducing the children of donors to the cause their parents support. Most of the youth were either born in the USA or lived most of their lives in the USA. They did not have much exposure to India, especially rural India and the challenges there. After the first two years it was interrupted by COVID, but we still had enquiries about the program. Hence we decided to relaunch it this year. The program introduces our youth to the challenges faced by children and youth in India and I hope some of them will become Pratham Ambassadors and future supporters. Our strongest supporters are donors who have visited a project in India and seen the effective work of Pratham. I hope with this two week immersion, the campers will be effective messengers.

What were some of the standout highlights from this year’s program?
The highlight of the program would be the resilience shown by the campers to go ahead and achieve their goals, in spite of the hurdles they faced. All of them were working in an environment very alien to what they were used to. We had a few cases of stomach bug; there was a conjunctivitis outbreak in one village, which meant the loss of two days of preparation. But the campers persevered and overcame this, the monsoon and the language barrier to put up their skits, dance, musical program and art exhibition. It was gratifying to see teens and younger kids from totally different backgrounds connect with each other and bond.

What impact do you believe the program had on the participants?
The campers came back with a firsthand knowledge of the education needs in India and a better appreciation of their own circumstances, as they were exposed to the trying environment in which the children and youth of India have to overcome in order to get an education. Many of them expressed an interest in continuing their involvement with Pratham, especially by talking about their experiences with their chapters and teaching the vocational trainees by Zoom on an ongoing basis

What lessons did you personally learn from overseeing the Pratham Youth Summer Program?
Leading this program reintroduced me to the need in India for education and skilling. Also the setback to education because of the COVID pandemic. If we don’t want India’s demographic dividend to turn into a demographic disaster, we need to double our efforts to make Indian children and youth ready for gainful employment.

Why is the Pratham Youth Summer Program so important?
Very few of Pratham supporters get the level of exposure to the programs as these youth did in the two weeks. They had hands-on experience in both the primary education and the youth skilling programs. I hope the various chapters in the USA will be able to leverage this experience by having them speak at the galas or salons and convey to our supporters the excellent work Pratham does for India and the need to increase those efforts.

Thank you, Subash! If you or someone you know would like to know more about the Pratham Youth Summer Program, please send us an email at