About 600 of New York’s crème de la crème from the finance, technology and entertainment sectors joined forces on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, to pledge and raise almost $2 million in funding for education efforts targeted at India’s underprivileged children. Pratham’s annual NYC gala attracted CEOs of major U.S. corporations and financial and investment firms, senior diplomats and celebrities who enjoyed a star-studded evening on board the USS Intrepid.
Guest speaker Chelsea Clinton shared a story about her parents being the first in their families to seek higher education. The 2013 Nobel Peace Prize contender and education activist, Malala Yousafzai, sent a special video-taped message applauding India for the gains it has made in making primary education universal and reminding the audience of all that remains to be done in other parts of the world. Hollywood and Bollywood actor Omi Vaidya emceed the gala for the second year in a row, and King of Bhangra, Bikram Singh, closed out the evening with his melodic, high-energy music.
A live telepresence with children at a Pratham school in Pune, India, was one of the highlights of the evening, along with live and silent auctions that had guests out-bidding each other throughout the evening. To watch a video news release from the gala, please click here.
“What sets an organization like Pratham completely apart is that we are run almost fully by volunteers,” said Dinyar Devitre, Chairman of Pratham’s Tristate Chapter Board. “From our programs in India to our galas all over America, volunteers dedicate hundreds of hours of their time, allowing us to utilize 96% of the monies we raise directly for the children.”
Since its start in Mumbai 20 years ago, Pratham has become one of the most influential forces in India’s educational system. It currently serves the education needs of underprivileged children in 20 of India’s 28 states and is one of the WORLD’s largest non-profit organizations in the field of primary education. Pratham’s innovations have been recognized with the Kravis Prize for Leadership, the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, and most recently, the WISE Prize, which is equated with a Nobel in Education, for its CEO & Co-founder, Dr. Madhav Chavan, who spoke at the gala about four of Pratham’s major programs: Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), Read India, Second Chance, and Vocational Training.
“I applaud Pratham for the strides it has made in helping expand quality education for every child in India,” said Chelsea Clinton. “Pratham’s strategy of engaging all the sectors that need to work together to ensure any child anywhere gets the education he or she deserves — the government, businesses and private citizens that work collectively toward a common goal — is remarkable and should be the model followed by other countries who have similar education challenges around the world.”
About Pratham: Pratham’s strategy centers on recruiting youth from the communities it serves and training them as teachers. More than 62,000 volunteers reach two million children in 20,000 villages. For information about Pratham’s programs and to get involved, please visit www.prathamusa.org. To watch a recent PBS NewsHour segment about Pratham’s work in India, please click here.