Phenomenal outpouring of community support received at Pratham Gala
Chicago IL: Pratham Chicago held its 2012 Gala at Meadows Club on October 7th to raise over $100,000 donation for the education programs being conducted by Pratham in India. Emcee Kamal Hans and Pratham Co-Founder Yogi Patel did excellent job.
The gala featured a talk by two University of Chicago students, Christian Norton and Carolina Garayzar, who spent 11 weeks in Pratham Delhi evaluating 17 Urban Learning Centers. Dr. Raj Rajaram, President of Pratham Chicago welcomed the guests, and subsequently Yogi Patel delivered the Keynote touching speech. The speech highlighted progress Pratham has made in India over the last 18 years. The highlight of the gala was a live telepresence event conducted by Cisco. 13 Pratham Pune students and their teacher showed the audience the excitement of learning of the students in the class. A senior teacher from Pratham Pune moderated the class presentation, and the students performed fabulous song and dance in English, a math class and English and reading. The students answered questions from the audience. The evening entertainment provided by DJ Harpal Singh (Banti) was enjoyed by young and old, and the dance floor was crammed with a lot of Pratham donors.
It was the most successful gala held by Pratham Chicago, and organizers thank all our supporters for making it a grand success.
President Raj Rajaram
“It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to our Annual Gala. This Gala is a celebration of the generosity of our donors and appreciation of the countless hours donated by our volunteers obtaining quality education in a Pratham supported school in Pune, India. Since 1994. Our programs are now extended in 19 states.
Our Sevathon, organized in August this year, included several Chicago organizations that participated in a
5-kilometer walk to raise money for their causes. Over 125 people participated on a beautiful Sunday and had a lot of fun while raising money. Our Young Professional Group organized a Golf Outing for our supporters. Our volunteer children raised funds through a Read-a-Thon, which was held in spring and summer.
Your continued support is critical to sustain and grow Pratham programs in India. As you know, the Annual Survey of Education Report (ASER) is used widely by the government to allocate resources and improve access to quality education. Our remedial learning programs and learning camps are improving the quality of education in many rural and urban areas all over India. Please consider increasing your contributions of time, talent and money to Pratham Chicago. You can be rest assured that 94% of the funds we raise directly benefit underprivileged children in India. Urge your friends and family to get involved with Pratham Chicago”.
CO – Chairs message Vibha Singh & Prabha Ravi
The Pratham Chicago team extends a warm and heartfelt welcome this evening to our supporters. Starting with just a handful few years ago, today we have a vast network of devoted volunteers. Thanks to their tireless efforts to raise awareness, securing sponsorships and arranging an eclectic auction, we are honored and excited to bring you this informational and entertaining evening.
A special thanks to our keynote speaker Yogi Patel – Ambassador and CoFounder of Pratham USA and our President Dr. Raj Rajaram for their faith, support and deep dedication to Pratham. We are also delighted to bring you a live tele-presence to interact with children from a Pratham supported school in Pune. We are delighted to have Suvarna Khedekar, who is the city coordinator for Pratham Pune Education Foundation. She will be moderating the telepresence. Pratham is making a tremendous difference in lives of underprivileged but deserving children in rural as well as urban India. We hope this evening will inspire you to become part of our effort whose objective is “Every child in school and learning well.” We thank everyone for attending our Gala this evening and also those who could not be here but support our efforts in every way.I like a fitting quote from William Penn “I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.”
Yogi Patel key note speaker
In 1999, Yogi Patel co-founded Pratham USA, served as its President till 2004 and is serving since then as Pratham USA Ambassador. Over these 13 years, he has seeded many Pratham USA chapters and similar chapters in Canada, UK, and Singapore. His dedication has helped Pratham USA to be a $10 million a year organization.
In Yogi, India’s underprivileged children have found a good friend, a donor and a crusader. His own childhood is not much different than the children Pratham serves. Yogi knows what poverty means because he was raised in poverty. A good education helped him escape poverty of that village in India opening the doors to the opportunities in USA. Yogi believes in Pratham’s mission of “Every Child in School and Learning Well.” He tells Pratham’s story with conviction and compassion.
Professionally, Yogi is a chemical engineer from University of Tulsa, Oklahoma. After retiring from Chevron in 1990, he went into lodging business in Houston where he ran a large housing program for indigent patients at M D Anderson Cancer Center winning several humanitarian awards for service to families of cancer patients. In 2005, he sold his business and retired. Since then, he is nearly a full time Pratham USA volunteer
Master of Ceromany: Kunal Hans
As a father to his two year old daughter Karina and someone who deeply believes in the sacred value of education, Kamal is thrilled to be assisting with the 2012 annual Pratham gala. Kamal is the Chief Operating Officer with Zarda King Ltd, one of the largest South Asian products wholesalers in the US. In addition, Kamal nurtures his artistic side as the Managing Director for Rasaka Theater (the Midwest’s first South Asian Theater company) and is a working actor, emcee and producer in TV, film, and theater (over 150 productions).
Very rarely do we get to meet a worker who has worked for Pratham for 10 years teaching children and has bettered herself while doing it.
Swarana Khedekar – Pratham Teacher
Very rarely do we get to meet a worker who has worked for Pratham for 10 years teaching children and has bettered herself while doing it. Suvarna was born in Pune, Maharashtra in a financially challenged family. When she joined Pratham, she was only 19 years old, in junior college. At the age of 20, she married Nilesh and decided to settle down. Suvarna realized the value of education and completed her grade 12 and went on to complete B.A. and a Masters in social work. Today, Suvarna is the city coordinator for Pratham Pune Education Foundation, taking charge of 380 Pratham teachers and 35,000 children. Suvarna is also the President of Suprabhat Mahila
Mandal, an association formed by Pratham Pune’s teacher/monitors. She is a proud mother of two boys ages eight and four years. Four years ago she had little knowledge of computers but today she giving computer classes for Pratham Teachers. She has an outstanding personality and a desire to learn. Pratham Chicago is proud to welcome Suvarna to the 2012 Pratham Chicago Gala. She will share with the audience her involvement with Pratham and how it has been a life-changing experience! You will be inspired by how Pratham is helping children while empowering women in the community!
Pratham USA Board of Directors
Avinash Ahuja, Sudesh Arora, Dinyar Devitre, Vijay Goradia, Swatantra Jain, Jaideep Khanna, Paul Pandian and Arvind Sanger
Dr. Atul Varadhachary (President), Molly Easo Smith, Executive Directorm, Dr. Arvind Amin (Secretary)
Swatantra Jain (Treasure), Sangita Karra (Chief Development Officer) and Mahalingam Ramesh (Past President)
Board of Advisors
Natwar Gandhi and Chandrika Tandon
Chicago Board of Directors
Ashish Prasad and Ashley Mridu Prasad
Dr. Raj Rajaram, (President), Rina Akolawala, Vivek Bhargava, Kushal Bose, Teju Deshpande
Prabha Ravi and Roshan Shankar
Rahul Kalsi (Young Professionals Coordinator)
Photographs and Press release by: Asian Media USA
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