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Pratham Celebrates 20 Years

Pratham Celebrates 20 Years

Embroidered lavish saris flowed at the Hilton Americas on Saturday April 25, 2015 as more than 800 people from a cross section of this city’s diverse communities gathered to support the Annual Pratham Gala raising about $2 million.

The organization was founded in India in 1994 in the slums of Mumbai, and later in Houston by prominent Indian American Vijay Goradia. Today Pratham is one of India’s largest non-profits, with a presence in 21 of India’s 28 states, and has touched the lives of millions of children.

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The gala was packed with Houston’s affluent Indian American community as the organization honored UH President Dr. Renu Khator, also present, powerhouse gala chairs Lillie Robertson, Harriet Latimer, and Beth Madison. During a conversation with Dr. Khator she stressed the importance of education for all irrespective of any socio-economic status. She shared with the large gathering her early arranged marriage experience, hardships in a foreign country, lack of knowing English but her perseverance and passion led her to a successful career. As the President of one of the largest diverse universities, Dr. Khator emphasized making a difference by sharing an inspirational story of a little child trying to save one fish at a time.

The success of Pratham in Houston clearly portrays the city’s growing economic growth in the ethnic community and awareness amongst the young professionals in the Southeast Asian community to make a difference.

It was a very special night for Pratham USA family and guests as they strictly followed the dress code of ethnic Indian wear. However one gorgeous Indian beauty did opt for a dress. Former Miss America Nina Davuluri was thrilled to be part of Pratham’s 20th year celebration and she expressed her desire to travel to India and get involved with the organization.

The evening was packed with entertainment from savory Indian cuisine tikka masala, saag paneer, naan, and pickles to a Bollywood dance performance to a powerful keynote address delivered by Pratham CEO Dr. Rukmni Banerji and Readathon superstars: 13 year old Sachin Chanchani and 11year old Indrani Maitra.

Joining Pratham’s legacy of ‘every child in school and learning well’ were: Pankaj and Asha Dhume, Rick Pal, Tanya Bhandra Pal, Akku Patel, Meena Dutt, Sanjay Rambhadran, Madhav Chavan, Swatantra and Bimla Jain, Manish Jain, Prithwiraj Ghosh Roy, Sippi and Ajay Khurana, Clifford Pugh and John Dascoulias, Yogi Patel, Sameera Kapasi Mehendru, and others.

Unique Photo Images (Bijay Dixit)

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