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International Supermodel, TV News Star and a Doctor Power a $1.4 Million Night

Tearful Moments Reveal Mission

BY // 04.17.17
photography Daniel Ortiz

It was a grand and edifying affair. More than 900 revelers assembled in the grand ballroom at Hilton Americas-Hilton and raised the tidy sum of $1.4 million for Pratham, a global organization that has helped more than 45 million children in India through educational and vocational programs.

PC Moment: Saris and Nehru jackets, elegant dresses and dandy suits filled the hotel ballroom. Dancers, musicians, and luminaries, including Sushmita Sen, former Miss Universe and acting star and entrepreneur, made the rounds. Sen spoke emotionally of her childhood and dedication to helping the youth of her homeland.

“It takes only $25 to educate a child for an entire year,” she said.

Other stars of the evening included Anupam Ray, Indian Consul General; Deepak Raj, Prathan USA president; Ash Shah, president of Pratham Houston; and CEO of Pratham India, Rukmini Banerji.

Mistress of Ceremonies was none other than KTRK Channel 13 meteorologist Casey Curry, who introduced the guests and charmed the audience with her wit and delivery. She got the evening started by introducing the Rice Rasikas dance troupe, whose graceful and bold moves were followed by the American and Indian national anthems, sung powerfully by Apoorva Das and Pooja Vettical.

Krish and Aryan Shah, the sons of Ash and Leena Shah, moved the audience with their tale of visiting Pratham schools in India and seeing the dedication of the students there.

The highlight of the evening was without doubt the moment Sanjana Das took the microphone and told her story, one of poverty and abuse and determination and love. With Sushmita Sen translating for the crowd, hushed now, Das moved many to tears with her words and emotion. She is a living example of the power of Pratham.

Wine note: Dr. Madaiah Revana donated bottles from his vineyards for table raffle prizes.

Who: Honorary co-chairs for the gala included Chitra and Kumar Bashyam, Seema and Shawn Karande and Shital and Bhavesh Patel, and co-chairs were Annu and Sagar Naik, Anila and Dhiren Shethia, Jyothi and Somesh Singh, and Mini and Celestine Vettical.

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