Celestine & Mini Vettical at the Pratham Houston gala. (Photo by Bijay Dixit/Unique Photo Images)
Maire & Vijay Goradia, Anil Kapoor, Swatanta & Bimla Jain at the Pratham Houston gala. (Photo by Bijay Dixit/Unique Photo Images)
Pankaj & Asha Dhume at the Pratham Houston gala. (Photo by Bijay Dixit/Unique Photo Images)
Ali & Habiba Dhanani at the Pratham Houston gala. (Photo by Bijay Dixit/Unique Photo Images)
Bhavesh & Shital Patel, Shyam Patel at the Pratham Houston gala. (Photo by Bijay Dixit/Unique Photo Images)
Mai & Aravind Melligeri, Megha Melligeri at the Pratham Houston gala. (Photo by Bijay Dixit/Unique Photo Images)
What: Pratham Houston 20th anniversary gala
Where: Hilton Americas-Houston
PC Moment: Clearly, this city’s Indian community does not forsake its roots when enjoying good fortune thousands of miles away from the country of origin. Case in point, the Pratham Houston gala which raised a record of $4.5 million for underserved children in India.
“This is our city’s 20th annual gala, and every year we see an increase in participation and enthusiasm for Pratham’s innovative programs,” says chapter president Asha Dhume. “Many people are astounded when they learn that of the 26 million Indian children who enter first grade each year, nearly half will reach fifth grade unable to read or write. Pratham is working to solve this learning crisis.”
Honoree Vijay Goradia, who established Pratham in 1999 with Dr. Madhav Chavan after visiting a small preschool in the slums of Mumbai, committed $1 million to the cause on the gala evening. “Like I would bet on an established company over a startup, by investing in an NGO like Pratham, I am investing in the future of tens of millions of children,” Goradia says. “It has a proven track record, continues to be well managed and grow.”
Also contributing generously to the bottom line were gala underwriters Bimla and Swatantra Jain, who committed $1 million to support the construction of a vocational training center in North India.
The program included words from celebrity guest Bollywood star Anil Kapoor (Slumdog Millionaire), testimonial from Mamta Dawar, a presentation by Rhythm India and a fashion show by leading Indian designer Anita Dongre. The Indian-themed dinner was provided by Daawat catering.
PC Seen: Gala chairs Perry and Avinash Ahuja, Indrani and Hemant Goradia and Shital and Bhavesh Patel; plus Indian Consul General Dr. Anupam Ray, Illinois Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, Andrea and Bill White, Anne and Albert Chao, Marie Goradia, Pankaj and Asha Dhume, Celestine and Mini Vettical, Habiba and Ali Dhanani, Megha Melligeri and Mai and Aravind Melligeri.