MANHATTAN BEACH, CA - The word ‘Pratham’ means above everything else or the first and it is most suitable name for the organization that considers education to be the most fundamental and basic necessity for all the children living on this planet. Pratham LA held its 20th annual gala here at the MBS media campus...
The sparkling gathering was graced by luminous personalities headlined by Freida Pinto and Dev Patel, lead actors of the award winning ‘Slumdog Millionaire;’ Tabrez Noorani, producer of well known films like ‘Life of Pi; several philanthropists, humanitarians and educationists. Sharing her views during a panel discussion, Pinto while quoting the famous saying, ‘invest in a girl and change the world,’ said we need to encourage the girls to stay in schools by reaching out to families and telling them the importance of educating the girl child. She said her parents had always encouraged her to give back to society, use her voice smartly and share the privileges she was blessed with, with others. She added two months ago when she was in India for a project, she saw children in Delhi literally living in the dumpsters. She applauded the efforts of Pratham for providing education to the underprivileged. Dev Patel, while responding to a question, shared his own story on how his teacher gave him that one important chance that had helped him reach where he was now and said it was birth right of every child to get the chance that they deserve.
After a panel discussion with the stars Navneet Chugh, co-chairman of Pratham’s advisory board, moderated a fun-filled conversation with the celebrities in which he directed a humor filled question to the British born Dev Patel. Asked Chugh: in the 105 years of movie industry history, Britishers have made two award winning movies, ‘Gandhi’ and ‘Slumdog Millionaire,’ are they still exploiting India?
Pravin Mody of Pravin and Sudha Mody Family foundation who had earlier pledged $1 million to build the Pratham Mody Technical Institute in India, said he came to the US 50 years ago and had made a pledge to his family that he would make a technical institute to pay back the country of his origin. He said money was like manure and it should be spread around to make things grow. While referring how powerful it was to have good intentions, Mody said life was all about life having a meaning. He said he always donated to Pratham because the organization had been very effective touching the lives of 7.7 million children in India last year and transparent in its approach.
Bradford J. Freer, global investment manager of the Capital Group on the occasion said since 1986, he had been to India 50 times. He said in past two decades, 40 million children had got an education because of the efforts of Pratham. Freer said he had made 3 visits to the facilities managed by Pratham and it had been amazing experience for him and his family members.
Raj Dhami, President of the LA Chapter said “India has over 100 million children who are about to drop out from primary schools. Once they dropout, they marry early and bear children. With no marketable skills, they will be trapped in this vicious generational cycle of illiteracy and poverty.” He added Pratham was a bold attempt to reform primary education. The event was emceed by the Yale MBA turned comedian Anish Shah, who made the event entertaining with his jokes. Entertainment was provided by Xollystars dance company. Money came out pouring when the organizers requested the generous guests to donate for the cause. Inspirational real life videos on how Pratham changed and touched the lives of millions were shown during the event.