An Evening Among the Stars of Pratham USA

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Pratham Houston board members with Waheeda Rehman, Pratham Ambassador and Dr. Madhav Chavan, Co Founder Pratham. Photos: Bijay Dixit

SUGAR LAND: One majestic, Rajasthani-style home, in Sugar Land, TX was buzzing with excitement on May 11, as about 100 guests came together to show their support for Pratham, one of the largest NGOs dedicated to ending child illiteracy in India. Himadri and Harish Katharani hosted a VIP reception at their home the evening before the 2018 Pratham Houston Gala, where guests had the chance to meet the Gala Guest of Honor, Bollywood actress and Pratham Ambassador, Waheeda Rehman.

The event was hosted outdoors, with guests mingling among a beautiful fountain, an elegantly adorned stage, and exotically crafted architecture. Stationed throughout the party were delectable fresh snacks seemingly straight from the streets of India catered by Narin Sehgal of Bombay Brasserie. A talented flute player serenaded guests with Bollywood hits, with the band playing songs from Guide as a tribute to Waheeda Rehman; As the iconic actress disclosed during her on-stage interview with the event’s emcee, Pratham Houston Executive Board Member, Meena Datt, Guide is her favorite film from her acting career.

When asked about hosting the event, Himadri and Harish Kathrani stated that they were “humbled and honored to host the Pratham VIP reception in honor of Waheeda Rehman and Pratham dignitaries, Madhav Chavan, Rukmini Banerji, and Farida Lambay.” They then thanked Pratham for the “opportunity to meet and greet Pratham VIP donors.”

Himadri and Harish Katharani (VIP Reception Hosts) with Waheeda Rehman, Pratham Ambassador.

Himadri and Harish Katharani (VIP Reception Hosts) with Waheeda Rehman, Pratham Ambassador.

Pratham Houston President, Asha Dhume thanked all the donors and requested Waheeda Rehman to present a few plaques of recognition. Plaque recipients included Pratham CEO, Rukmini Banerji; Gala Chairs, Swatantra and Bimla Jain; Gala Co-Chairs, Aarvind and Mai Melligeri, and Dhiren and Anila Shethia; Gala Honorary Chairs, Dhamo and Rema Dhamotharan, Himadri and Harish Katharani (VIP Reception Hosts), Leena and Ash Shah (Past Pratham Houston President), Rasool Shaik and Shama Tanveer Shaik, and Somesh and Jyothi Singh; and last, but definitely not least, the much appreciated Leader of the Pratham Houston Volunteers, Darel D’Souza. Plaque recipients that were unable to attend the event or missed the award portion included Gala Benefactors, Seema and Shawn Karande and Shital and Bhavesh Patel, along with Gala Co-Chairs, Charlie and Angela Yalamanchili.

The evening closed with a family feel, with Pratham’s own Co-Founder, Madhav Chavan, taking the stage to sing various tunes for the crowd. He was later followed by none other than the host herself, Himadri Katharani, singing a classical number for her guests.

It is fair to say that Pratham USA is a home away from home for many of the guests attending this event. While Pratham has already reached over 50 million children in India during its 23-year history, Pratham USA aims to fund this mission even further. With the help of its supporters, Pratham strives to make “Every Child in School and Learning Well” a reality.

Pratham USA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a consistent four-star rating from Charity Navigator that seeks to raise awareness and mobilize financial resources for Pratham’s work in India. For more information or to make a tax-deductible contribution, visit

By Peace Cowen, Development Associate at Pratham USA.