Pratham Gala: Preity Zinta Inspires Houstonians to Support Education in India

Pratham board members. Photos by Bijay Dixit.

HOUSTON: The highly anticipated Pratham Houston Gala returned on Saturday, March 25, 2023 this year. The event brought together Houston’s Indian-American community to raise awareness and funding for the charity’s education programs for children in under-served communities in India. The guest speaker of the evening was Ms. Preity G. Zinta, an accomplished actor, entrepreneur and an ardent philanthropist.

The audience was left inspired by Guest Speaker, Preity G. Zinta, as she interacted with Ashwini, a 24-year-old from India who shared her journey from being an aspiring welder to being the first female trainer at the Pratham Mody Technical Institute.

Pratham volunteers with President Annu Rao Naik and chief guest Preity G. Zinta

Preity shared, “Pratham is one of the most recognized education & learning non profits in the world, “Winner of Yidan Prize” and many coveted international recognitions. She extolled the audience by saying “Each of you has faced the defining choice between caring and indifference— and you have made the right choice. You have chosen to care. That’s why you are here supporting Pratham. That’s why I am here.”

Annu Rao Naik, President of the Pratham Houston chapter, shared that in a post-pandemic world, the learning loss faced by children is real. She emphasized, “It’s time to catch up. Despite the pandemic, Pratham persevered to ensure no child was left behind. During these times, if children couldn’t go to schools, we reached out to them in their communities. We are now at a critical juncture where we need to make up for the learning loss. Together we can help secure the future of these children.”

Preity G. Zinta clilcking a selfie with the audience as those who donated hold up tealight candles.

Pratham Board Chair, Dhiren Shethia said, “Learning changes lives. If there is a gift that can change someone’s future – that gift is learning. For over 25 years donors in the US Pratham community have given this gift to over 50M children and youth in India.”

Another highlight of the evening was the honoring of Hemant Goradia President and CEO Vinmar International Ltd., a global marketing, distribution and project development company, which markets petrochemicals in over 100 countries. Mr. Goradia, has been a long time supporter of Pratham’s mission. He has been an integral part of the Houston community and has been part of Pratham USA since its early days.

The evening closed with an exciting performance by Yuva Bollywood Dance and music by Desi Junction DJs. The funds raised at the Pratham Houston Gala will provide much needed support to children in India, giving them an opportunity to learn and stem the steep learning loss that has occurred during the pandemic.

Event Sponsors included:
Champion: Wells Fargo Houston
Patron: Ascend Performance Materials, Active Athlete, Gencom
Ambassador: Amegy Bank of Texas, Deloitte, Gordon, Arata, McCollam, Duplantis &
Eagan, LLC, Fidelity Investment, Packwell, Cardiology Center of Houston, Houston