Pratham Houston Gala 2016: Spectacular Fashion Show by Manish Malhotra


Suman Khare

By Karina Hooda

HOUSTON: Pratham will be hosting its 2016 Houston Gala on Saturday, April 23. The event will be held at the Hilton Americas on 1600 Lamar Street in Houston Texas, at 6 pm.

The Gala is co-Chaired by Ajay and Dr. Sippi Khurana and Bashar and Brigitte Kalai.

The Emcees for the evening are Rekha Muddaraj, Weekend Anchor/Reporter, KHOU 11 news and Michael Pearce, Senior Counsel, Schlumberger and Blogger for Society Section, Houston Chronicle.

This year’s Houston gala will feature Pratham’s CEO, Dr. Rukmini Banerji as the keynote speaker. Dr. Banerji brings deep insight, years of experience and impact to the world of education reform. She is currently a member of the CABE (Central Advisory Board of Education) and has also been the co-chair for the Global Learning Metrics Task Force (convened by the Brookings Institution and UNESCO) in the past.

Another exciting aspect of the Gala will be a fashion show by Manish Malhotra –  India’s top fashion designer. Malhotra primarily focuses on high end bridal and couture fashion, and his Indian-inspired designs have been worn by the likes of Michael Jackson, Reese Witherspoon, Shah Rukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai among other stars! Besides dressing celebrities, Manish Malhotra has also created glittering costumes for over 1000 Bollywood movies.

The Board of Pratham invites you to attend what will definitely be a very memorable and meaningful evening. Come support children’s education; help provide children opportunities, hope and a great future!

Originally established in 1995, Pratham is a nonprofit organization that was set up to provide basic education for children in the slums of Mumbai. It now flourishes as one of the largest non-governmental learning organizations in India and its mandate has broadened to also include skill development and assessment of reading ability. Pratham’s overarching goal is to enhance and reform education within India by implementing wide reaching scalable programs. With the help of volunteers and by effectively leveraging various partnerships, Pratham has been making huge strides within education in recent years. Organizations like Pratham are especially necessary because, according to UN data, India is currently the home to the largest number of illiterate adults. Education reform through organizations like Pratham seek to better prepare future generations by educating children. Education not only empowers children with the ability to read and write, but it also gives them the tools and knowledge to be able to obtain better jobs, thereby providing them with opportunities to break out of the vicious cycle of poverty.

Pratham has received a plethora of awards for its high impact work; it was awarded the BBVA Foundation “Frontiers of Knowledge Award,” was named a “2014 Asia Game Changer” by the Asia Society, and was featured in the New York Times and Stanford Social Innovation review, among other recognitions. Pratham’s influence is truly wide spread in India; during the 2014-15 school year it impacted over 7.7 million children, and over 15,000 were enrolled in its various vocational training programs.

How Pratham transformed the life of Suman Khare
Suman Khare had a difficult life before she joined Pratham. She was married off after completing grade 8th and never had the chance to pursue her education. Married to an alcoholic, she was an unfortunate victim of domestic violence.

To make ends meet, she used her skills in beauty to provide a door-to-door service.. When she learnt of Pratham’s PACE (Pratham Arora Center for Education)  center for beauty training, she approached them looking for a teaching job. As she did not meet the basic educational qualification, Pratham could not hire her as a teacher. She was instead advised to take up the beauty course, get certified and establish a beauty salon.

Not only did Suman complete her course,  but she also runs her own beauty salon which she started with the financial aid she received from Pratham. In addition to running her salon, she trains other women in beauty under the PACE umbrella. Her current income ranges from rupees 7000 to 8000 per month on an average.

Today, Suman is financially independent and takes care of her sons. She says that this is not the end of her learning. Given a chance she would like to complete her secondary schooling as well. With her confidence soaring high, Suman is unstoppable.

For more information on Pratham or for tickets and sponsorship opportunities for the Houston Gala 2016,  contact: Tel: 713 774 9599

Writer Karina Hooda Karina is a high school senior. She is interested in history, archaeology, social media and journalism. She also has a black belt in Tang Soo Do and volunteers for Pratham.