Pratham Houston Launches Summer Readathon for Children

Readathon participants with Thank You cards made by Pratham kids in India, Pratham National Board member and CFO, Pratham USA, Mr Swatantra Jain and Houston Coordinator of the Pratham Readathon, Manjit Soni.

HOUSTON: Worry. Despair. Hopelessness. These are the emotions running through millions of people in India, as they battle poverty every single day. Today, 75% of the Indian population earn no more than $78 per month. With little to no opportunities in sight, the future generations have no choice but to give in to the endless cycle of poverty and hunger. However, there is a way to break out of the cycle and win this fight: education. But 35% of the population is unable to read and write. This is where Pratham steps in.

Pratham is a non-profit organization that works to educate children in India. It began with a small preschool located in the depths of Mumbai and through their efforts, has now expanded to have schools and learning centers in 20 Indian states, touching the hearts of thousands of kids across the country.

One part of this organization that makes a significant contribution to this goal is the Pratham Readathon program. In this program, everybody, from little kids to adults, can do their part in raising money to educate children in India. This program is national, meaning that there are chapters all over America, including Houston. In this program, local kids will try to read as many books as they can, and in return, their family and friends will donate money based on the number of books read. Through this program, not only kids in India are benefitting, but local kids are also enhancing their imagination and overall view of the world by immersing themselves in the written word and becoming a part of a community that loves reading just as much as they do. In fact, in the 2018 Readathon program, kids in Houston were able to raise $10,000. Given that it only takes $25 to educate one kid, the Houston chapter alone has touched the lives of hundreds.

Recently, on June 23, Manjit Soni, the Houston coordinator of the Pratham Readathon, launched the 2019 Summer Readathon with a dazzling event to welcome all of the children participating. The readers had a wonderful time, where they had a chance to know each other through word games, such as anagrams, that all book-lovers could appreciate. Also, at this event, these ambitious readers had the opportunity to discuss and share their favorite books with one another, encouraging each other to continue to read and contribute to the Pratham cause. Mani Surkari, volunteer coordinator of Pratham USA, particularly recommended an interesting book, titled Beeline, by Shalini Shankar, which explains why kids from an Indian background excel in spelling bees.

One of the most touching moments of this event was the distribution of thank you cards by Pratham National Board Member and CFO of Pratham USA, Swatantra Jain. These cards were made by the children in India who have benefitted from this readathon. As the participants of the readathon received the thank you cards, which were filled with pictures of the kids in India smiling and happily clutching their books to their chests, these participants had the opportunity to see their impact on the lives of others.

As Malcolm X once said: “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” The Pratham organization encourages all kids and adults to join this fight for education, as they work to create opportunities for the future generation in India.

Vaani Gupta is a senior high school student at the prestigious Village School and has volunteered for the Pratham Readathon since the last five years.

So, please join the Houston Readathon Team or start your own team in your area and brighten the lives of underprivileged kids in India.

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