Pratham Houston’s Holiday Luncheon 2019 on Friday, December 6th at The Junior League of Houston was a resounding success in its entirety. Under the strong & capable leadership of Pratham Houston’s President, Asha Dhume, the event was truly entertaining and focused: “Give Women a Chance – Unleash their Potential.” A total amount of about $170,000 was raised towards Pratham Women’s Entrepreneurship and Vocational Programs.
Mistress of Ceremonies, Rekha Muddaraj, TV Anchor, KHOU 11 News welcomed the guests for supporting this cause and invited Asha Dhume for her opening remarks. Asha thanked the audience for unconditionally supporting the cause and for their generosity in donating to Pratham. Being Asha’s last term as President, she thanked each and every supporter, volunteer and board members including Dr. Suneja, Brij Kathuria and Shital Patel who gave her their unwavering support and Pratham Houston’s immediate past Presidents, Mr. Swatantra Jain, Dr. Marie Goradia and Mr. Ash Shah, all three with whom she worked closely with, during the past eight years. She also thanked her husband Pankaj and their two children for their encouragement and support. As she remarked: “Education is truly the biggest game changer that enables success in life for those who have the ability, but don’t have the resources. At the heart of Pratham’s amazing success, is the passionate desire to unleash the potential of every underprivileged child and youth in India.”
Asha mentioned how Pratham USA was started over 20 years ago with the initial support of visionary & philanthropist, Mr. Vijay Goradia and has now grown into a large organization helping millions of underprivileged children in India. This 20th anniversary year honoring Vijay has truly been very special with the fund raising history being created with a record raise earlier this year. Asha also emphasized that Pratham USA has earned the highest 4-star rating from Charity Navigator for eight consecutive years.
Asha extended a heartfelt gratitude to Pratham Houston Advisory Board member, Poonam Mittal. Her family foundation, namely, the PANI Foundation, is single handedly funding two beauty schools this year, one in Assam and the other in Chattisgarh.
Asha introduced the incoming President of Pratham’s Houston chapter Dhiren Sethia, a highly successful entrepreneur. “Dhiren and his wife Anila have been passionate supporters of Pratham since its inception. I am very confident that in his own unique style, Dhiren will scale Pratham to much greater heights,” said Asha.
Keynote Speaker Lauren Levicki Courville, President, Dress for Success Houston, gave a powerful and enlightening talk that truly kept the audience engaged. Lauren said that over the past 21 years, Dress for Success Houston has grown to 20 plus programs and more than 3700 women have been served so far this year. Through these programs, “We have the distinct honor of letting the women know that they are valuable, that they are seen and heard,” she said.
Courville said that once a woman lands a job, she is invited to join the Professional Women’s Group (PWG) at no cost. “It’s an ongoing career education but most importantly it’s a networking support.” Just like Pratham’s programs empower women to be self-reliant, the Financial Literacy Course enables women to make financial decisions. “The 13week financial literacy course seems intense and overwhelming but I promise the value will be there at the end,” Courville said. She continued: “Like Pratham, we are not government funded and is run by the support of individuals, corporations and foundations that invest in our women”. In conclusion, Courville read an excerpt from Melinda Gates book ‘The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World’ that captures the essence of need to empower women as a way to impact and uplift a community.
The Co-Chairs of this successful Luncheon were Shital Patel, Dr. Bharat Pothuri, Dr. Sapna Singh and Anuradha Subramanian.
Dr. Sapna Singh conducted a very impactful pledge drive in her convincing and compassionate story style strongly urging guests to donate generously.
The event’s grand finale was a spectacular fashion show produced by Lenny Matuszewski for Sak’s Fifth Avenue featuring exquisite Jewelry by Dr. Amita Bhalla. Exciting raffle prizes enhancing this wonderful afternoon included a basket of Guerlain cosmetics from Saks Fifth Avenue, a handmade special necklace using clay, coral & freshwater pearls by Dr. Amita Bhalla and a wooden hand crafted clutch by Simran Kapoor of Treasure Trunk. The afternoon ended with President Asha Dhume handing out plaques to the key note speaker Lauren Levicki Courville and Emcee Rekha Mudduraj as a token of appreciation as also to the Co-chairs of the luncheon, Shital Patel, Dr. Bharat Pothuri and Dr. Sapna Singh.
The volunteer team did an outstanding job to make this event another success.
Please mark Saturday, April 18, 2020 on your calendars for Pratham USA’s annual Houston gala at Hilton Americas. It promises to be another elegant, entertaining and amazing event. Please reach out to Vikas Bahl at firstname.lastname@example.org for sponsorship opportunities.
To learn more about Pratham and the organizations work please visit www.prathamusa.org.