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Why I Support Pratham
Pratham attracts a wide range of supporters
who all believe in educational equality.
Our contributors hail from around the world and across the United States. Regardless of where they come from, they believe in Pratham’s mission, collaborative model and success rate. Read what they have to say:
"I always feel a little dissatisfied with myself when I donate to Pratham: I ask myself, could I have donated more? This cause is so great, and Pratham is so vital, that the answer is always yes."
- Manish Dhawan (Shreveport, LA)
"All of us first-generation Indian Americans, have benefited from the excellent education we received as children growing up in India. We value quality education and send our children to the best schools possible. We should all take the opportunity offered by Pratham to give back and support the urgent cause of child literacy in India. I am proud to be part of the Pratham Parivaar."
- Vineeta Salvi (Dallas, TX)
Interview with Dhruv Kothari
“I think education is the one thing that can’t be taken away from you. Even if you’re in the most horrible situation…, education can take you places… so I thought that if you can give education to one kid, that kid can become something really great in the world…”
– Dhruv Kothari
Dhruv Kothari is a 16-year-old high school student who became involved with Pratham soon after his parents told him about it. “I really found the cause interesting because it doesn’t cost much to help [educate] a child in India… so I really thought I could help” he said.
“I do presentations with my friends and family whenever they come over to my house.” Dhruv’s initiative yielded swift results. In one week, he raised $420.
Interview with Dipak Sarkar
“If I can be of some help in getting these children a better life, I’ll feel like I have done something meaningful… Lots of these children’s lives are changed because of the education they receive.”
– Dipak Sarkar
Since March of 2002, Dipak Sarkar has been deeply involved with Pratham. For six years, he served as president and has since then been working as a volunteer, primarily helping with fundraising. In 2003, Mr. Sarkar began visiting Pratham schools in Delhi, Lucknow, and regularly visits the program in Agra, his hometown.
“It [is] very satisfying doing something for your hometown. Then, of course, when you meet all the children and the teachers, it’s very inspiring and encouraging. You see all the different circumstances they’re studying in, and many times they don’t even have a roof over their heads,” he said. “If I can be of some help in getting these children a better life, I’ll feel like I have done something meaningful… So many people get affected and they’re touched by the help few provide. Lots of these children’s lives are changed because of the education they receive.”
Because there were not many books written in regional languages, Mr. Sarkar said, Pratham began publishing stories that focused on subjects drawn from the children’s immediate surroundings, such as birds and animals indigenous to the area. This helps the children become more interested in learning, and the more interested they are, the quicker they are to learn the material, he explained. “That has been a very successful program,” he said.
“We feel humble and satisfied that our efforts have resulted in so much good work… [with] so many children getting so much education out of this effort.”
Interview with Shailee Mehta
“When you give to an organization like Pratham, you know where your money is going… You’re giving [the children] a chance for a future; you’re giving their future a chance.”
Last year, Shailee Mehta and Raman Gulati decided to organize a dance show for young Indian-American professionals and wanted to donate a portion of the proceeds to a charity that they could feel confident supporting so they chose Pratham.
“When you give to an organization like Pratham, you know where your money is going,” Ms. Mehta said. Having worked with Pratham volunteers, she praised their swift readiness to help: “Everyone [was] very supportive and very nice. It was a good experience, and everyone was very helpful.”
“With education…, you get to experience so much more. Your world isn’t just what’s around you anymore.” By supporting Pratham, “You’re giving [the children] a chance for a future; you’re giving their future a chance.”
Interview with Jalpa Shah
“Everything starts with educating yourself.”
– Jalpa Shah
Our volunteer spotlight features Jalpa Shah, who worked as an intern for Pratham in Baroda, Gujarat. During her five months of volunteering, Ms. Shah helped Pratham students improve their fluency in English. She described the bonds she forged with the children: “Every time I would walk through the community… they would just smile like they’ve known me for so long… It made me realize that I am doing the right thing because I impacted someone’s life.”
Interview with Mohamed Hamir
“What Pratham does is it touches the people, uplifts the people, gives them opportunity. Imagine the impact it has on society.”
– Mohamed Hamir
Since 2006, Mr. Mohamed Hamir has been involved with Pratham. Mr. Hamir is a Pratham Los Angeles Board Member who advocates education as the key to creating a healthy democracy. “I very strongly believe that if we are going to build a civil, competent, democratic society, you cannot do it without educating your society.”
He poignantly spoke of the state of people in the slums of India: “All that is heartbreaking – when you see children’s lives absolutely wasted outright. What Pratham does is it touches the people, uplifts the people, gives them opportunity. Imagine the impact it has on society.”
“This fits right into my own charitable contributions,” he said. “Supporting the cause of education is natural to me. You cannot create a modern society if you don’t have educated people – period… and Pratham does a fantastic job of educating the poorest of segments of society.”
Interview with Nehal Patel
“To remove the poverty in this world, the first step is education.”
– Nehal Patel
Nehal Patel learned about Pratham through Dhiren Mehta and Yogi Patel, whose presentation inspired her to give Pratham 25% of the profits made from selling her paintings.
“I believe in educating children, especially at the younger age.” Ms. Patel praised Pratham particularly for supporting females and because of Pratham’s motto: “Every child in school and learning well.”
Pratham leverages 65,000 volunteers from villages and cities to teach children and bring them up to speed. We collaborate with government institutions and use existing structures. It’s an efficient strategy and it encourages local “ownership” of programs.
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So many of our volunteers and donors have wonderful stories to tell about helping kids with their education, fundraising for us, and sharing their experiences visiting a Pratham site in India. We want to hear from you. Submit your story.