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Colors of Hope - Houston Gala 2009
Pratham's Annual Gala has firmly established itself as the premier event in Houston for those who care about child illiteracy in India. The 2009 Gala, held on May 2 at the Westin Galleria, was a resounding success. Almost 700 guests were present at the event, helping the Houston chapter raise over $660,000 for Pratham's programs in India. Attendees included Congressman Pete Olsen, Mayor of Houston Bill White, and Consul General Sanjiv Arora.
"Colors of Hope", the theme for the evening, was inspired by the new spirit of optimism in India as millions strive towards a better future for themselves and their children. The message of resilience and hope in the midst of adversity echoed in the words of Pratham Houston's President, Vijay Bhuchar, and the special guests at the event. Raj Bhavsar, Olympic medalist for gymnastics, and Apoorva Lakhia, the noted film director, recounted how the support of their well-wishers had helped them tide through tough times and urged the audience to extend a similar helping hand to the children in India.
Pratham Idol, a unique singing contest featuring eight talented young performers, was one of the many highlights of the evening. The audience had the tough task of voting for the best performer. Anik Bhattacharya, age 14 years, eventually edged out the other contestants with his pitch-perfect rendition of the song "Allah key Bande". Music and dance performances, especially a tabla performance by 6 year old maestro, Amar Pal Singh, kept the audience enthralled. The live auction provided a thrilling finale to the evening. The evening's highest price was fetched by an item that set every cinephile's heart racing - a chance to act in Apoorva Lakhia next film! The overall fundraising was helped by a $100,000 matching challenge jointly offered by Vijay Goradia, Hemant Goradia and Swatantra Jain, all of Vinmar International Ltd.
Corporate sponsors for the evening included Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Amegy Bank, and Sara International.
|Congressman Pete Olsen (middle) with Pratham USA President Atul Varadhachary, Houston outgoing President Vijay Bhuchar and supporters of Pratham|
|Houston Mayor Bill White (right) with Houston outgoing President Vijay Bhuchar and Treasurer Swatantra Jain|
|Consul General Sanjiv Arora (left) with Pratham USA Chairman Vijay Goradia and Houston incoming President Sonu Anand|
|Olympic Gymnastics winner Raj Bhavsar||Indian Film Director Apoorva Lakhia|
|Pratham Idol contestants with Emcee Meena Datt|
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