Pratham – breaking cultural stereotypes

Last weekend, my friends at Pratham – one of India’s largest and most effective literacy / educational NGOs, organised a fabulous event to raise the profile of their cause. Sensing the worries of their donor base, they made the prudent decision to organise a ‘no frills’ party instead of their signature Ball – which last year saw them raise in excess of £2m for their ‘Read India’ campaign.

Having worked and supported with many NGOs that have their roots in India, not only am I impressed with Pratham’s ability to tap into the city / banking circuit in London and New York, I have to applaud the efforts of Reita Gadkari and the entire team for breaking many stereotypes that I believe dog the Indian charity scene.

For me, Pratham leads the way in not only showing us that an Indian cause can raise millions in the UK, but importantly, Pratham shows us how to gain the support of non Indians for charity. As a result of their clear focus and messaging, we saw a huge turnout of supporters from all ethnicities – all rooting for improved literacy in India. Sounds strange, but I haven’t seen this before – at least not on this scale.

My advice for those who rely on newspapers and TV for their information on India – don’t believe the hype! Yes, India is booming. Yes, it produces so many million more graduates than Europe. However, not all of these are of the quality that you and I are lead to believe. Basic literacy and skills are a major concern and this is where groups like Pratham provide effective solutions.

As an event – great fun. Well done. Was good to see eminent persons like Andrew Neil, Lakshmi Mittal, Anshu Jain, Dalip Pathak, Jim O’Neill all present and supporting Pratham.