#LightALife: Pratham Australia raises $20k this Diwali

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It started off with a simple concept: for every $20 donation, a diya was lit this Diwali. And for every 25 diyas, adding up to $500, a young girl who dropped out of school would be given another chance at an education.

By the end of its six-week run, Pratham Australia was able to raise enough money to send 41 Indian girls and women back to school.

“I really believe that getting an education can change lives. Young girls are among the most vulnerable sections in society, and by empowering them with an education, we’re breaking the cycle and helping them on the path to a better life and more opportunities,” beamed Anoop Kalra, a board member of Pratham Australia.

At an overwhelming $20,502 raised through this Diwali fundraiser, these funds will help these young girls and women to complete Grade 10 and obtain an academic certificate.

The passion for education is evident in Anoop’s voice as he elaborates on the life-changing work done by Pratham.

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Pratham Australia board member Anoop Kalra.
Pratham Australia board member Anoop Kalra. Source: supplied

“The Right to Education law in India guarantees free and compulsory schooling to all children till Grade 8, but millions of children, especially young girls, drop out or discontinue their education due to reasons like illness, marriage, cultural barriers. With the Second Chance program, we want to help bring them back to school.”

Since its inception in 2015, Pratham Australia has fundraised nearly a quarter of a million dollars and supported 445 girls in the Second Chance program. It runs across nine states in India: Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, and Telangana.

In Phase 1, the students in the Second Chance program fill in the gaps with fundamentals they have missed in subjects like English, science, math, home science, and life skills. In Phase 2, they prepare for the Secondary School Curriculum through discussions, presentations, group learning, and other activities.

Source: supplied

“We really believe in broadening the vision of these girls. By providing them with an education, we’re changing their lives and thus, future generations too,” Anoop pointed out.

His own involvement with the organization was inspired by his young daughter, who wanted to tackle the issue of poverty for girls in India as her Year 6 project. The family were referred to Pratham Australia and were blown away by the organisation’s efforts.

Seeing the success of the Diwali fundraiser, Pratham Australia is already looking ahead at 2022, with a tentative Holi fundraiser in the works.

The organisation has received many accolades over the years, most recently being named one of the 34 initiatives from around the world to receive funding from the Google Impact Challenge.

For Anoop, who was born and raised in Australia, working with Pratham also offers a deeper purpose.

“It allows us as the diaspora to give back to our heritage. We get to acknowledge our luck, privilege, and opportunities here by donating not just money, but time and energy to a meaningful cause,” he told Indian Link.

To get involved, you can follow Pratham Australia on their social media or reach out regarding volunteer opportunities on info@pratham.org.au.

To donate, click here.

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Rhea L Nath
Rhea L Nath
Rhea L Nath is a writer and editor based in Sydney. In 2022, she was named Young Journalist of the Year at the NSW Premier's Multicultural Communications Awards.

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