Pratham Australia: a fundraiser Diwali

Reflecting on the spirit of Diwali, Pratham Australia united to help brighten the journeys of girls who deserve a second chance at education.

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In a practical sense, the diyas of Diwali can light up the life of not only one girl but also the lives of those around her – as a daughter, wife, mother and community member. The festival of Diwali – symbolic with its lighting of lamps- is an opportunity for Pratham Australia to raise awareness and raise funds for their mission.

Pratham is a charity organisation whose aim is to give a second chance at education for girls in India who have to drop out of school for one reason or another.

A donation of $20 can light one diya, while 25 diyas can educate and change the life of a girl in India by giving her an opportunity to have a second go at education.

This year, a fun-filled Diwali celebration was held at the Bondi Pavilion with over 150 guests who got to learn more about the charity of Pratham during an evening of Bollywood music, Indian food and jalebis.

Pratham Australia chairperson and founder Sarita Chand is passionate about Pratham’s mission.

Sarita Chand
Sarita Chand reflected on her role as chairperson and founder of Pratham Australia. (Source: Supplied)

“Almost 80% of India’s girls leave school before completing Grade 8,” Chand shared on the night.

Pratham’s Second Chance program assists them to continue their education and become employable.

“I believe education is the way out of poverty, I have had many chances in my life to move forward and many have not,” Chand said. “With literacy having the power to break the vicious cycle of poverty, Pratham’s goals are to raise funds to give as many girls as we can a second chance. I am overwhelmed by the support from all those present today who, in their own way, helped raise funds for someone far away. Through a team of dedicated volunteers and a support team, we have been able to send substantial funds to India but there is a growing need to do more. Therefore, functions like these are important to us – not only to get the message of Pratham out but also to help fundraise for this cause in India.”

The Ahmedabad-based Renu Seth, Pratham’s Program Head for Girls & Women, happened to be visiting Australia at this time and was at the Diwali fundraiser.   “Through Pratham Australia and other supporters globally, we now have students in India who are doing courses from stitching to learning childcare, healthcare and other skills to help them get ahead in life,” she said. “Some of them are as young as 16, while others might be a bit older and feel that by doing some extra study, they can increase their earnings.”

Renu Seth
Renu Seth’s visit to Australia was marked by attending the fundraiser to support Pratham’s cause (Source: Supplied)

She added, “We have been fortunate to get the ongoing support of the male members of the family to allow their daughters and their wives to study more with Pratham. Though at times it is a challenge, we are okay to start with one or two people from the village, and as they see more and more progress being made, other girls join in.  It is a joy to be at the Pratham Diwali fundraising function to see and experience the generosity of the people who in their way can change the lives of young women in India.”

Since its inception in 2011, the program has impacted the lives of more than 36,000 girls and women.

With the waves of Bondi in the background and the beats of Bollywood ringing in the ears, the seriousness of the cause seemed far away but deep down, all those at this Diwali fundraiser knew their contribution would light up someone else’s life in a land far far away.

For more information about Pratham Australia, please visit their website.

READ ALSO: #LightALife: Pratham Australia raises $20k this Diwali

Pawan Luthra
Pawan Luthra
Pawan is the publisher of Indian Link and is one of Indian Link's founders. He writes the Editorial section.

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