Murthy Law Firm founder and president, Sheela Murthy, served as Master of Ceremonies at the second annual Pratham D.C. gala, held at the Gannett / USA Today headquarters in McLean, Virginia, on October 27th. The event prompted a massive outpouring of generosity from the region’s IndianAmerican elite, whose personal donations were added to the already-substantial contributions made by corporate sponsors such as the Murthy Law Firm, a platinum-level underwriter of Pratham’s 2013 gala.
Pratham D.C. is a local chapter of the highly successful India-based educational nonprofit, Pratham. The organization aims to transform education in India by training a small army of volunteers to teach basic literacy skills to children, and gather data for Pratham’s Annual Status of Education Report (ASER). ASER provides a statistical snapshot of educational achievement in India, and has become a valuable tool for educators and policymakers there, as well as a model for education-improvement efforts in several African countries.
Pratham is built on the recognition that India’s youth are among its greatest natural assets. It has fully embraced the challenge of developing the minds of India’s children – a daunting task, given the scale: some 230 million children are of school age in India – more than two-thirds of the entire population of the United States – and about 70 percent attend government schools. The problem? These institutions often lack the resources to effectively prepare students for life in a modern, technology-driven economy. For example: in many government schools, there is just one teacher for every eighty students. Without individualized attention, too many children fall behind in the race to develop reading and math skills.
Among the many eminent guest speakers who shared their perspectives on Indian education, there was unanimous agreement: this needs to change, and Pratham is an essential change agent in that process. Although Pratham has reached millions of children all across India, there is much more to be done, and all of this requires the financial means to make it happen.
Change, Murthy said, is a matter of the heart. That, in the end, is what Pratham is all about: engaging hearts and engaging minds!
Copyright © 2013, SHEELA MURTHY. All Rights Reserved