MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga to be keynote speaker at the DC chapter of Pratham USA’s annual gala

October 4 gala has fundraising goal of $225,000.

By The American Bazaar Staff

WASHINGTON, DC: MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga will be the keynote speaker at the District of Columbia chapter of Pratham USA’s annual gala, to be held at the Gannett/USA Today headquarters in McLean, Virginia, on Saturday, October 4.

Pratham, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of education for underprivileged children in India, has a fundraising goal of $225,000 for the DC chapter, for 2014, according to a press release. The funds raised will support the organization’s mission of “every child in school and learning well.”

As the largest educational movement in India, Pratham inspires people around the world to stand up for children’s right to education.

“India is home to over a third of the illiterate children in the world,” said Ramesh Mahalingam, president of Pratham, in a statement. “Pratham provides hope to these children with its low-cost and innovative approach to improving learning outcomes. Pratham’s techniques are being replicated by other developing countries in Africa, south Asia and Mexico. It is a cause worthy of support by anyone who wants to see the world’s children growing up literate.”

Pratham has won several awards for its path-breaking work, including the 2014 BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award, 2013 Times of India Social Impact Award, 2012 WISE Prize Award, 2011 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship and 2010 Henry R. Kravis Leadership Prize. The organization was also featured in the 2013 PBS NewsHour Agents for Change series, recognizing its innovative ways of helping communities solve problems.

Following a cocktail hour and dinner in the building’s atrium, the gala will feature music by bhangra star Bikram Singh as well as a special appearance by actor Omi Vaidya.

The sponsors of this year’s event include the Gates Foundation, Sodexo, Bank of America, Deloitte, LanceSoft and Murthy Law Firm, among others.

Pratham D.C. raised $175,000 in 2013.

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