Planet Bollywood
Pratham Los Angeles Honors Anil Kapoor and Parvesh Cheena
- Amanda Sodhi           Let us know what you think about this story

NGO Pratham USA recently organized a gala event in Los Angeles at the historical Westin Bonaventure. Bollywood actor Anil Kapoor replaced Sonam Kapoor as the Honorary Chair as she was ill, and actor Parvesh Cheena (Outsourced, The Other End of the Line) was awarded with the Pratham Pioneer award in addition to Raju Reddy of Sierra Atlantic, Dan Gupta of UST Global, and Henrik Fisker who were also honored at the gala. South Asians present at the event were delighted to meet Kapoor who patiently posted for photos with everyone. The emcee of the gala was Sonia Bhalla (Outsourced, Up All Night, The Sixth Sense, Up in the Air). Local artists including singer Charenjeet and Bollywood Step performed at the event, entertaining audiences.

“It’s fantastic the kind of work Pratham is doing,” said Anil Kapoor. “Pratham has been an organization which has been doing this kind of noble work for many years. Prathamites, they are all kinds of people and I am proud of them—they are outside of India bust still so connected to India. Pratham has been going on for almost seventeen years which is huge and it’s a transparent and honest organization.” Kapoor is all set to be seen in Mission: Impossible-Ghost Protocol. “I landed in LA and saw banners and posters all over and it’s phenomenal. I’m looking forward to it.”

“It’s a humbling experience to be honored by Pratham,” said Cheena. “It’s a great organization, dealing with literacy for children, and to be honored by an award for doing my job making people laugh…it’s a great thing. It’s humbling.” Cheena has been actively involved in supporting social causes in the South Asian community, including Chetna, an organization committed to eradicating domestic violence.

Created in 1994, Pratham has expanded to most states in India, their mission primarily being to educate underprivileged children in reading, writing and math through initiatives including the “Lead to Read” program. Pratham has educated over 35 million underprivileged children in India and has created vocational training programs in conjunction with industry partners. Pratham has chapters in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Tuscon, Denver, Chicago, Dallas, Austin, Houston, Raleigh, Charlotte, DC, Boston and New York.

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