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NRI PrathamUK charity raise funds for illiteracy in India by auction of paintings

London, Dec. 03, 2006
Sohan Sahota

Since March 2003, PrathamUK has raised over £400,000 for Pratham programmes in India. M F Husain masterpiece will go for auction under Christie’s in New York to raise funds for Pratham for illiteracy in India. The painting, titled Woman playing Veena, currently in possession of Usha Mittal, wife of NRI steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal. She will auction next March to raise funds for Pratham’s work with children in India

NRI Usha Mittal, a collector of art and antiques advised and assisted Pratham in the organisation of our successful auction of Indian art at Christie’s in May this year, which raised a net £1,40,000.

NRI Sangeeta Chawla Joshi, founding trustee and President of Pratham said that PrathamUK is a UK incorporated charity organisation established with the aim of raising awareness and funds for Pratham's activities. PrathamUK is headquartered in London and has been established by a group of volunteers who have been associated with the Pratham movement for several years.

The founding trustees include Dr. Apoorva and Manveen Koticha, Sangeeta Chawla Joshi, Tulsi Naidu, Manjiree Jog and Dr. Viral Acharya (President). Ramola Bachchan, Prabha Chopra, Anita Roy Martins, Lakshmi N. Mittal, Seema Ram, and Jasjyot Singh have also joined the board.

PrathamUK has grown from the strength of 6 founding members to over 200 volunteers and growing rapidly in various regions of the UK, including London and surrounding (eg. Harrow), Leeds and Leicester.

Pratham's overall goals:

  • Continue to be "Every Child in School and Learning Well"
  • To provides educational opportunities to child laborers, street children, pavement dwellers and children in conflict with law. Teaching and learning happens in places of work, on streets, pavements, railway platforms - wherever children want to learn
  • This year Pratham has adopted the basti(community) approach in order to increase impact. A Basti generally comprises 200-250 households and has a clearly demarcated geographical boundary.

    For each of these Bastis, we ask ourselves 3 questions, in order to work out the community profile:
    • Is every child in a pre-school center?
    • Is every child in school or in the "education net"?
    • Can every child read fluently, write and do basic maths?

Pratham learning programs are aimed at motivating children and helping them to learn. Pratham programs for out of school children prepare them socially and academically for "mainstreaming" and in-school children who are lagging behind academically, are helped to "catch up" through our teaching-learning activities.

The classes may be located in the community or in schools. There maybe separate classes for out of school and in-school school. At times, though, they are taught in the same class. In the latter case the instructor has to cater to the distinct needs of children in each of these categories.

In order to inculcate a reading habit and to sustain the interest of the children, Pratham has undertaken to start a library in every basti. Apart from lending books, various extra-curricular activities, such as drawing, quiz etc. are conducted, in these libraries. Each library maintains a register, which contains the details of every child in the Basti.

Based on the community profile and needs of the children, Pratham plans the classes for different learning levels.
Groups of 20 - 25 children interact for 3/4 hours daily. Learning outcomes and time targets are set. Teaching-Learning methods have been developed and continue to evolve so as to help instructors and teachers achieve the set goals within an optimum time frame.