During a ‘Dragons’ Den’ style evening on 1 March, British Asian celebrities raised £69,500 for five high-impact charities in South Asia.
“I feel like we have done something very special here tonight,” said celebrity host Nitin Ganatra on announcing the grand total. “We have changed people’s lives.”
Hosted by Coutts Chairman, The Earl of Home, the event saw British Asian celebrities Nitan Ganatra, Mishal Husain, Nihal, Ritula Shah, Hari Dhillon and Laila Rouass represent five inspiring charities chosen from The British Asian Trust portfolio. The focus was on helping disadvantaged women and girls to overcome poverty in India and Pakistan.
““It was an unforgettable evening that brought together celebrities, corporate partners, friends, patrons and supporters to transform lives in South Asia’s poorest communities,” said Trust Executive Director Hitan Mehta. “We are grateful for the generous support of Coutts, The Funding Network and our very enthusiastic audience,” he said.
The five Trust charities receiving funding for the event are:
Mann Deshi’s Rural Business School - provides training and skills leading to livelihoods for illiterate women so they can support their families in areas of India plagued by farmer suicides.
Aangan Trust - enables disadvantaged and vulnerable girls in India to develop their own projects to bring about change in themselves and their communities through its ”Shakti” programme.
Pakistan Mental Health Initiative/BasicNeeds - wants to provide medical services to 300 mentally ill people as part of an initiative to introduce community-based mental health services in Pakistan.
Educate Girls - aims to improve girls’ education in rural Rajasthan, India to catalyse social and economic change for poor families.
Developments in Literacy - brings education to remote rural areas of Pakistan so that all children, especially girls, can go to school.
Celebrities Raise £69,500 for Charities across South Asia
“The event’s spectacular success means we will be able to reach even more people in the poorest communities across South Asia and help them to overcome poverty,” said Manoj Badale, Chairman of The British Asian Trust. “We are grateful for the support and enthusiasm of Coutts, The Funding Network, our talented team of celebrity Ambassadors… and of course, our audience.”
Competition was tough as celebrities vied for donations. With a song about the importance of school for girls in India written for the evening, songstress Sonna Rele and Radio 1 DJ Nihal scored highest with £19,193 for the charity Educate Girls in rural Rajasthan. Watch Sonna singing her song for Educate Girls here.
A bat signed by one of cricket’s greatest batsmen, Sachin Tendulkar, was auctioned during the evening raising £6,250 for The British Asian Trust.
The Earl of Home, Chairman of Coutts, said: “Coutts has an established and dedicated philanthropy advisory service and the Non Resident Indian and South Asian markets play an important part in our global business strategy. It therefore makes good business sense that two of the most significant growth areas for us, join together with five of The British Asian Trust’s charities and TFN, in an event dedicated to supporting projects in India and Pakistan.”
Michael Maynard, TFN Chairman, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have joined in partnership with The British Asian Trust and Coutts for this event. It is always inspiring to see the generosity of donors in supporting these five great charities, particularly in this difficult economic climate.”
EastEnders’ Nitin Ganatra was the Master of Ceremonies:
“As an Ambassador, I know that the Trust’s projects lead to long term and sustainable change. So it was especially meaningful to play a role in raising funds for five of the high-impact charities in the Trust’s portfolio. I am proud to support this dynamic organisation founded by HRH The Prince because it gives me a unique opportunity to be an agent of change,” he said.
Photos by Mal Chadwick