“I am very happy to be here and to meet the Prince, it is a proud moment"
The 4th Annual Dinner in honour of the British Asian Trust on Thursday 2nd February 2017 at the prestigious Guildhall, London.
450 supporters and charity ambassadors arrived for an evening of celebration which saw an incredible £850,000 raised for projects in South Asia.
British Asian actors, entertainers and musicians were joined by HRH The Prince of Wales and HRH The Duchess of Cornwall.
Guests and speakers included International Development Secretary Priti Patel MP and musical icon, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, who is the Trust’s newest ambassador.
The Pakistani legend even performed a special collaboration on stage with popular music producer Naughty Boy.
Rahat later said: “It was an honour to perform tonight for THRH’s The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall.
“I am delighted that The Prince of Wales also announced that I will be working more closely with the British Asian Trust as an ambassador, to further support their incredible work in transforming lives across South Asia.”
Other stars included tennis star, Boris Becker, director Gurinder Chadha, Hugh Bonneville, Nitin Ganatra and Preeya Kalidas.
Hosting the evening was broadcaster Nihal Arthanayake. Aside from the celebrity ambassadors, the Trust also welcomed beneficiaries of the charity, Navanitha and Kalsoom from India and Pakistan respectively.
After Navanitha signed up to a football program supported by the Trust, she helped to alter attitudes towards women in sport in India. Particularly, in her local community, inspiring a new generation of Indian girls to take up the sport:
“I am very happy to be here and to meet the Prince, it is a proud moment. It is amazing to see the support for the British Asian Trust, whose work has helped changed my life and so many others in South Asia,” Navanitha said.
Kalsoom, from Pakistan, was a victim of marital abuse that led her to raise a disabled son by herself. She eventually enrolled onto a training programme and has now launched her own centre that teaches sewing techniques to girls in her local area.
“When I left Pakistan to come here my expectation was very different. Since I’ve come here and met everybody, my thoughts have definitely changed. I’m so impressed with the work of the British Asian Trust, how they have supported us and shared our pain.”
International Development Secretary Priti Patel spoke to guests about the vital work the Trust has done in defeating poverty and suffering around the world. HRH The Prince of Wales also took an opportunity to address the special guests and supporters of the charity:
“I must say, I had no idea… that my British Asian Trust would go on to transform the lives of over 3 million people in South Asia. The fact that we have done so has been the result of two things. Firstly, of great good fortune in coming across Manoj Badale and then Hitan Mehta.
“Secondly, the generosity of the British Asian Diaspora community in helping my Trust assist so many people has been truly remarkable – both in terms of the funds raised and the practical support that you, ladies and gentlemen, have provided. But I have to confess that it did not come as a surprise!
“As a Diaspora community, you have already enriched the United Kingdom beyond measure in every field of endeavour, from sport to business, not to mention food, fashion and music.
“An example of which is the wonderful entertainment we have this evening, Naughty Boy and Rahat Ali Khan, who has also kindly agreed to become an Ambassador for my Trust – and I am most grateful to both of them for performing this evening.
“So, it is entirely in keeping with your famous generosity that you saw the point of what my British Asian Trust was trying to do and chose to use your remarkable talents and expertise to enrich the lives of our fellow men, women and children across South Asia.”
The gala dinner also unveiled plans for 2017, which involves honing in on key issues in South Asia, such as education, anti-trafficking, livelihood and mental and health disability.
Supported by Travel, Serum Institute of India, Hemraj Goyal Foundation and RWS, the British Asian Trust Annual Dinner was a fantastic evening connecting supporters of the charities to the beneficiaries who have seen their lives transform.
CEO of the British Asian Trust, Richard Hawkes added: “On this important night, not only did we raise £850,000 for the charity, we were also able to share the life-changing stories of two incredible beneficiaries Navanitha and Kalsoom, who have joined us tonight and brought the Trust’s ongoing hard work and impact to life.
“We look forward to a special year in 2017 as a trusted partner for South Asia.”
The British Asian Trust has undoubtedly transformed the lives of millions of people over the last decade and will continue to do so for many years to come. For more details about the British Asian Trust and its work around the world, please visit the charity’s website here.