Tag Archives: British Asian Trust

British Asian Trust beneficiaries join star-studded annual dinner, raising more than £850,000

The British Asian Trust hosted its 4th Annual Dinner tonight at Guildhall in London. The night proved to be extremely successful with distinguished guests turning out to support the charity and raising an astonishing £850,000 to support the Trust and its projects in South Asia.

The British Asian Trust Founder and President HRH The Prince of Wales and HRH The Duchess of Cornwall attended the event alongside several of the charity’s key trustees and ambassadors. Guests included International Development Secretary Priti Patel MP, chart-topping music star Naughty Boy, Pakistani music icon Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, both ambassadors of The Trust, tennis star Boris Becker, award-winning film director Gurinder Chadha and TV stars Nitin Ganatra and Preeya Kalidas.

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International Development Secretary Priti Patel said: “The British Asian community has long played a vital role in the fight against global poverty by dedicating their time, money and expertise to this global struggle. I am delighted that the Department for International Development, has such an enduring partnership with the British Asian Trust which helps to defeat poverty and suffering in the world.

The recent match funding of public donations to the British Asian Trust’s ‘Give a Girl a Future’ appeal has already helped 50,000 women and girls in Pakistan get the essential skills they need to secure steady jobs. There is no task more urgent than defeating poverty. Britain plays a leading international role in tackling the root causes of poverty and supporting the education and livelihoods of the world’s poorest.People in Britain can be proud of the way UK aid is saving and changing lives on an incredible scale.”

The night was hosted by BBC broadcaster Nihal Arthanayake, a British Asian Trust trustee, and welcomed over 450 supporters and ambassadors. Pakistani music icon Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, who was announced as a new British Asian Trust ambassador on the night, performed and also collaborated with British chart-topping producer Naughty Boy.

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Rahat Fateh Ali Khan said: “I have followed the work of the British Asian Trust for some time and 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.”

Guests were introduced to two of the Trust’s beneficiaries, Navanitha and Kalsoom who have travelled to the UK from India and Pakistan respectively and were welcomed by HRH The Prince of Wales and HRH The Duchess of Cornwall.

For Navanitha, her life changed when she signed up to a football programme with the Trust’s local partner. She proved a natural in the sport when girls playing football was not accepted as a social norm in India. She challenged this and has changed the perceptions of girls’ abilities in her local community and is an inspiration to a new generation of Indian girls.

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Navanitha said: “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.”

Kalsoom was born into poverty to uneducated parents, but she was determined to complete her schooling. She briefly became a teacher, but this was cut short when her marriage ended after her husband tormented her for giving birth to a disabled son. Despite the social stigma of divorce, Kalsoom raised her son alone.  Her life changed when she enrolled on a training programme with the Trust’s local partner. Spotting an opportunity in her community, Kalsoom launched her own training centre and now teaches sewing techniques to 20 girls.

Kalsoom added: “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.”

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To date, the British Asian Trust has touched the lives of over 3 million people in South Asia, and the gala dinner marked the beginning of a special year that will focus on four key areas to transform the future of South Asia – Education, Anti-trafficking, Livelihoods and Mental Health/Disability.

Richard Hawkes, CEO, British Asian Trust said:“This has been another fantastic evening for the Trust, on our 4th annual dinner. We have felt tremendous support, warmth and encouragement for our work from all of our supporters. 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.”

This year’s British Asian Trust Annual Dinner was sponsored and supported by Southall Travel, Serum Institute of India, Hemraj Goyal Foundation and RWS.

Photos: Alastair Fyfe. fyfephoto.com email: alastair@fyfephoto.com

Photos: The British Asian Trust welcomes Manish Malhotra at Aashni + Co

 

Manish Malhotra with British Asian Trust ambassador, actress Laila Rouass (2)One of The Prince’s Charities, The British Asian Trust, hosted an exclusive preview of the latest Festive collection presented by celebrated Indian designer, Manish Malhotra, on Thursday 24th September. The event took place at the UK’s leading, Indian high fashion multi-brand store, Aashni + Co, Notting Hill, London. Against the sumptuous backdrop of the fashion talent’s latest couture designs, the announcement was made of his ambassadorship for the charity to an attending guest list of VIP’s, influencers, media and The British Asian Trust ambassadors such as actress Laila Rouass; newsreader and presenter Sonali Shah; and BBC Radio news presenter, Ritula Shah.

Manish Malhotra’s creativity and genius span the broad spheres of Bollywood design, Styling, Diffusion and the Everlasting Bridal and Couture. Manish is a pioneer in the field of fashion in India today and renowned globally. His diffusion label MANISH MALHOTRA has become a success since its launch in 2004 and has proved once again why he is the country’s favourite when it comes to dressing India’s most beautiful and glamorous.  Manish, known for his bridal wear and immaculate colour sense, has designed for some of the most striking personalities in the Indian film industry, high profile politicians, industrialists, top global corporates and affluent families across the globe.  He has also been felicitated by National Institute of Fashion Technology, Delhi and the Indo American Society for his contribution to fashion designing.  He was also presented the Rajiv Gandhi Award by the Mumbai Pradesh Youth Congress 2002 for his contribution to fashion in India.

The British Asian Trust was founded in 2007 by HRH The Prince of Wales, who wanted to do something about the widespread poverty and hardship that he saw in South Asia. He turned to the entrepreneurial spirit of the British Asian diaspora, aiming to link them with innovative social entrepreneurs and grassroots interventions in the region. Since its inception, The British Asian Trust has convened funds, become a trusted navigator and raised awareness through the backing of high profile voices like Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi, music mogul Simon Cowell and Bollywood actress Rani Mukerji. To date, the Trust has made a real difference in the lives of over three million people in South Asia.

Founded in 2012 by one of the UK’s leading South Asian fashion influencers and tastemakers, Aashni Anshul Doshi (Shah), Aashni + Co pioneers the most desirable edit in Indian high fashion. A beautiful concept store in London’s Notting Hill with e-commerce site, Aashni + Co has been established with the purpose of providing access to visionary designers of India for the residents of UK. 

Speaking at the event, Manish Malhotra said, “I am overwhelmed at the opportunity of coming on board as an ambassador for The British Asian Trust. I have been observing their great work for some time and am looking forward to contributing in my own way. There has been an overwhelming response from guests and media this evening to the new collection also. Aashni + Co is one of the first stores in the UK to really showcase Indian fashion. I’ve been a part of Aashni + Co since the beginning. It’s a serious store and a great showcase for the West to see what’s happening in India today.”

Hitan Mehta, Executive Director, The British Asian Trust said, “It has been a great evening, celebrating and showcasing the best of the Indian fashion industry that is Manish Malhotra and at the same time raising the awareness and funds to help those disadvantaged in South Asia. We are very excited to have Manish on board as an ambassador for the Trust and would also like to say a huge thanks to Aashni Anshul Doshi for being such a fantastic supporter of the Trust.”

Aashni Anshul Doshi (Shah), Founder and Creative Director of Aashni + Co, said, “It’s been a wonderful evening with an amazing response to Manish’s new collection, as well as to the news of his ambassadorship for The British Asian Trust. We are proud of our relationship with Manish and are so delighted to be presenting his latest, festive collection in-store, as well as sharing the news of his involvement with an extremely noble cause.”

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Manish Malhotra with British Asian Trust ambassador, TV presenter Sonali Shah

Manish Malhotra with British Asian Trust ambassador, actress Laila Rouass

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L to R - Shalni Arora, wife of B & M CEO Simon Arora & Shakiba Rangoonwala, wife of Asif Rangoonwala

L to R - British Asian Trust ambassadors Sonali Shah, Manish Malhotra and Ritula Shah

Aashni Anshul Doshi (Shah)

Interview: “I take complete inspiration from someone like Meryl Streep” – Rani Mukerji

Rani MukerjiBollywood royalty Rani Mukerji was in the English capital last month to attend a charity dinner held by the British Asian Trust. 

The event was also attended by The Prince Of Wales, who is the charity’s president, and The Duchess Of Cornwall along with Nobel Peace Prize winner, Kailash Satyarthi; music and television producer, Simon Cowell and X-Factor Judge, Louis Walsh among many others. 

This year’s event was in support of The British Asian Trust’s work in empowering disadvantaged people in South Asia to transform their lives. This year’s event also marked the launch of a new anti-trafficking fund for India to build on work which the British Asian Trust has already been doing to support vulnerable girls affected by violence and abuse.

Rani Mukerji also addressed the guests at the event and spoke about child trafficking, something the Mardaani actress feels strongly about.  

Our Bollywood correspondent Sunny Malik caught up with Rani where she spoke about the event, her last film Mardaani and much more…

You come to London pretty often. What do you love about the UK, besides the fact that you have a huge fan base here?
I can’t put it in words as I can only feel this. As actors, we put a lot of effort into our work when we are performing for a film. Our main agenda is to make our fans happy. The fact that I have a fan base so far away from India is a nice feeling. It’s nice to know that NRI’s or people who watch Indian films in the UK like my work. It reassures me that whatever I am doing is right. It gives me the feeling that since they are liking my work, I can do better and achieve more.

Rani Mukerji (1)You attended the British Asian Trust charity dinner in London as the guest of honour recently. How important was it for you to be here?
I think it is very important to be speaking at a platform or at an event, where people come together for a cause. The theme was anti-trafficking. My recent film Mardaani brought this issue, child trafficking, into the limelight and it became a national topic in India. That speaks a lot for a film. Usually, films with a social cause do not perform well at the box office. Mardaani managed to make noise among the audiences, the critics and did well at the box office. That goes to show how important the film was for India. It created awareness about a subject in India. I think, many people are still ignorant about it. They do not believe that this can happen to their own children. Every eight minutes, a girl disappears in India. There a millions of girls who are trafficked and sold daily. In India people reacted positively to the film. Parents started enrolling their children into Karate classes to empower them and for them to defend themselves. When I was invited to talk at the platform for the British Asian Trust, I felt it was important to make noise about this issue. It was my absolute honour to share the stage with Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi. He has been supporting this case for about forty-five years. To have someone like him with me on stage to talk about these important issues meant a great deal to me. Mardaani also resonated with people overseas and hence, I was invited to London.

Mardaani Poland 1Mardaani recently premiered in Poland. Did you ever imagine that a film like Mardaani will receive such international appreciation?
Honestly, I didn’t. But somewhere in my heart, while I was completing the film, I knew that the cause that we are showing in the film is a global problem. There are thousands of Eastern European girls trafficked into the United Kingdom. Every country in the world is suffering from the issue of child trafficking. I never imagined that my film will release in Poland. That came to me as a pleasant surprise. Usually, it’s the big films that are made with a hundred crore budget that get a wide international release. It was also good to see that the 75 percent of the audience that attended the premiere in Warsaw were Polish. That includes fans, press, local actors and producers and normal audiences. It was a huge honour for me to represent my entire team there who had worked on the film and also those who worked on the research for Mardaani. When we were researching for the film, people were extremely happy that we are making a film on this issue. We weren’t glamorising it. We were simply showing the truth. We didn’t over-exaggerate or melodramatise the issue.

 

Don’t you think that dubbing Hindi movies for an international audience is the next step forward?
I think it would be great. The Polish audience saw the film with Polish subtitles. They related with the film and were emoting with the characters in the movie. I feel that somewhere there is hope. I am sure that films with an international appeal that tackle social problems or have human stories, will then have a wider audience. Today people around the world are quite accepting to see movies from India. It could be the next way forward. That decision, however, is with the distribution and production team. They will consider whether it will add value to their project.

Mardaani Poland 3You once said you only do a film if the script excites you. Do other factors not matter to you?
What really matters to me first is the script and what my character has to do in accordance with the script. These two things are of utmost importance. It is also important to know whom the film is being produced by. India probably makes the highest number of films in a year worldwide. We have so many different languages and we produce around nine hundred films a year. It is important to know who the producer is in a country where films are being made so rampantly. That is because you can be part of a great film but it may not get a good release and not reach the audiences correctly. Hence, it is important along with the script and subject, to choose the right production house which can take the film to places. Many films stay in the cans and never see a release. These two things are very important when I sign a film.

Award shows recently celebrated what we call “women-centric movies”. Do you feel audiences in India are now more accepting of females playing the central character in movies?
You know, I am very surprised when almost everyone talks like that. We are an industry where we had Nutan act in films like Sujata, Bandini and we had Nargis in films like Mother India. I don’t see it as a great shift that people are suddenly accepting these kind of films. We had heroines in the sixties who worked in projects where they were the main lead. Those films were blockbuster. People are now suddenly warming up to the fact that there are movies with woman protagonists that are doing well. I think it has always been happening. It’s just that every particular decade we have a trend of audiences getting attracted to a kind of cinema. It started with Rani Mukerji (2)Mr. Bachchan in the seventies where the angry young man role became popular. In the eighties, we had masala movies doing well. In the nineties we had the NRI movies that became a trend. In the 2000s, we had indie kind of films doing well like Lagaan and Dil Chahta Hai, which probably would not have been known as popular cinema ever before. These kind of films started doing well. That is only because India as country, has a vast population and the youth is changing every year. With the exposure of foreign films that youngsters can watch online and with Hollywood movies that they can watch in India now, they are yearning for similar movies from Indian film-makers. I think, whenever there is good content, the film will be successful regardless of who the protagonist is. 

Are you happy with the way your career has shaped up so far?
I have so many actors who inspire me. I take complete inspiration from someone like Meryl Streep. The kind of films that she is even churning out today, is inspiring. For an actor like me, there are still many interesting projects and films. Not only from India, as I would be more than glad to be a part of films from abroad.  I would not dare to say that I am very happy and satisfied the way my career has shaped. There is a long way to go

A version of this article appeared in Asian Sunday Newspaper 1st March 2015. 

Photos: Rani Mukerji attends British Asian Trust Charity Dinner

Bollywood actress Rani Mukerji attended a charity dinner held by the British Asian Trust earlier today in the English capital. 

The event was also attended by The Prince Of Wales, who is the charity’s president, and The Duchess Of Cornwall along with Nobel Peace Prize winner, Kailash Satyarthi; music and television producer, Simon Cowell and X-Factor Judge, Louis Walsh among many others. 

This year’s event was in support of The British Asian Trust’s work in empowering disadvantaged people in South Asia to transform their lives. This year’s event also marked the launch of a new anti-trafficking fund for India to build on work which the British Asian Trust has already been doing to support vulnerable girls affected by violence and abuse.

Rani Mukerji also addressed the guests at the event and spoke about child trafficking, something the Mardaani actress feels strongly about.  

Speaking to press at the event, Rani said, “Through my film Mardaani, child trafficking became a national focus in my country [India]. These are the little steps towards making an effort.”

 

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