Education Program Turns "Untouchables" Into Shining Success Stories; First Major Benefit In NYC, May 9 At 7:00pm

Apr 22, 2013, 10:07 ET from Shanti Bhavan

NEW YORK, April 22, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --Shanti Bhavan's 15th Anniversary Celebration will be held on Thursday, May 9, 2013 at 7:00 pm at The Bowery Hotel in New York City. The evening will benefit Shanti Bhavan, a major education program in rural India exclusively for children born into the country's lowest social and economic class - the Dalit caste, formerly known as the "untouchables."

Star of Emmy-winning show Top Chef, Padma Lakshmi, and renowned interior designer Nate Berkus will as serve as honorary hosts for the event. New York Times columnist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Thomas Friedman will serve as an honorary committee member. Live music will be presented by acclaimed music director Mary Mitchell Campbell. Plus, Academy Award-winning filmmaker Vanessa Roth will give guests a sneak peek into her upcoming documentary, "Untouchables."

The occasion marks the nonprofit's 15th anniversary and the year the program's first class will graduate from some of the best universities in India and move on to work in renowned global institutions. Shanti Bhavan's soon-to-be college graduates have received job offers from companies such as Goldman Sachs, Ernst & Young, Mercedes Benz, iGate Corporation, Mahindra & Mahindra and Biocon Limited. These are children who previously lived in huts with coconut-leaf roofs and had no access to running water and basic sanitation.

Shanti Bhavan invites philanthropists, global business executives, social entrepreneurs and new supporters to join the May 9 event to celebrate its students' achievements and learn more about the educational model. To attend, purchase an individual ticket or become a sponsor for one of the Shanti Bhavan children by April 25. Tickets and sponsorships can be purchased online at To learn more about Shanti Bhavan please visit and

Guests who purchase individual tickets or become sponsors before April 25 are entered to win two round-trip tickets to India, courtesy of Jet Airways (restrictions apply). Shanti Bhavan's 15th Anniversary Celebration is proudly supported by the U.S. India Business Council. Event sponsors include Verizon Foundation with a $25,000 grant.


Shanti Bhavan is a major education program in rural Tamil Nadu, India, exclusively for children born into the country's lowest social and economic class - the Dalit caste, formerly known as the "untouchables." The project provides these children with free, high-quality education at its residential school and then sends them to top-tier colleges, continuing to provide them with complete financial support, personal counseling and general care throughout. This is 17 years of intense intervention - from age 4 to 21.

Our idea is that by giving top-level, long-term education and guidance these children will go on to pursue high-paying jobs and leadership opportunities in India and work to uplift their families and communities. 

Our mission is to mitigate and eventually end the extreme social discrimination and poverty that this segment of the population has been trapped in for generations.

Our success is unprecedented. All 12th grade graduates have received high-ranking scores on the India School Certificate exams (similar to the SATs) and all have been accepted into top-tier universities across India.

Shanti Bhavan is the only school of its type and represents a radical change from the conventional short-term basic literacy model.

Now, Shanti Bhavan is ready to incite true growth.

We aim to expand our program in India and other developing countries.

SOURCE Shanti Bhavan