His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, Royal Founding Patron of the British Asian Trust, accompanied by Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall, attended the British Asian Trust’s Annual Reception and Dinner at the British Museum to celebrate the organisation’s many accomplishments over the past year and help raise funds to support COVID-19 recovery across South Asia.
Notable guests included The Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer, The Rt Hon Priti Patel, Home Secretary, Adar and Natasha Poonawalla, heads of the Serum Institute of India and long-term supporters of the Trust; Pakistani business magnate Mian Mohammad Mansha, Chairman of Nishat Group and newly appointed Chair of the British Asian Trust’s Advisory Council for Pakistan.
During his address, HRH The Prince of Wales His Royal Highness said: “I cannot quite believe it is almost two years to the day that my wife and myself were able to be with all of you to celebrate the work of the British Asian Trust. Since then, across the globe, there has been terrible loss of life from COVID-19 and we have especially seen the devastating impact throughout South Asia. In these most challenging times, the British Asian Trust has run four significant fundraising appeals which have so far raised almost £20m. A truly remarkable achievement in such a difficult environment.”
The British Asian Trust was founded in 2007 by HRH The Prince of Wales and British Asian business leaders to tackle widespread poverty, inequality and injustice in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
During the evening, BT announced the renewal of their support for the Trust with a commitment of £3m to support 200,000 adolescent girls in India.
Manoj Badale, Chair of the British Asian Trust, said: “The funds raised will help us continue to deliver large scale outcome-focused programmes in the fields of education, livelihoods, mental health, anti-trafficking and conservation in South Asia post-COVID-19.”
Over the last year, the British Asian Trust raised over £10 million for its post-COVID recovery efforts, including £5 million for its Oxygen for India Appeal to support the country during its devastating second wave. It secured £2 million of matched funding from the UK government for the Trust’s Women’s Economic Empowerment programme, which will enable nearly 10,000 Pakistani women to find a job or start a business in a post-COVID world.
The British Asian Trust also launched the $14.4million Skill Impact Bond to bolster employment levels post COVID-19 by upskilling 50,000 Indian youth, with women making up 60% (30,000) of the beneficiaries. Other initiatives include the “Palaces on Wheels” charity cycle ride, which saw HRH The Prince of Wales ride a bicycle to see-off British Asian cyclists on a gruelling 400 km challenge.
The event was hosted by British Asian Trust Ambassadors, Nihal Arthanayake, BBC broadcaster, and Reshmin Chowdhury, Sports Presenter for BT Sport and the BBC. Other celebrity Ambassadors and friends who attended to celebrate the organisation’s work included producer and director Gurinder Chadha, actor Nitin Ganatra, former Liverpool and Wales footballer Ian Rush, and music producer Naughty Boy.
The event was supported by OakNorth Bank and Soneva, a family of world-class resorts in the Maldives and Thailand.