Philanthropist Anita Choudhrie’s charity Path to Success is on a mission to support GB para athletes on their path to Paris 2024 and beyond
Words: Jonathan Whiley
Even when Anita Choudhrie – matriarch of one of India’s most eminent and wealthy UK-based families – was 10 years old, there were signs of her philanthropic endeavours to come.
“As a little girl, I used to bring homeless dogs home and look after them,” says Anita.
“My mother used to be so upset and she would tell me to keep them outside, but I would put them on a terrace or in the garden area and look after them.”
Memories of her early years in India depict a life of simplicity; no television meant that books, family and friends were her priority. Anita’s grandfather was a doctor and something of an inspiration, helping poorer people in the area by providing free medical treatment.
“There were always queues,” says Anita, whose father served in the British army. “He was doing so well and could afford to help them.”
Anita isn’t doing too bad either, with the family presiding over a global business empire that spans hotels, healthcare and aviation.
Most of her energy is channelled into philanthropy, having established Path to Success in 2005, a charity focused on helping disabled women in sport.
“We were [conceived as] an umbrella charity and we supported other charities,” Anita says. “Anything to do with disabilities, education, homelessness, but the big thing was children with mental disabilities.” They launched their own appeal, donating wheelchairs to 60 NHS hospitals in 2012. “A couple of young patients were in hospital, immigrants from needy homes, and they didn’t have the funds to leave hospital because they needed a particular kind of specialised wheelchair,” she says. “It was so wonderful to see this immigrant boy from South America leave the hospital and go home.
He had been an extra six months in hospital because he didn’t have a wheelchair to leave with.”
And now, after two years of not being able to raise funds, the charity will be hosting its annual fundraising gala on November 16 at the Landmark Hotel.
The charity’s current campaign is focused on supporting female para athletes on their path to the Paris Paralympics in 2024 and beyond. While the charity’s work is certainly helping – funding for wheelchair basketball club London Titans has proved fruitful – Anita says there is more work to be done.
“There has to be more support for sports, especially for disability sport,” she says. “CSR should be incorporated into companies – they should all have a percentage of their profits that go into CSR.”
As for Mayfair, Anita is a big fan: “I love this area because it’s not modern like other parts of London. It’s quaint and I love that feeling of it being real England.”