Ekal Foundation raising record $5 million for 2014

Ekal School-webWhen Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his maiden speech in Indian Parliament talked about ‘issue-centric focused activities like Education to eradicate poverty’, it was as if he was referring to “Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation” (‘EVF’) mission. For past 25 years, “Ekal-USA” has been dispensing literacy, health care, and integral development in rural and tribal areas of India uplifting countless neglected isolated masses. “Ekal” recently concluded its annual fund-raising campaign through a series of concerts, all across USA.

‘Ekal’ hosted 69 concerts through its satellite chapters, where its pool of over one thousand dedicated volunteers ensured their grand success. Last year, Ekal had raised over $4.50 million, most of it through concerts. This year according to ‘EVF’ President Vinod Jhunjhunwala, it is on its way to raise at least $5 Million. “Ekal” is the largest grass-root NGO movement of its kind undertaken by Indians and NRIs, globally.

This year ‘Ekal’ had invited two groups of artistes to headline its events. One group of artistes was headed by renowned Kathak dancer Aditi Bhagwat and another was headed by Gujarat’s Nightingale “Vibhavari Yadav”. Both the artistes pulled record crowds this year wherever they performed. Aditi Bhagwat’s concert theme “Avartan” proved to be a mesmerizing composition of ‘Taal, Saaz Aur Awaaz through Kathak fusion Dances & Bollywood melodies’. It was a uniquely produced audio-video music spectacle of five different disciplines such as dance, tabla, vocal, drums & Sarangi.

Vibhavari Yadav’s concerts were devoted to old nostalgic Bollywood melodies which have eternally captivated our hearts. Each concert was coupled with a power-point & DVD presentations on Ekal’s activities, its ecliptic progress, and various innovative projects that empower the village masses.

In the ‘Ekal’ movement, its youth-wing has always played a key role. Students and young adults around the country are gravitating towards the Ekal cause and coming up with creative fundraising and awareness events. Adeet Phanse, Ashwin Sethi and their friends in NJ raised funds for Ekal by entertaining the Senior Citizens in Nursing Homes and at Indian festivities. Sai Khisty at Rutgers University in NJ and Somil Sanghvi a high-schooler in MA organized basketball tournaments to benefit ‘Ekal’.

Sahana Srinivasan, a 11th grader at Lexington High School, Lexington, MA organized a fun-night called ‘Rangeela’, not only, to create awareness about ‘Ekal’, but also, to raise thousands of dollars for it.

On March 8, Nishka Ayyar in Campbell, CA made Ekal the center-piece of her ‘Arangetaram’ gifts. Three young men, Kunal, Vimal, and Amit who founded ‘Weekend Casual’ in CA, an outlet for men’s fashion, have resolved to donate a part of their earnings to ‘Ekal’ and are also promoting Ekal-cause through their company’s website.

In such individual efforts, Stephen Hinlick has proved to be the trail-blazer. A young entrepreneur from Tampa Bay area, Stephen has embarked on a solo walkathon from Tampa, FL to Seattle, WA to meet 100,000 people along the way to raise $100,000 for ‘Ekal’. This ‘Walk- Across-USA’ episode by a person who knew nothing about the country and the culture he desperately wanted to help reflects how Ekal has caught people’s imagination to eradicate illiteracy from the face of our developing nation. For details about ‘Ekal’, one can visit its web www.ekal.org.

Prakash Waghmare is “Ekal” PR-Media Affairs National Committee Member

Prakash Waghmare

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