Gandhi Peace Prize conferred on Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation

India Post News Service

NEW DELHI: Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation (EVF), a leading global organization dedicated to integrated village development in rural India has been conferred the prestigious Gandhi Peace Prize by the government of India.

At a ceremony here on February 26, Ekal Abhiyan Trust, Ekal’s umbrella organization, was bestowed the award for the year 2017 for its contributions in providing education to rural and tribal children and for providing empowerment with gender and social equality in remote parts of India. The jury comprised Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, Leader of the single largest opposition party in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and BJP leader L. K. Advani

The ceremony took place at Rashtrapati Bhavan and was graced by the President of India Ram NathKovind as well as Hon Prime Minister Modi.

On behalf of Ekal, the award from the President was received by M.L. Jain, a senior trustee. The award carries a grant of Rs 1 crore, a citation and a plaque. This prize was instituted in 1995 on the 125th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi to highlight his concept of ‘Gram Swaraj Model’.In his laudatory message to Ekal, Modi commended its efforts to give educational opportunity to children in tribal areas and empowering rural womenfolk.

Standees From Left 4th. Renu Gupta 5th. Dr Sudha Parikh

EVF has been supporting 82,000 Ekal schools across rural and tribal pockets of India and grooming almost 2.2 million children, more than half of whom are girls. Ekal is empowering village folk, not only through adult education classes related to healthcare and environmental issues, but also by preparing them for cottage industries with skill developmen.

At this year’s Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, the Indian diaspora conclave held in Varanasi, Ekal Founder in Australia, Nihal Singh Agar, was honored with the Pravasi Bharatiya Sanman award by President Kovind. Nihal Singh has also been a recipient of the prestigious Order of Australia Award in 2015. During the PravasiBharatiya Divas, Ekal’s Renu Gupta, who had been a Board Member and Chairperson of Ekal-USA and Sudha Parikh, who had been an ardent supporter of Ekal Foundation, received “She The Change – Nari Udyami Award” for their exemplary service to the community. The honor was given by Beti Shiksha Foundation at an event presided over by the Governor of Uttarakhand.

On March 1, EVF founding member Ma. Shaymji Gupta was felicitated by Kurukshetra University with the Goyal Peace Prize for spreading education in remote areas (of India). It must also be noted that Ekal serves people without any credence to caste, creed, religion and regions and has presence even in conflict-ridden areas.

In the past, Ekal has been conferred with several distinguished awards for its transparency of administration and innovativeness in its operation. One outstanding among them is the Hewlett Packard& India Today’ “Trailblazer Award” for its digital initiative in villages. Ekal’s progress and its innovative model have astonished not only communities and donors alike, but also entrepreneurs and social powers-that-be.

Last year, Prime Minister Modi gave a goal to “Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation” to establish 100,000 schools by the year 2022.

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