Ekal Tribal Artist’s heart rendering performance melts the audience at Ekal’s Fundraiser in Agoura Hills, CA
Rraised over $90,000 enough to support an additional 250 Ekal schools.
Agoura Hills, California, April 22, 2017
Thanks to an outstanding evening of friends, food and music, the North LA & Tri-valley chapter of Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation raised over $90,000 enough to support an additional 250 Ekal schools. Ekal, India’s largest NGO, has the mission to eradicate illiteracy from the rural and remote tribal villages of India & Nepal. Ekal works through its unique “dollar a day” scheme; $365 provides a whole year of free education for 30-35 children at an Ekal school.
The evening event, attended by over 300 guests, began with an outdoor social hour with freshly prepared dinner under a beautiful Southern California sky. The Performing Arts Center at Agoura high school was artfully decorated by Ekal volunteers with floral designs and the auditorium entryway highlighted different focus areas of Ekal’s mission such as education, health, vocational training and Village development projects.
The event this year was very unique in that Ekal brought its own Ekal Students/Alumni as performing artists from the tribal villages to major cities of US as a ‘Thank You’ tour to their donors. A group of 10 student artists, on their maiden flight out of their tribal villages to USA, have been performing in over 40 major metro cities across US. The event at Agoura Hills, marked their 25th event during this tour.
The program started with a beautiful rendition of Sanskrit invocation to the goddess of knowledge. A short video about Ekal Vidyalaya’s and its achievements gave the audience an insight into the accomplishments of Ekal in its mission to eradicate illiteracy from the rural and tribal villages of India and Nepal. Following up on the video, Ekal’s chapter president Meena Kadaba, highlighted the need for social empowerment and Ekal’s long term vision. Suresh Iyer, Board Advisor, presented the annual progress report for 2016 and the road map for 2017. His disclosure that “as of February 2017, Ekal had over 55,000 schools educating over 1.6 million children”, received thunderous applause from the audience. He also highlighted that “Ekal on Wheels” project providing mobile computer labs, had trained over 2500 youth with basic computer skills with which many have been provided gainful employment as part of Government of India’s digital literacy initiative. The two emcee’s for the evening, youth volunteers Ritika Iyer and Rushil Rajganesh, managed the event flow seamlessly. Ritika shared her firsthand experience of visiting an Ekal school in India and encouraged others to visit Ekal schools during their visit to India.
The rest of the evening belonged to Ekal artists. Their show, ‘Ekal Sur Aur Ekal Taal’, divided into four segments – Devotional, Patriotic, Folk dance and Bollywood medley with synchronized visuals, enamored the crowd. The folk dance segment, in particular, was well liked by the audience where dance specific to different regions of India, with its vivid costumes and music kept the audience spell bound. The versatility of the artists in transitioning across these multiple segments struck a chord with the audience and they opened up their heart and purse strings during the fundraiser event with generous pledge to support 250 additional schools.
The grand finale was a short skit on the famous Ramayana, choreographed as a dance/drama with stunning visuals. The audience were so moved by the performance that they rewarded the artists with a long standing ovation.
A note of thanks delivered by Mr. Iyer concluded the evening who expressed his deep appreciation for the artists, sponsors, donors, and army of volunteers who helped put together the successful event.