EKAL VIDHYALAYA FOUNDATION, LOS ANGELES CHAPTER
raises over $300,000 in pledges to support about 820 Ekal schools in India
at the Annual Fund Raiser in a nearly sold out event
Sanjeevani Bhelande & Chirag Panchal enthrall the audience
Los Angeles, April 27, 2013
Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation (Los Angeles Chapter) held their annual fund raiser event at Santa Ana High School Auditorium, Santa Ana, CA on Saturday, April 27, 2013, attended by well over 800 guests. Enough funds were raised to support about 820 Ekal schools in the remote tribal villages of India. Each Ekal Vidyalaya school operates on a shoestring budget of $365 per year or Dollar a Day.
After the guests were treated to a sumptuous Dinner early on, the program started promptly at 7PM with an inspirational invocation by Rama and Rucha Kelkar. Later, in a brief welcome address, the Chapter President Mr. Suresh Iyer highlighted that this year was special marking Ekal Vidyalaya’s Silver jubilee celebration coinciding with the 150th birth anniversary celebration of Swami Vivekananda, whose vision and quote “If the Poor child cannot come to education, the education must go to the child” turned into Ekal’s mission in eradicating illiteracy from the remote and tribal villages of India. He indicated that as of March 2013, over 47,000 Ekal schools were in existence providing education to over 1.3 million kids. This was followed by a short video highlighting the progress of Ekal schools in India that also showed Ekal vidyalaya receiving several awards from the likes of SR Jindal foundation and Lala Diwan Chand Trust.
Three youth volunteers, Sumant Iyer, Adrish Anand and Archish Anand were recognized for undertaking the journey to India by themselves to visit several Ekal Vidyalaya schools in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. An exhibit describing their experiences during such school visit was displayed in the lobby and the youth answered many questions about Ekal school visit in the lobby. Ms. Shreya Bansal, a freshman at USC, emceed the entire event.
Zee TV voice talent hunt show Sa Re Ga Ma, Sanjeevani Bhelande and Chirag Panchal, a winner of the mega finals of Zee TV’s popular music show ''Sa Re Ga Ma'' awarded by Usha Mangeshkar kept the audience enthralled with an outstanding presentation of old and new Indian Film songs, engaging the audience at times. Ms Sanjeevani Bhelande is the first ever winner of a talent show in the history of Indian television, to have got a bollywood playback singing break.
During intermission, a short video on the life of Swami Vivekananda was presented, and Dr. Manohar Shinde gave a short talk on the establishment of the Dharma Civilization Foundation for furthering Dharmic studies by establishing chairs at USC, UCI and Claremont Lincoln Universities. Towards the end, Uma Gulani, the Regional President of Ekal Vidyalaya (western region) thanked all who made the event possible. The musical event concluded around 11PM with the rendering of ‘Vande Mataram’, to which the entire audience stood in reverence.
The Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation is tax exempt, registered non-profit service organization dedicated to education and village development in rural India. Ekal's philosophy is to take a holistic approach to social and economic development. The Ekal movement is the largest, grassroots, non-government education movement in India, operating in over 46,966 villages and educating over 1,335,078 children in rural India. The Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of India and America are working earnestly, hand-in-hand, to help raise the funds necessary to build 100,000 non-formal schools across the tribal belt by the year 2015. In 1986, inspired by the efforts of early Vivekananda workers, a group of young educationists began work with the primitive tribes in the dense forests of Jharkhand. Notable amongst them were Late Dr. Rakesh Popli (a USA-returned nuclear scientist) & his wife Rama Popli (a child education expert). They refined the concept of the 'one-teacher school' amongst the tribes of Gumla (125 km away from Ranchi (Jharkhand), Chhatisgarh. Two years later, Shri Madan Lalji Agarwal established similar schools in 60 villages near Dhanbad