Ekal Vidyalaya year-end fundraiser at Royal Delhi Palace restaurant, Canoga Park draws record crowd and pledges
Nauzad and Kainaz enthrall the audience with their superb performance for Ekal’s cause
Thousand Oaks, CA, Dec.14, 2014
The North Los Angeles and Tri-Valley chapter of Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of USA held its annual year-end fundraiser at Royal Delhi Palace, Canoga Park, CA on Sunday, December 14, 2014, attended by a sold out crowd of over 200 guests. The duo of Nauzad Sadry and Kainaz Pandit kept the audience enthralled with an outstanding presentation of old and new bollywood hits, engaging the audience throughout.
The event was coordinated by the North Los Angeles and Tri-Valley Chapter of Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation (USA), a non-profit organization based out of Houston, TX (www.ekal.org), with a mission to eradicate illiteracy from over 100,000 rural and remote tribal villages of India by the year 2015. As of December 2014, Ekal Vidyalaya has setup about 55,000 schools educating over 1.6 million children.
After the guests were treated to light snacks early on, the program started at 6:30 PM with a brief welcome address by the emcee of the evening Maya Halthore who introduced the Chapter President Mr. Suresh Iyer. During his presentation, Mr. Iyer highlighted the mission & objectives of Ekal Vidyalaya and its efforts to provide a holistic education comprising of Primary education, Health awareness education, Development education and Empowerment education in order to make the village economically self-sufficient while keeping the main goal of improving literacy rates. He informed the audience that it took only $365 to support an Ekal school of 30 to 40 children for a whole year, known as ‘Dollar-a-Day’ program.
Mr. Iyer then requested Mr. Narayan Pallavur, an Ekal donor and volunteer, to share his experience from his recent visit to one of the Ekal schools in Coimbatore, India. ‘Seeing is believing’, Mr. Pallavur told the audience indicating that the visit transformed him completely and made him realize the hard work that Ekal was doing in such remote villages that was literally inaccessible. But for this, the children in the village have no hopes of learning, Mr. Pallavur added. He encouraged everyone present to make it a point to visit an Ekal school during their next trip to India.
Mr. Iyer then introduced the chief guest for the evening, Dr. Ushakant Thakkar, a local philanthropist and a renowned nephrologist running one of the largest kidney centers in Southern California. Mr. Thakkar, while sharing his personal experience with the audience indicated that he owed everything he had to the education he received and as such felt passionate in supporting education related non-profit organizations such as Ekal, UNICEF, Dharma Civilization Foundation and Pratham. He motivated the audience to donate generously for Ekal and incentivized them by announcing that he would match every dollar raised. Within minutes, pledges started pouring in and by the end of the evening, Mr. Iyer informed the audience that they were able to raise over $75,000 in pledges including the match by Dr. Thakkar, enough to support over 200 Ekal schools.
The rest of the evening belonged to Nauzad, the renowned Bollywood singer with performances world over, who began the concert with an emotional pitch telling the audience that he was so moved by the noble work of EkalVidyalaya after seeing the presentation that he would personally donate towards two schools which brought on thunderous applause from the audience. This was followed by a 2 hour non-stop performance by the artists of the evening – Nauzad and Kainaz. They kept the audience mesmerized with their superb rendition of old and new Indian Film songs from the musical eras of Raj Kapoor to Ranbir Kapoor. At times, the electrifying performance drew the guests to the dance floor. The artists graciously entertained requests from guests and sang most of the notes to their heart’s delight. The guests were then treated to a sumptuous dinner while the artists continued their exhilarating performance. Mr. Iyer thanked all the sponsors, guests, Ekal Volunteers and youth in making this event a huge success. The musical event went on till the late hours of the night and concluded around 10 PM. The fact that most of the guests stayed on till the end in spite of this being an event on a Sunday evening, reflected the true success of the event and the charisma of the artists.
About Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation:
Ekal Vidyalaya operates one teacher schools in rural and tribal villages of India and neighboring countries. The goal of the organization is to eradicate illiteracy from these villages, where current literacy rates are in single digits. The movement has seen significant improvement in literacy rates and overall village development after the establishment of such schools, as ascertained by studies by reputed research organizations.