Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation North LA & Tri-valley Chapter Annual Fund Raising Gala
Dhwani’s electrifying performance rocks the audience at Ekal’s Fundraiser in Calabasas.
NRIpress.club/SI/Ramesh – May 17, 2016
Thanks to an outstanding evening of friends, food and Bollywood music, the North LA & Tri-valley chapter of Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation raised over $75K enough to support an additional 200 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 and dinner under a beautiful Southern California sky. The Performing Arts Center at Calabasas high school was decorated impeccably by Ekal volunteers with Rangoli (Indian floral designs made with rice flour), and the auditorium entryway highlighted many Ekal success stories.
The program started with a beautiful Sanskrit invocation to the goddess of knowledge. A short video about Ekal Vidyalaya mission and achievements gave the audience an insight into how Ekal works. Ekal’s chapter president Mr. Narayan Pallavur highlighted the need for social empowerment and Ekal’s long term vision. Mr. Suresh Iyer, board advisor, presented the annual progress report for 2015 and the road map for 2016. Iyer’s statement “as of March 2016, Ekal had over 53,000 schools educating over 1.6 million children”, was met with thunderous applause. He also highlighted “Ekal on Wheels” a unique project launched in 2015 with mobile computer labs to train village youth on computer literacy. This effort, a part of Digital India, brings to life Swami Vivekananda’s words “If the poor child cannot go to Education, then the Education must go to the child”. The two emcee’s for the evening youth volunteers Amulya Madhav and Rithika Iyer shared their firsthand experience of visiting an Ekal school in India and their motivations to volunteer for Ekal. They encouraged others to visit the schools and to do their part.
The rest of the evening belonged to Dhwani. Their show, ‘Then & Now’, was performed by the very talented and versatile artists – Navin, Sriram and Sarita and their equally notable ensemble who captivated the audience with a superb display of their individual and collective talents. The group enamored the crowd with its synchronized visuals from late era and modern movie sequences and the seamless transitions. Navin, the lead singer often entered into light and humorous conversations with the audience, always making sure Ekal’s cause was in the forefront. Many a times, the group challenged the audience to dance to their beats and as the evening progressed, more than half of the audience were on the stage dancing with the artists to the tunes of their favorite Bollywood songs. It almost appeared that the event would go on forever. Dhwani’s enchanting Bollywood sequences coupled with fast paced dance steps tugged at the heartstrings and purse strings of the listeners. The audience donated generously to Ekal’s noble cause.
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.
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.