On Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020, the non-profit Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation (EVF) hosted a gala called ‘Future of India’ during which a record-setting $6.5 million in pledges and donations was raised special projects.
Celebrities, at the gala, that lent their support were former iconic cricketer Kapil Dev, Bollywood star Vivek Oberoi; Minister of Railways, India Piyush Goyal; leading entrepreneur Ajay Piramal, chairman of Piramal Group; Bollywood singer Sanjeevani Bhelande and several other entrepreneurs.
Chairman and CEO of EC Info Systems, Mohan Wanchoo chaired Future of India. The primary objective of the evening, besides raising funds, was to acknowledge the consistent support of loyal philanthropists, according to a press release from Ekal.
Earlier in the year, after successfully controlling ‘Covid-19 pandemic in 102,000 rural & tribal villages of India, EVF had raised funds through 10 regional mid-year virtual concerts for its conventional activities even in the current covid-19 pandemic, the press release said.
There was overwhelming support for the foundation’s initiatives like Integrated Village Development (IVD), E-Shiksha, Tailoring Center, Telemedicine, Arogya Initiative, Ekal-on-wheels, Gramotthan Research Center (GRC), and Computer Center as attendees pledged donations to them.
“This is an exciting-giddying moment for all of us, … This success is going to benefit millions of rural-tribal folks across India,” the EVF National Committee Public Relations Chairperson Prakash Waghmare is quoted saying in the press release.
Kamlesh Shah, co-chair of the gala started the pledge-drive by contributing $580,000 and appealed to donors to raise the bar of Gala-2020.
Actor Vivek Oberoi who also happens to be an Ekal ambassador said, “The donation to Ekal wasn’t a subsidy for the needy, but a divine investment in India’s future.”
A new initiative, called ‘GRANE’ (Gramotthan Atma-Nirbharata for Ekal) to help farmers, was introduced at the gala. It is aimed at bringing E-commerce activities to the villages.
Global business tycoon, Ajay Piramal was quoted saying, “Ekal’s emphasis on dispensing quality education and primary healthcare in rural area is a game changer. No one understands rural-tribal mindset better than Ekal with its wide spread presence in villages nor anyone has a committed pool of huge selfless volunteers.”
The primary goals for the foundation, in the next five years includes expanding the ‘Ekal On Wheels’ vans project from the current 25 to 85; ‘Integrated Village Clusters’ (30 villages each) from current 12 to 51; ‘Skill Development Centers’ from current 33 to 100; ‘Gramotthan Resource Centers’ (GRC) from current 16 to 27; ‘Telemedicine’ from current 120 villages to 6,000 villages, and ‘Intensive Health Care’ from current 1,200 villages to 6,000 villages, the press release said.
Ekal also hopes to push its ‘E-Shiksha’ or digital education initiative from current 1,200 villages to 100,000 villages.