Ekal Vidyalaya holds New York fundraiser for education projects in India

Mohan Wanchoo, Ekal Long Island & NYC Chapter President speaking at the May 7, 2023, fundraiser held at Antun’s, Long Island, NY. PHOTO: Ashok Vyas, courtesy Ekal

Indian American community members came together to support the non-profit organization, Ekal Vidyalaya, at a fundraiser held  in Antun’s, Long Island, Sunday, May 7, 2023.

A section of the audience attending the Ekal Vidyalaya fundraiser May 7, 2023, in Long Island. PHOTO: Ashok Vyas, courtesy Ekal

The organization aims to empower rural and tribal communities in India based on the concept of social, economic & gender equality, a press release from Ekal said.

TV presenter and singer Gita Setia hosted the evening starting it by singing the American and Indian national anthems. Guests were greeted by Dr. Rajendra Modi, Neelam Modi, Radhika Kapoor and Monolita Mitra at the welcome desk.

Satish Malik, Founder of Perfection of Man Foundation with his associates. PHOTO: Ashok Vyas, courtesy Ekal

Ekal Vidyalaya Long Island & New York City Chapter President Mohan Wanchoo, shared the achievements of the organization and used images and videos to inform attendees about the projects undertaken by Ekal. Wanchoo told Desi Talk that approximately $50,000 was raised at the event, but the final tally was still being calculated.

At the event, Wanchoo noted how Ekal is bringing literacy, healthcare and economic prosperity to more than 80,00 villages in India, each one with a school, and a total student population of nearly 2.3 million. The organization said it has touched the lives of 100 million people living in remote villages that lack viable access to education, health services and economic opportunities.

“The spirit of Ekal is selfless service, the passion to serve is contagious,” the organization said.

Ekal’s model relies on a single teacher providing education in reading, writing, arithmetic and values, carried out in the open under a tree or at a make shift facility. The organization aims to realize and serve the spirit of Swami Vivekananda, who said, ‘If a child cannot come to school, the school must go to the child.”

The model proves to be very cost-effective, organizers note, as overhead expenses of running a brick-and-mortar school are not there.

While individual donors were impressed by the concept of $1/ day for a school, some foundations also came forward to strengthen Ekal, the press release said.

Mukund Padmanabhan, founder and chairman of Guru Krupa Foundation, speaking at the May 7, 2023, fundraiser hosted by Ekal Vidyalaya in Long Island. PHOTO: Ashok Vyas, courtesy Ekal

Mukund Padmanabhan, founder and chairman of Guru Krupa Foundation appreciated the work of Ekal Vidyalaya.  His foundation has sponsored 500 schools in remote Ekal villages, provided tablets for e-shiksha program, computer education through the “Ekal on Wheels” program, and provided COVID relief during the pandemic. Most recently, it is providing support for the Integrated Village Development (IVD) project in Amrabad, Telengana.

Lynnette Iglesias, managing director of ‘Perfection of Man Foundation’ addressed the gathering, praising Ekal’s innovative approach and openness to new ideas.

Perfection of Man Foundation was founded by Satish Mallick, a long-time supporter of Ekal, sponsoring many schools in remote Ekal villages.  It has supported 3 Tailoring Centers, and is providing support for the Integrated Village Development (IVD) project.

“Mallick’s love for our mother earth is so pure that he is supporting the plantation of 1 Million fruit trees in remote and tribal villages of India.  He believes strongly that fruits provide the best nourishment for our children and that all children should have a healthy and memorable childhood,” Ekal noted in its press release

“The evening was filled with positive energy and donors came forward with checks for the noble cause,” Ekal said.

Singer Vishwanath Bhatunge of Sa Re Ga Ma-fame, performing at the May 7, 2023, fundraiser hosted by Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation in Long Island, NY. PHOTO: Ashok Vyas, courtesy Ekal

Entertainment included popular Hindi filmi songs performed by a group of talented artists who came from India.  Sa re ga ma- fame singers Viswanath Batunge and Nayana Sharma were joined by musicians Divyanshu and Jay Kumar.

Today, more than 400,000 Ekal volunteers work with the non-profit, and every dollar donated is matched with $8 of volunteer time, the press release said. Some of the other community leaders who supported Ekal included Chandra Bhansali, Kanak Golia, Kamlesh Mehta, Neil Jain, Mohinder Sardana, Dr Yashpal Arya, Dr. Rajendra Modi, Bina Sabapathy, Mukesh Modi and Ashok Vyas.



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