Ekal’s mission is unique
Sri Sumnath Iyer is a young school boy from Los Angeles of USA. He visited Tamilnadu last month to be with Ekal for 7 days to understand what is Ekal, how Ekal works and what is its impact. He visited the villages near Coimbatore and Nilgiris. He had extensive interaction with the Acharyas, Students and Full Time Workers of Ekal. He has documented his observations.)
This was my long journey from my hometown of Los Angeles to an Ekal school in Gudalur, India. Often shrouded in forest, these are places where cell signal is a faint dream, and where the ever-reliable GPS is often incapacitated. Children walk several kilometers from their homes to these schools, with the prospect of changing their lives.
One of the things that make Ekal so incredible is the use of existing resources to efficiently run the schools. With minimal administrative, infrastructure and funds they try to deliver education to many more children. For example, rather than using a new schoolhouse, Ekal instead utilizes an existing building to serve as a school. Many schools, in fact are conducted outdoors, and one that I visited was even situated in the back of a temple. By giving some responsibility to the villagers, not only is some effort relieved from the organization, but also the villagers become empowered and involved. In many cases, after 5 years, enough responsibility is assumed by the village that the school is rendered self-sufficient, meaning Ekal funds are no longer required to keep the school running.
Another very admirable aspect of Ekal is its desire to ensure the welfare of the villagers in addition to education. One serious problem prevalent in villages throughout India is anemia, which is a condition that is caused by Iron deficiencies. The effects of anemia, especially in women range from fatigue and sluggishness to severe disability and even family disputes, due to inability to perform daily tasks. Those villagers who have been identified as anemic by Ekal volunteers are given non-invasive (Ayurvedic) treatments and diet recommendations. After one month, the hemoglobin levels and general health of villagers is improved greatly. Ekal truly cares about the welfare of the villagers and takes all the measures to ensure they live healthy and lead productive lives.
Ekal’s mission is unique because it starts with one school and then uses this school as an agent of change to transform the village. I highly recommend visiting one of these Ekal schools because seeing is truly believing. I was overwhelmed by the kindness and hospitality shown by the family that hosted me, Ekal volunteers, teachers, and children. The incredible thing is that it only requires a very small catalyst to change a village into a more productive unit. This is the vision that Ekal strives to bring to reality.
Empowerment of Women through Friends of Tribals Society
During our Vanayathra visit, we had an interaction with our tribal brethren. The members of the Mahila Samithy, FTS sensed a need for the formation of Self Help Groups (SHG’s) for their empowerment . Since one of the objectives of our FTS is to improve the socio-economic condition of the tribal society we decided to promote formation of SHG’s.
With the support of Bharat Petroleum Corporate Limited, BPCL, Kochi Division (a Public Sector enterprise) consenting to sponsor the training program, we the members of the Mahila Samithy with the co-operation of the committee members of FTS conducted the program on the 7th and 8th of June 2014. We would like to acknowledge here the special support and guidance rendered to us by the FTS President, Shri S.S. Agarwal and the Joint Secretary Shri. P.K. Krishnamurthy apart from the new committee members, Shri. P.K. Venkita Raman and Shri. M. Ramachandran, in the smooth conduct of the program. Our Special thanks to the Office Bearers of the North Indian Association who had provided the accommodation free of cost and the venue to conduct the two days training program.
There were 46 participants, comprising of males and females of different age groups. They were trained on Mushroom Cultivation by Smt Anitha, Vegetable and Fruit Promotion Council and in making dry flowers bouquet of different shapes and sizes with bio-degradable papers and environment friendly materials by Smt. Sudhakshina and Dr. Namitha.
Smt. Sathyashree Priya. E., Chairperson, Mahila Samithy (FTS) Kochi
It's a promise to Bharatmata
Kum. Jyosthsna Krishna is back to India after completing her masters in CANADA. She participated in the 5 days residential training program on Home Remedies conducted by Arogya Foundation of India (affiliated to Ekal Abhiyan).
It has been a wonderful experience having been here. When we hear the news every day, we feel sad that we live in this country, but now I can say with pride that I am very very proud to be an Indian. The whole experience has been such a big eye opener in so many different aspects.
A day only has 24 hours but through this time table the people here have proved how much is possible in just 24 hours. One other important lesson I learnt is maintaining the time table during the day doesn’t make it boring and monotonous, but it just makes the day more organized.
Life has been wonderful these past few days and I didn’t know there were so many things I didn’t know. I need to broaden my eyesight hence forth to get small and wonderful pieces of information and knowledge from the most unexpected people.
It is a promise to Bharatmata, that I shall try my level best and promote this all round education of Ekal people as far as possible.
Kum. Jyosthsna Krishna
GIFTS by Indore – Mahila Samithi
On the occasion of Makkar sankranthi FTS indore ladies wing collected Rs 1,65,000/-
All full time workers, mothers and wives of teachers from Khargon,Bedwani and Burhanpur Anchal were gifted with Sarees.
This program was graced by the presence of Smt. Geeta Munda, Smt Vineeta Jaju and Smt Manjula Muchal.
There was five days MEDICAL CAMP from 24 june to 28 june conducted by FTS –GWAHATI with the help of “Seva Bharathi” covering 30 tribal villages. Thanks to Smt Rani Boumik, Sri Vivek dalal, Sri Depak dalal, Sri Manish boumik, Sri Arun kumar bajaj, Sri pawan kumar agrawal and Sri Subash agrawal for supporting this program. Three thousand patients were given free treatment and medicines every day.
The medical team consisted of : Dr Vishvamber singh, Dr Naren Palivada, Dr Pankaj singh, Dr yogendra thakur, Dr Sebi tripati and Dr Pragya.
Impact of Ekal with these girls
This is Shruti Mohan. Shruti is 14 years old and is currently studying in 9th standard. Shruti has been studying at the Ekal school in her village, Kattimattam, since its opening a few months ago in April. After attending an Ekal school for the past two months, Shruti has noticed that she has become more conscious of her health and is also more aware of her culture. In addition to what traditional schools provide, Ekal gives her a holistic education which encompasses lessons on personal health, and culture. Shruti enjoys learning about the sciences.
Pictured is Srinisha Srithar. Srinisha is currently 12 years old and is studying 7th standard. Srinisha has been studying at her local Ekal school since its opening in April. Although Srinisha already attends a government school, she finds that since attending Ekal, she has become more curious about her culture and has noticed a significant improvement in her health after being identified with anemia in June. She and Shruti are the two oldest girls in the school and often play an older sister role to many of the younger children. They also actively help the teacher, Kesiniroja, with many tasks.
This young girl is VivekaMohanraj. She just turned 13 and is studying in 8th standard. She attends an Ekal school in a village called Palayan which is near to the city Boluvampatti. She greatly enjoys attending school citing that she loves learning about her culture. She loves to play with her friends when not in school. She was recently assessed and was confirmed as very anemic. She says that she is looking forward to a more productive life.
Serve as a Family
It was sunny morning of 20th June 2014 when I along with family of Sri Harmohanji from US (consisting of his wife Jayshriji, son Vivek and daughter Nikita) set out for Vanyatra to villages, Amarkavaas and Seradhna Dhani near Alwar in the state of Rajasthan.
They were taken to the Vidyalaya in procession with the beating of drums and folk dance on reaching the school. After Sarsvati Vandana 'He Hamsavahini...’ children showed their skill of solving sums of addition, subtraction and multiplications, then family had an interaction with the children and distributed sweets & biscuits to them.
The family exchanged views with village elders. Acharya Shaloo had arranged a simple but very delicious lunch prepared with desi wheat and natural flavored cow pure ghee. On our way to Vidyalaya, we stayed at Siliserh, a beautiful lake. We spent half an hour to enjoy the beauty of the lake.
Next we reached village Seradhna Dhani at a distance of 5 kilometers. Village elders greeted Sri Suri family members by offering Patka (a typical Rajasthani multicolored turban) and marigold garlands. Children recited poems in local language. When asked what they would like to be in life, they expressed their desire to join military, police, some wanted to join air force and girl students expressed their desire to become school teachers and nurses. They recited tables fluently even of 13 and 16. Vivek became friendly with the children and villagers. He even tried his hands on fodder cutting machine. Vivek & Nikita distributed biscuits and toffies to the children.
The villagers young & elders gave us a warm send off and requested us to visit again.
Vijay Sethi, Vanyatra Co-ordinator, Vice-President, FTS Delhi
Ekal Updates - Ekal Vidyalaya
Current: Number of Ekal Schools: 54,463 Number of Children: 15,05,841
Sri Lallan Kumar Sharma – One of the Unsung Hero of Ekal Abhiyan
Lallan Kumar - Kendriya Gramothan Yojana Pramukh & Kendriya Sah Abhiyan Pramukh of EKAL ABHIYAN has done his master degree in Silviculture (Forestry) from Birsa Agricultural University, Kanke, Ranchi with distinction., his research papers and others articles were published in national and international magazines.
After successfully passing out from Agriculture Scientists Recruitment Board (ASRB) as Asst. Professor-cum-Junior Scientist, he preferred to work in Vikas Bharati – Bishunpur instead of working in government offices which came his way.
Between the year 1993 and 2000 he did a lot of development work in Bishunpur – Jharkhand, leading so many campaigns regarding ‘Environmental Protection & Awareness Program.’ He did tree plantation in thousands of hectares of land by developing Nurseries in Villages. In this period Vikas Bharati got Indra Priyadarshini Vriksha Mitra Award from President of India.
From the year 2000 till now he has been very active in Ekal Vidyalaya Abhiyan programs.
In one way you can call him the pioneer of Gandhiji’s dream of Village Swarajya (Gram Swarajya), by campaigning Self Respect Awakening (Swabhiman Jagaran Abhiyan) and against Malnutrition problems, by creating Nutritional Garden Campaign. Nutritional Garden is his own initiative in which whole Nutritional Cycle (Poshan Chakra) – Bio-Geo-Chemical Cycle (Jal-Jamin-Jangal-Janwar & Jan) is maintained. It is the only and permanent solution to protect the Shrishti Chakra. By establishing one Nutritional Garden one can serve simultaneously – The Go Mata, The Ganga Mata & The Dharti Mata.
Presently he is the central guide (Margadarshak) for Self Respect Campaign (Swabhiman Jagaran Abhiyan) and Village Swarajya (Gram Swarajaya) and Central Incharge of Gramothan Yojana.
Working on -
• RTI applications from villages (29,441 RTI applications have been processed).
• Protection of Nature & Natural Resources
• Save The River Movement
• Tree plantation (about 56 lakh plantations have been done)
• Rural Upliftment Centers (Gramothan Resource Centre – GRC : 10 centers already opened)
• Nutritional garden (5,463 Nutritional Gardens established)
Service, Development and Agitation (Seva, Vikas & Andolan) are of three different functions but all these three are implemented together by him. He is motivated by Gandhiji’s amulet – Do all your work with the only thought that the work you are doing is benefiting some poor, helpless, destitute, ill or daft.
Book Published by him:
• Chhotanagapur Ke Vanaushadhi Evam Lokopchar
• Jaivik Khad (Vermi Compost)
• Gram Swarajya
• Nutritional Garden
• Founder Editor of Monthly Magazine ‘Jungal Gatha’ published by Research & Study Centre Vikas Bharti Bishunpur.