New Delhi, 2nd Nov 2009: The 12,879 volunteers of EKAL, from the villages, towns and cities and even from abroad have all left with great satisfaction the Japani Park grounds in Rohini, New Delhi.
It all started on the 29th November when in the evening Yogrishi Swami Ramdev inaugurated the Ekal Exhibition. In this exhibition there were stalls depicting the work done by Ekal in the different states of India. This was the first time that Ekal had organized such an exhibition and volunteers from different areas could see what the others are doing.
Swami Ramdev in his forceful speech praised the Ekal for its wonderful work being done to educate the poor in remote areas of India. He said that our country is battling with so much of crime and terrorist activities and it is only the education provided by Ekal which can overcome this and help in making a better society.
The formal inauguration of the four day meet was done on Friday the 30th November. The Ekal volunteers were asked to keep equi balance between expansion of more schools and their quality. It was emphasized that if one had to choose between religion and money one should prefer religion. In the gathering a few Ekal volunteers narrated their experiences informing how the Ekal work has made transformation in their respective areas. In the evening Baba Satya Narayan Maurya enthralled the gathering with his unforgettable performance of "Bharat Mata Ki Aarti".
On Saturday, the third day of the conference, Ekal volunteers were discussing their expansion plans. It was announced that by 2013 Ekal will reach to the poor community in 100,000 villages. Thorough discussions were held as to what problems could be faced and how they are to be overcome. In the evening a performance was given by Prof Shukla and his team from Maharashtra with their programme ‘Jago Hindustani'.
In the concluding session on the evening of Sunday, Ekal Volunteers were told that it is only education which can give self respect and make the poor self dependent and we would be made responsible till illiteracy is completely eradicated from the country. Sadhvi Ritambhara in her dynamic speech that the poor children of the country are just collecting garbage today. She asked the Ekal volunteers that they should not rest till their work reaches all the villages of the country.
What is EKAL
The Ekal Vidyalaya Movement started in the year 1988 from the state of Jharkhand, the erstwhile state of Bihar. Today Ekal has its presence in 27110 villages in 22 states of the country. In these schools 7,78,965 students are getting their education free.
These schools function on single teacher non-formal teaching system. They provide education upto class III after which many of them go for further formal education in nearby schools. On an average some thirty students are enrolled in a school.
The Ekal schools are run for three hours every day and the timing is decided by the local village committee convenient to the students and the teacher. The reason for this is that the students help their parents at home or in the fields or in grazing cattle. Sometimes it is also the village teacher who has other chores to do in the day time.
Teachers and their training
The teacher is from the village itself. This ensures that the classes are held regularly and there is mutual involvement of the teacher and the taught. There is extensive and continuous training of the teacher to maintain efficiency.
Besides providing basic education to students Ekal has also taken the responsibility of imparting Health Care Education, Development Education and Empowerment Education to the village folk. All this to realize the dream of making a ‘sikshit, swastha and samarth Bharat' (literate, healthy and empowered India).
Ekal has succeeded to put the rural folk in constructive activities, check on liquor consumption, create interest in education, prevent migration from villages, establish harmonious atmosphere in the villages etc. The efforts and commitment of our volunteers is noticed and appreciated now. Recently in the highly naxalite affected area of Chhattisgarh state the security force personnel followed our city volunteers in a remote village Khetarpal in district Bastar, 186 kilometers from the state capital Raipur. Our volunteers were on a routine ‘Van Yatra' to an Ekal school. In the village the volunteers did their routine activities of games, teaching and appreciating the tribal for their work etc. This went on for about four hours and the security forces were witness to all this. Later the Commandant called Ekal's chief and appreciated what was being done saying that this is the right way to overcome acts of terrorism in the area.
Ekal schools are run in the most difficult areas also including in North East, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Jammu & Kashmir etc.
The managing of Ekal is done in a very professional manner with supervision at different levels. The training programmes, conducted by experts in their areas, are a regular feature.
The complete funding for the programme is done with the help and cooperation of the society. Philanthropists at home and abroad are eager to support voluntary work to see the upliftment of the needy and see India prosper. It is a very cost effective programme where one has to contribute just Rs16,000/- to run Ekal activities in one village for a full year. The administrative cost is kept to a bare minimum which is below ten percent.
To facilitate city folk to see what Ekal is doing ‘Van Yatra' or visit to schools is organized often. Here, one gets first hand information as to what transformation has come about and the urban population also comes to know of the living conditions of the rural masses.
The International Meet in Delhi
The four day meet attracted volunteers from all over. The Ekal supervisors who oversee the working of 28,000 schools came and talked about their experiences in the villages they operate in. They gave examples of the transformation that has happened in the community they serve and they also talked about the difficulties being faced. This was an opportunity to take stock of what has been achieved so far and also to plan activities for the coming future.
Recognition was given to persons who have succeeded in achieving the targets set for them. These recognitions were for the activities in the field of Basic Education, Health Care Education, Development Education, Empowerment Education and for achieving self sufficiency.
A total of 14 sessions were held in the meet discussing all the aspects of Ekal Vidyalaya Movement. All the sessions were conducted by the people from the field which gave all an opportunity to witness as to what has been the empowerment of these rural people.
A very good media coverage was achieved this time. More than 60 newspapers around the Country gave coverage to this event. The names of the newspapers are being compiled since the news from different regions are still coming.
For further details log on to http://www.ekalkumbh.org/