Newsletter December 2012

EVF Australia organized Ekal Baltarang 2012

On Sunday, 7 October, 2012 EVF Australia held their major fundraising event at Bowman Hall, Blacktown, Sydney.  

The function, Baltarang 2012, celebrated the Heroes of India through dance, drama and song by the youth of Australia. The program started by some inspiring words by the President, Mr Devendra Gupta followed by a Prayer by Deepa Gupta. There was then a potpourri of colorful dances performed by the youthful students of a number of art schools of Indian origin in Sydney. Each performance was preceded by an introduction on screen to one of the heroes of India such as Mahatma Gandhi, Swami Vivekananda, Mother Teresa, Lata Mangeshkar and Bhagat Singh.

EKAL is very keen to take its message to the youth of Australia. Sri Sunali and Akaash from Ekal Youth Australia highlighted this new initiative by articulating the EKAL cause that in Australia the young generation took provision of education as granted but things are different in India. Their message was that a lot of support by NGO's is needed in addition to Government efforts and that is where organizations like EKAL are coming to the fore.

Baltarang 2012 was a sell-out event attended by more than 700 people. It was a great variety program that the audience will remember for a long time.  


Ekal Receives Jindal Award

Bharat Lok Shiksha Parishad (BLSP), a constituent of the Ekal Abhiyan, has received the S. R. Jindal Prize 2012 for Peace, Social Harmony & Social Development. The prize money is Rupees one crore. This money will be used for the running of Ekal Vidyalayas benefitting the marginalised in remote India. It may be mentioned that Ekal has its presence in more than 40,000 villages today where more than eleven lac children are being educated.

The S.R. Jindal Prize has been instituted last year to accolade exceptional service of current significance rendered by individuals or organizations for the welfare of Indian citizens in the country.

The prize was received by Sri Satya Narayan Bandhu, Patron of the Bharat Lok Shiksha Parishad from the hands of respected Sri Sri Ravishankarji. Sri R.C. Lahoti, Retd. Chief Justice of India was also present on this occasion. The award function was held on Monday the 3rd December in New Delhi.


A new chapter of FTS inaugurated in Gwalior

New chapter of Friends Of Tribal Society was opened at Gwalior on 4th November 2012 under the kind guidance of Sri M.L. Jain, Patron FTS and Prof. Manjushree, National Organising Secretary of FTS.  Smt. Yashodhara Raje Scindia, Member of Parliament from Gwalior was the Chief Guest and Sri Anil Kumar Gupta, DGM, State Bank of India was the Guest of Honour.
The programme started with the lighting of the lamp by the Chief Guest and other dignitaries. Some students who were specially called from Ekal Vidyalaya presented Saraswati Vandana and a welcome song. Chapter President Sri G.D. Ladha welcomed all the guests. Sri M.L. Jain expressed the necessity of rural education and called upon everyone to join hands for this noble cause to strengthen the country. Prof. Manjushree showed a PPT and a small video clip containing the working of FTS to the audience.

Sri M.L. Jain inducted the entire board members by putting a tilak on their foreheads. Chief Guest Smt. Yashodhara Raje Scindia said that she was very impressed by the working of FTS and assured to help FTS whenever required. She praised the efforts and pains taken by the organization. Smt. Scindia also assured to give financial support for some schools from her MP fund. Sri Anil Kumar Gupta, DGM, State Bank of India also said this work done by FTS is the need of time. He has announced to donate amount for one school from his personal capacity and also assured to get some more funds from State Bank of India. Chief Guest met all the students and workers of Ekal Vidyalaya.
Programme was conducted by Sri Rajendra ji Bandil, Vice President of the Chapter and Vote of thanks was given by Sri Bharat Jhavar, Secretary of the new Chapter.    


Ekal Abhiyan Silver Jubilee celebrations

Ekal Abhiyan will be celebrating its Silver Jubilee for a full year starting on the 13th January 2013. The Silver Jubilee inauguration will be in New Delhi hosted by the Bharat Lok Siksha Parishad. A 'Run for Ekal' has been organised on the 13th morning and in the evening a grand cultural programme will be held. On the 12th January 2014 the year long programme will conclude in Kolkata. Throughout the year various programmes will be held in India and abroad. Details will follow.


My visit to Ekal Schools in Maharashtra

I wish to share the experience of my Vanyatra of 29th October 2012.  The one day trip from Mumbai (India) to Manor Naka to Wada to EKAL Vidyalayas was approximately of 276 km (both ways).  Here, I must express my gratitude to Ms. Namita Pandya (Vice President, FTS-Mumbai), Ms. Seema Goyal (Project Coordinator, FTS-Mumbai), Sri V.C. Kothari for taking their time out to accompany me for the Vanyatra.

Covering the areas of Wada and Gargaon in the state of Maharashtra, gave me first hand knowledge of how EKAL-FTS (Friends of Tribals Society) link up in connectivity to share social responsibility. This mode of partnership is definitely giving a sense of hope and progress to the less fortunate sections of our society.  The village schools of Umbardachapada, as well as Galachapada have been examples of illustrating these facts of encouragement.  I am sure EKLAVYA SWAVALAMBAN Trust at Rural and Tribal Development Resource Centre, Gargaon (Wada) will grow in its services and training programmes.  I learnt that the Trust is an integral part of Friends of Tribals Society.

At Umbardachapada and Galachapada, there were around 30 children each, who made up the two classes and began the session by reciting a prayer in Marathi, their mother tongue. Sri Jagdish, the coordinator between me and the children translated our Hindi and Marathi conversation, back and forth.  I tested the kid’s ability in simple addition and subtraction and their Maths was found to be strong and correct.  I also picked out kids at random to see how they were in their ability for basic Hindi words and a couple of them came up to write on the blackboard with full confidence.  Along with my team members, I had a good opportunity to speak to the village Head, the village EKAL Teachers, the parents of the children – the dialogue was helpful to all of us.

In Umbardachapada, the children showed me with great excitement how they had planted the jackfruit plants in a small patch of land.  I showed them that the distance between the plants had to be more.

In Galachapada, the hamlet where the Ekal classes are conducted is flooded from its point of residences to the main road during the monsoon season.  We learnt that the population of the hamlet during the monsoon months has to swim across to get to the main road for any facility by the way of food or medical aid.

We saw that the villagers sow paddy and also get produce of vegetables from their land.  The proof lay in the pudding!  The villagers presented us with giant-sized cucumbers and pumpkins.

The general condition inside the villagers’ huts was neat and clean, though the rooms were dark due to lack of sunlight coming into the inner surroundings. 

A small group of women at Galachapada made tea for us and the secret of the recipe of a fire-hot-chilly-chutney was readily given to us!  These people were spontaneous in showing their feeling of cheerfulness and gratitude –inspite of the day-to-day challenges which they face.  It gave me satisfaction to refill both the EKAL centres with new First Aid Boxes.  I have also requested that my 10 new schools (if possible) to be allotted in the state of Maharashtra.

Additionally, during this period in Mumbai, I also had the opportunity of attending FTS’s Diwali dinner – where I enjoyed the chance of having a dialogue with the members about EKAL activities in Dubai (UAE).  I must express my gratitude to Shri Jitu Bhai Bhansali, Shri Pradeep Goyal who are prominently engaged in expanding the vision of EKAL and who also played a role in my Vanyatra.

Geeta Chhabra
President, EKAL UAE Chapter


School and Children

Current number of Ekal Schools: 39,769 Number of Children: 11,21,805


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