Newsletter February 2008

Ekal Team participates in Houston Chevron Marathon




PRESS RELEASE
Contact: Meera Kapur

Phone: 281-497-8932

Email: meerak@prodigy.net 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 13, 2008

Ekal Vidyalaya Team raised $11,854 at the Houston Chevron Marathon

By Krishna Danda & Pankaj Malani
A team of EKAL VIDYALAYA participated in the Houston Chevron Marathon for the first time this year on January 13. From the start to finish, the team was motivated and determined to finish the 5k Run, and to have a good time doing it. It was cold beautiful sunny morning, but that did not stop anyone from participating and enjoying the day’s activities.

There were more than 20,000 participants, 200,000 spectators and 5,000 volunteers participating in this International event. Pankaj Malani finished in 32 minutes followed by Krishna Danda & Nila Ray. All EKAL volunteers finished 5K Run in less than 55 minutes, great job! Congratulations goes to Mr. Shintri, at age 72, he ran Half Marathon and finished 13 ½ miles in 3:00 hours.  

We are proud of Hema Sharad Patel, an employee of Alief School district who joined our team & finished 5K Run. Both her knees were replaced last year but she still walked for a very good reason, EDUCATION. She believes in the mission of Ekal Vidyalaya, One teacher school for rural children in India. She had lots of pain after the event but she was happy she walked.

Lauren White, Accounts Receivable Administrator at Star Pipe Products also ran 5K and she said “It was a great honor to participate in the Houston Marathon EP5K on Sunday, January 13, 2008. We had approximately 20 people from Star Pipe Products and friends join us in this walk to help benefit the Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of USA. This foundation helps fund rural schools in India. I hope that we can continue to support great charities like this one along with the fitness and health of our employees and family.”

We are proud to participate in 5K Run but let’s hear from Half and Full Marathon runners:

Raj Muchimilli: It was a fine morning in Houston as I ran for a second year in a row and this time it was for a cause I am proud to be part of. It was heartening to see people of all walks come together and participate with an enthusiasm that gave hope, energy and excitement to one and all. A truly colorful event that I see apt for
supporting Ekal's mission. Finished Half Marathon in 2hrs 15 mts 41secs. 

Kishore Kamalapuri: In June 2007, I could barely run 2 miles. And I said to myself, “I will run 26.2 miles in 6 months time”. To me, that was a brave (& audacious) goal. Then, my thoughts turned to Ekal Vidyalaya’s goal - to eradicate illiteracy from India. My goal seemed very EASY.  

Self-doubts crept in several times – in the training & during the marathon. Every time, I said to myself “What I’m trying to do is EASY. Look at what Ekal is trying to do”. This kept me going. I stayed the course achieved the goal & I finished the marathon in 4:58 hours. 

A worthy cause like this requires a lot of funds. Aruna Varahabhotla has been driving this through Team Sravanti. I wish her & Ekal a big success & encourage everyone to donate to this cause.  

Aruna Varahabhotla: I am a first time participant in the Half-Marathon, after toying with the idea for sometime, watching my friends participate the last two years. Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation also gave me a reason to run and in a small way contribute toward their lofty goal of eradicating illiteracy from India by 2011. Since a few of our friends were participating again this year, we decided to raise funds for EKAL collectively. We called our team 'Sravanti' to raise money for this cause as we believe education made a difference in our lives and Ekal is working hard at extending this advantage to many children in the nook and corner of India.  

Participating in the half/full marathon not only gives a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment but also drives home the spirit of volunteerism seen in abundance during the event. It is a great learning experience for children as well. Team Sravanti comprised of non-participants who donated generously and also participants of all ages in categories 5K, Half & Full Marathon. Making this a team activity garnered more participation, support and turned out to be a fun-filled event for the children.  

Here are the completion times of participants of our team in the Half Marathon: J K Gundamaraju - 2:16:28, Aruna Varahabhotla - 2:45:32, Anirudh Pillutla - 2:55:25, Lalita Rachakonda - 2:56:40, Sangita Vennelakanti - 3:40:45, Sudesh Pillutla - 3:40:46.

John Higgins: I finished Full Marathon in 4:39:03.

Yvette Willson: My name is Yvette Willson (44 yrs old). This was my first time at running a Half Marathon & I ran it in 2.06 - I have the blisters to prove it and feel very proud! 

Ekal Vidyalaya Houston Marathon team is blessed to have so many well wishers who ran for one and only one cause – Education for Tribal children in India. The Houston Marathon 5K Run will become an annual event for the EKAL team. We want to encourage everyone to join us next year. It is an opportunity to raise money for a tremendous cause while getting some exercise and meeting others involved with the organization. Through this event, the team was able to raise $11,854. The Team Sravanti raised $2,940 and individual fundraiser was none other than Meera Kapur raising $1,875. You all can still make a difference; the donations can be made on line by visiting http://www.active.com/donate/ekal, till January 31, 2008. We know that next time, with the support of others that are willing to lend a hand and be part of the team, that we can raise even more money, and help the children in the Tribal Villages in India. We would like to thank everyone that participated and hope to see even more people next year! 

Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of USA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization Tax ID 77-0554248. The EVF USA is a movement established to full fill Swami Vivekananda’s dream: “If the poor boy cannot come to education, education must go to him.” & “The poor, the illiterate, the ignorant, the afflicted – let these be your God. Know that service to these alone is the highest religion.” 

For information visit www.ekal.org

 

 

Shri Subhash Gupta's doctrine (president EVF USA)


HOUSTON

Scholarly publications were his passion for more than two decades. Producing scholars is his latest mission. Subhash Gupta’s new mission is to bring a school to every corner of rural and tribal areas of India.

Gupta was appointed president of the US chapter of Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation at a national convention held in Florida in September. Ekal Vidyalaya literally means ‘one teacher school.’ Literacy is a basic and fundamental need and millions of children in rural India have no access to schools. 

A noted community member in the Houston area, Gupta has undertaken different roles, including as president of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America for 12 years. But his new role as president of Ekal Vidyalaya USA gives him the utmost satisfaction. And Gupta needs no primer on the value of education. 

Born in Uttar Pradesh, Gupta, 56, got his engineering degree from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. In 1971, he came to the United States to do his master’s degree at the University of Nevada. Then, he went to Columbia University for post graduate studies. After working in the private sector for a few years, including Brown & Root, now KBR, Gupta started his own business, Scholarly Publications in 1982, specializing in technical books and research papers.

After 23 years, he shut down the business in 2005. Needless to say, Gupta has joined the ranks of many of his contemporaries from India in achieving the American dream. All through his life, Gupta never shied away from helping others and often went out of his way to see a smile in others’ faces. As the chief executive of Ekal Vidyalaya-USA, Gupta may raise millions of dollars for opening schools in India, but will take no penny for himself or his family. 

The basic premise of this literacy movement is that one sponsor can give one dollar a day to one school in one village for one day operation and that village will be poised for transformation. And so will be the nation.

While accepting the president ship, Gupta said “Ekal movement is people’s movement. It empowers and transforms the entire village. Let us all join together irrespective of religion and caste to uplift the tribal and rural India.” The movement does not stop with spreading literacy, but goes further in providing healthcare and social and economic development.

The US chapter of Ekal Vidyalaya has so far helped set up 7,000 schools and by the end of 2008, at least 2,000 more schools will have to be funded by donors here, Gupta says. The fundraising for the schools has been good in the US, he says. Though Ekal Vidyalaya’s goal is to open 100,000 schools by 2011, Gupta says the government of India has now started opening schools in rural areas and to that extent, the goal may not necessarily be that high. Gupta’s focus will be more in educating the people in the US about the literacy movement and bring greater awareness about this project.

Having retired from active business, and with the constant cooperation of his wife, Sarojini, Gupta plans to devote all his energy into taking the Ekal Vidyalaya movement to the next level. Sarojini is equally dedicated to serving humanity and is involved very much in the Ekal Vidyalaya since inception. “She was involved in the business and now she’s involved in Ekal cause with me. I could not be happier as she’s always with me,” says Gupta. The Guptas are blessed with two children. “We want to reach out to the people much more than we did in the past and seek the help of corporations and foundations,” Gupta says. The organization has already appointed Dr. Veena Gandhi as Director of Ekal Growth and Development. “We are trying to establish more chapters in the US. We have identified several places including Atlanta, the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Seattle and Washington, D.C.,” Gupta says.

Gupta plans to connect the donor with a specific school sponsored by the donor so that there is bonding. He encourages donors to visit their schools and monitor the progress.

“We are always happy to arrange the visit to any school for any one,” Gupta says.

Some of his Indian counterparts do not accept donations until the potential donor has actually visited the school(s). This results often in converting a donor to a volunteer. One gets connected to Ekal’s work once he or she has visited the school. One of Gupta’s priorities is to involve the America- born Indian youth to get involved in Ekal movement.

“The youths are very sensitive to the mission of Ekal. There is a lot of demand by our youths for an internship program. Ekal USA is working with India office to develop three months to six months internship program,” Gupta says.

As a part of the effort to make the Ekal movement popular, Gupta, Ramesh Shah and other Ekal officials went on a nationwide tour with Subhash Chandra, President & CEO of ZEE TV, who is also chairman of the Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of India. Subhash Chandra met with community members in Houston as well. Also, Sant Chatwal Singh of New York, the well-known hotelier, who has close links with the Clintons, joined the tour and lent his private plane. He pledged money for 100 schools. He has also promised to organize a major fundraising in the New York City.

Zee TV is studying the idea of bringing its popular Sa re ga ma show, similar to the American Idol, to the US, under the Ekal Vidyalaya banner, Gupta said. The Ekal Vidyalaya in the US formalized a strong organizational structure by opening its national headquarters in the Houston suburb of Sugar Land in Texas. The headquarters of Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of USA is at 12503 Exchange Dr. Suite 518, Sugar Land, TX 77477 and can be reached at 281-240-0631.

 

Shri Rameshwarlal Kabra ji Ekal USA visit


"Recently the National President of Friends of Tribals Society, Sri Rameshwarlal Kabra visited USA and did a lot for promotion of Ekal. In one meeting that he addressed he could get instant support for 350 schools.
Articles about his visit were published in the 18th Jan 2008,25th jan 2008 issue of Indo American News and 25th jan 2008 issue of the Indian Herald is being given here."

Kabra Highlights Virtues of Maheshwari Community

MMNA to Sponsor 350 Ekal Vidyalaya in India

Rameshwarlal Kabra inspires Ekal volunteers


 

Ekal Parivar Samanvay Varg 2008


This year 2008 Ekal is going to organize 5 Samanvay Varg, covering the 5 zones of Bharat. These are-
 
West Zone at Bhopal-February 16-18
North Zone at Varanasi-Feb 23-25
East Zone at Jamshedpur-March 1-3
South Zone at Kanyakumari-March 21-23
North East Zone at Guwahati-April 5-7 .
 
All ekalites are invited for the Samanvay Varg.

 

EKAL RALLY organized on 11th January 2008 at Belgaum


An EKAL RALLY was organized on 11th September 2008 at Belgaum for the first time, in which 300 youth on motor cycle participated. It was organized as the part of Swami Vivekananda Jayanti and National youth day. Many handicapped youth participated holding play card SAMARTH BHARAT. (SOME OF THEM WERE CHAMPIONS IN SWIMMING)

 

Bombay Chapter Fund Raising Programme


The Bombay Chapter had a fund raiser on 8 Dec 07 where Zakir Hussain on Tabla, U Shriniwas on Mandolin and Shahid Pervez on Sitar performed. A Film on Ekal Vidyalaya was first shown to the elite audience. It was a sold out show and was much appreciated by the audience.

 

Bulletin brought out by FTS Bangalore in connection with the donors meet on 11 Jan. 08


 

Woolen pullovers' Function in Faridabad


Sweater Distribution Project was conducted in Haryana, Faridabad Anchal, Ballabgarh Sankul, Bagpur Upsanch on 18 th december 2007.Around 554 Ekal children from 23 upsanch (group of 10 schools) received woolen sweaters on the day.

 

Ekal Vidyalaya visit report by Mr Jag Aggarwal, an active Ekal Volunteer from USA


It was nice to be able to visit the Ekal Vidyalayas in the Faridabad region. I visited a total of three schools. Mr. Bhatti and other volunteers accompanied me to the schools. 

Schools seemed to be well organized. Each school had a teacher and Arogya Sevika. Children were very enthusiastic about what they were doing. Teachers showed lot of motivation and were handling the students well. 

Premises were appropriate for the schools. In the village setting they had adequate resources. 


The welcome that was extended to me was very much appreciated. I look forward to helping Ekal with this noble project to improve literacy in the remote villages in India.  

Thanks again.

Jag Aggarwal

 

Ekal updates - Ekal Vidyalaya


Current: Number of Ekal Schools: 24,006 Number of Children: 720,182

 

Ekal updates - Arogya:


Current: Number of Arogya Sevikas and Centres: 11,324

 

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