Newsletter March 2022

My Ekal village visit, post pandemic


I visited the WADA GRC centre established in the Palghar district near Mumbai. This was my first visit to India after the Pandemic. I had planned a visit to other Ekal centres. However, Omicron hit while I was in India and I had to curtail my visits to all except the WADA centre. This visit turned out to be absolutely amazing. I had visited the centre many times in the past and I was really pleasantly surprised to see the progress made at the centre. 
 
We were greeted at the beautiful newly established Ram Mandir at the centre. We then proceeded to meet with the beneficiaries of the different activities. Amit Patil, the centre in charge, Krishna Lokhande, the village coordinator, Venu Lokhande who manages the women empowerment programs, Kashinath Kirkire who manages the skill training programs, Kiran Khanzode who manages the gaushala and the newly hired Agronomist Rohan Patil described the various activities. The women who had taken the tailoring classes talked to me about the value of the program. “I have now started a training program for tailoring in my village at Sagpada” said Deepika, who is also an Ekal teacher in that village. Several alumni of the Ekal on Wheels (supported by Mohan and Kavita Wanchoo from NY, USA) shared their experiences and talked about the value the training has had on their lives. We toured the plantation efforts at the GRC which was in full swing. “We are working on a plan to make this GRC self-sustaining with the produce that we hope to grow on the land itself,” said Amit Patil. “There is much opportunity, especially with the production of value-added products like essential oils made from plants,” said Rohan Patil. 
 
We then took a trip to several villages in the area and visited a farm that was fed with water using a solar pump from a nearby river. “Water is an issue in this area. We received a grant from the Rotary Club to install a solar pump that can help bring the river water to the farms. The farmers have started using this to increase their cultivation” said Amit Patil. I visited two schools in Gallachapada and Sagpada. The teacher Rinki, in Gallachapada continued to engage the children during the Pandemic. I was really impressed with the progress the kids had made. In Sagpada, two boys talked about how with the knowledge they gained from their teacher they were able to convince their father and grandfather to give up drinking.

Smt Ranjani Saigal,
Executive Director - EVF, US

 

Story of Ekal Transformation


“I joined Ekal Vidyalaya as a teacher. I was very inspired by the social service aspect of Ekal that emphasizes on making a difference in the lives of the villagers. There are not many opportunities in this village. Often the parents go to other towns to earn a living. The children often live with their grandparents or other family members and hence there was very little emphasis on education. I was very motivated to help bring education to these children” says Dipika Phuphane, who was trained by Ekal to become a teacher
“Ekal’s teaching is very holistic in nature. We not only teach reading, writing and arithmetic but also teach values to the children. The values they learn here also have an impact on their family”. Amit, a young student in her class attests to her impact. “My father used to drink a lot. I told him that my teacher said that drinking is really bad and that he should give it up. I told him that if he gave it up I would touch his feet and respect him. He listened to me and does not drink anymore. I am so happy” says Amit. Yet another boy talked about his grandfather giving up drinking because of him sharing his teacher’s message.
Since Sagpada is very remote, there were no tailors in the village. Dipika took tailoring lessons from Ekal. She has not only started providing tailoring services to the villagers but also started a tailoring training center for other women in the village. “Ekal guided me to get a loan and purchase machines. I am getting a good income from my training. More importantly I am training other women. We now can wear decent clothes that fit right without going far away. Ekal’s work is truly transformational. I am grateful for the opportunities it has given me and for the children in the village”

 

Sankranthi gifts by Mahila Samithi, Pune


In a conference organized by Vanbandhu Parishad Pune Mahila Samiti on February 1, 2022 at Narayangaon, 26 full-time workers were presented with blankets, saris and sweets as Makar Sankranti gifts. On this occasion, the Secretary, West Zone from Pune, Smt Anjali Tapadia, President of Pune Mahila Samiti Smt Archana Behede, Secretary Smt Rachna Bhutda, Editor of Ekal Shakti Patrika Smt Shobhana Paranjpe and Vice President of Pune Chapter Shri Dilip Paranjpe were present. He told that now Ekal schools are running properly in all the villages and attendance of children is more than 80%, other dimensions of Panchmukhi education are also being run properly. Most of the women full-time workers have learned to communicate on Zoom App and Google. Not only this, a woman activist has also learned to make a video herself and share it on YouTube.
On the occasion of this program, office bearers of Anchal, Shri Chandrahas Shrotri, Bharti Tai, Rukmini Tai and Anchal Pramukh Shri Hinge were also present. The program was conducted by Shri Bharat Damle of the Pune Chapter.

 

Ekal Yuva, Indore conducts medical camp


Ekal Yuva Indore had organized a Medical camp at Diamond Colony shabri basti where general physical checkup, workshop for young girls and women about menstrual hygiene and distribution of sanitary napkins, malnutrition checkup were provided.

 

Skill development centre at Joginder Nagar, Himachal


Ekal Gramothan Foundation inaugurated a skill development centre in Joginder Nagar, Himachal Pradesh on 27th of February 2022. Local people participated with great enthusiasm and shared their thoughts regarding the basic needs of such kinds of programs. In this centre, women will be taught tailoring of different designs.

 

IVD Amarabad sewing training center in Palamoor Anchal, Telangana was inaugurated on 22/2/2022 by Shri Prabhakar, Forest Department Ranger Officer.


 

Vanyatra to Munnar by FTS, Kochi


On 18th morning, a team of twenty two members from FTS Kochi and Mahila Samithi, left to visit Munnar Sanch, Idukki Anchal for Vanayathra.  After the interactive sessions with students, Acharyas and Karyakarthas, games were conducted for all. Children demonstrated Yoga. Deepa pooja was performed along with rendering the slokas with proper explanations to them.

Our sincre thanks to -
  • Shri Amarjit Singh sponsored  190 backpacks
  • Smt Bhavna Parekh for sponsoring Footballs, Badminton Rackets and Cricket bats and balls
  • Bhavans Vidya Mandir, Elamakkara for sponsoring two hundred Stationery kits containing four notebooks, pencils, pen, eraser and pencil boxes.
  • All Mahila Samithi members for sponsoring, preparing and also serving unlimited snacks and food.
- Smt Maheswari Muralidharan
Secretary, FTS. Kochi

 

Celebrating birthday with the little ones of the school in Ekal Vidyalaya village


A very pleasant and pleasurable feeling after 3 hours of traveling about 125 kms from Mumbai bumpy, unpaved, narrow roads between hills to Dhamanshet village of Suryamal Sanch of Wada Zone.
 
A small hamlet of 70 houses, far away from the usual amenities, in the midst of a rugged forest. But still a relentless and in many ways a successful attempt to stay connected with the culture, religion and the main stream of the country through the Panchmukhi Education of Ekal.
 
With austerity, dedication, sacrifice and tireless hard work for the last 31 years for the cultural awakening, development and educating of one lakh small villages of the country of the pioneers of Ekal Abhiyan and the entire nuclear family (mainly service workers), we are seeing some changes in these villages. The destination is still far away, but if we see young children of 6-10-12 years reciting moolakshar without stopping or singing patriotic song or poems in the local language, then the faith towards achieving the goal increases further.

I consider myself fortunate to be able to contribute something on these subjects through Ekal.
- Anil Mansingha
General Secretary, 
ShriHari Satsang Samiti

 

Shri Ramesh Shah and Shri Hasmukh Shah visiting different Ekal Vidyalayas- interacting with the villagers teachers and children.


 

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