Newsletter November 2008

Gen. J.J. Singh visits USA

General J.J. Singh's visit to  New York went very well.  Sri Sant Chatwal ji fulfilled his pledge by presenting a Cheque to our Exec Director, Ms. Kavya Rajan for $51,000.00 (we had invoiced only $36,500 for 100 schools last year. So the amount of $51K was a surprise). If you recall, I had reported to you last October/Nov that Sri Sant Chatwal ji flew with our EVFI Chairman, Sri Subhash Chandra ji to visit several cities and had pledged to help Ekal. Due to his preoccupation with Hillary Clinton's campaign, he could not do any thing this year. I sincerely believe that Sri Sant Chatwal ji will be involved in holding a big gala in  New York next year. He has told so to Ms. Kavya Rajan. He wants Ekal to rise to the level of AIF in prestige and fundraising (AIF raises millions in each gala)
The fact that we have Gen J.J. singh under banner of Ekal with a $51,000.00 Cheque is very newsworthy and will send strong message to AIF who had refused to cooperate with Ekal despite appeal from Sri Sant Chatwal ji, its trustee.  Also, the functions in the University of Maryland, and Washington area went very well.  I am very excited with these positive developments and it will go long way to create a positive image of EKAL both in USA and India.
By Subhash Gupta


NJ (USA) youth raises funds for Ekal

In my 8th grade summer I visited   India, and as I walked the streets and observed the beauty, I realized that the only demerit was the poverty. Many foundations make hunger the main focus, but I realized that by giving education and health, they can uplift themselves and make a better living for themselves and their future generations. This is why I decided to help the efforts of the Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation. EVF is there for those Indian kids who aren't getting education and aims to make illiteracy a thing of the past.

In America, it seems like Indian's are brilliant and it's hard to imagine an Indian not good at maths, but this is far from reality. More than 65% of India is illiterate and I feel that we should help those families. Considering that 17% of the world is Indian, which means that 11% of the world is illiterate just from India. This is unacceptable in the 21st century. Therefore, I feel that about 27,000 teachers involved in the EVF can be savior for students willing to embrace the gift of education.

And that is the reason why I have volunteered myself for the noble cause and joined hands to help eradicate illiteracy from India's rural and tribal villages.

Sricharan Maddineni


Ekal Programme in India Tribune Newspaper

Handicapped dancers steal hearts of audience
Call to sponsor more Ekal Vidyalayas to educate rural tribals in India
By J.V. Lakshmana Rao

Palatine, IL: The finale of the four-day national conference of the Midwest chapter of Ekal Vidyalaya — a people's movement — at the Palatine High School on September 20 was marked by the inspiring motivational speeches by Sri Chandak, a member of national council of Ekal USA, Sri Pradeep Goyal, an industrialist from India, Dr. Sanjay Bhatt, an active youth volunteer, and Sri Anil Bhatt, Midwest coordinator.

The evening function was also marked by an enjoyable cultural program consisting of three electrifying dances presented by disabled students of Manthan Institution of Gujarat, and a highly acclaimed Kalidas' classical dance ballet, Kumar Sambhav, by members of Anila Sinha Foundation. More than 650 people attended the program. Among them, were 200 people, who came from India and other places of the USA. Sri Shyamji Gupta, a pioneer of the Ekal movement from India, lighted a lamp and inaugurated the program.

Explaining the philosophy behind the Ekal Vidyalaya movement, which is meant to provide education through one-teacher schools to long-neglected rural people in India, Dr. Sanjay Bhatt said that Swami Vivekananda was one who had shown to the world what was power of one; power to do something; and power to do anything. Similarly Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King had individually had exemplified the "power of one."

Dr. Sanjay Bhatt said: "If one man or one woman makes a difference, together they can bring a big change. If one person can make it happen, collectively we can create a movement. Ekal Vidyalaya — one-teacher school — is a movement to lift up the deprived rural Indian people. Together such schools can educate and elevate whole India."
He said that the Ekal movement aimed at four educational goals — primary education, health education, economic education and self-empowerment. Since 70 percent of India lived in villages, the primary education would aim at providing to people non-formal education, multi-grade education and a three-hour curriculum in seven categories. They would be math, reading, writing, moral education, handicrafts, physical training and general knowledge. Health education would be imparted to make the people realize the importance of hygiene, sanitation, disease prevention methods, and focus on mother-child education, curative treatment and medical referrals.

Stating the Ekal movement was fast catching up in India, he said that at present there were 27,114 one-teacher schools providing education to 830,420 rural children. There were 11,450 healthcare centers functioning under the movement. Among them, 8,698 Ekal Vidyalayas were being supported by generous donations from the USA.

Sri Chandak said: "We are all fortunate to have education and come here to lead a good life. Our children are fortunate to get educated. We all have received education from the society we lived in. Therefore, we have a responsibility to our society. We should canalize that responsibility through Ekal movement. We should provide education to our tribal sisters and brothers. The power we are all blessed with is the 'power of one.' We have to pay back to our society. There are 300 million tribals, who are deprived of decent life, education, healthcare, economic prosperity and several other things that we all enjoy. India got Independence 60 years ago, but the lives of tribals have not improved. We have to square that account now, because we have tools. We have a vehicle — the Ekal movement."

He said that every educated person had a responsibility to see that education was provided to the tribals in India. Education was the true gateway for prosperity of people, and, through education, everyone should make India and America prosperous and economically sound. "We must educate and empower our 300 million tribals. We lost 60 years. We should act now. We can make a difference. Each one of us can be the change. Each one of us can make a change in the lives of 30 children by donating one dollar a day for one year to run one such single-teacher school. We can build up their future. We must open up our hearts and help our tribal brothers and sisters," he added.

Sri Pradeep Goyal said: "By his visit and historic speech, Swami Vivekananda made Chicago a punya bhoomi. Swamiji said that 'if a poor boy cannot go to a school, the school should go to him.' The government cannot do that in India. So we took that responsibility through the Ekal movement."

Sri Pradeep Goyal said that Bharat consisted of four Indias — global India with 20 million people; urban India with 400 million people; rural India with 400 million people; and remote India with 300 million. "The brain drain is showing the trend of reversal. The 20 million expatriate Indians can now connect themselves to remote India through their tan, man and dhan. China is a great tiger and India is a sleeping elephant. Arouse that sleeping elephant. If the sleeping elephant wakes up, the tiger will be nowhere," he added amid thunderous applause from the audience.

Twelve colorfully dressed differently abled girls of Manthan Institution of Gujarat presented three dance numbers for about 30 minutes. Among them, six girls were literally crawling, and six others were either limping or walking with calipers fitted to their legs, but they presented a garba dance with improvised sticks. One girl even danced on her hands with great speed. The girls also danced with stainless steel pitchers passing them among themselves with a precision throwing. There girls did not miss even once in catching the pitchers that flew from hands to hands. Their candle dance was so impressive that the audience of 650 gave them an emotional standing ovation.

Niruben started Manthan in Gujarat by housing 21 disabled girls in three mud huts. After eight years, now Manthan accommodates 380 physically and mentally handicapped girls and blind girls and provides them education with boarding and lodging facilities. An enjoyable 15-scene Kalidas's classical dance ballet — Kumar Sambhav — in Kathak style was presented by artists of Sri Anila Sinha Foundation. This highly classical 90-minute dance ballet was flawless that effectively conveyed the story of Shiva and Parvati and the destruction of the demon Tarkasur.

Dr. Sinha, who gave a synopsis of Kumar Sambhav, introduced the artists. The lead roles of Shiva, Parvati, Kamdev, Rati, Kartikeya, Tarkasur and Agnidev were played by Deepti Gupta, Kiran Chouhan, Apratim Sanyal, Gurmeet Marhas, Nisha Choksi, Natasha Singh, and Nani Agbeli respectively. While the recorded music was provided by Birju Maharaj, the ballet was directed and choreographed by Kiran Chouhan.

Young girls Serena (11), Janvi (10), Anjali (7), and Sanya (10), also presented a few dance items to the delight of the audience.
Announcing that Babu Patel of Patel Realty donated 25 Ekal Vidyalayas for five years, Anil Bhatt proposed a vote of thanks.


Central Karyakarta Team (CKT) Meeting

 The All India Ekal Parivar Team’s meeting was held in Karanjo, 'Birsa Seva Prakalp' in Chakradharpur, Jharkhand from Ist to 4th October, 08.

  •  Total No. of Participants – 299
  •  Total No. of  Zones – 22

The premises was an ideal place for brain storming session, when Kshetra Toli (Central Team & Zonal Team) members met to review the holistic perspective of Ekal’s past and future progress. The opening session was started by Ma. Shyamji Gupt. He narrated his abroad visit of 9 countries. He shared his observations and concerns with this high profile Team of Karyakartas who are actively responsible to run the programmes in the field. They are also accountable for desired results.

The Reporting Session
(a)   The reporting of 13 departments was done by the respective Incharges (Pramukh).
(b)   Status of Education Material distribution was reviewed. It will be updated by Ist week of November, 2008 in some areas where it was not complete.
(c)    The training programme held in several states, according to new syllabus for integrated education system. It was  quite satisfactory. Lot of emphasis has been given to practical training.

There were two special sessions in which CKT got the privilege of listening Sri Ashok Kaul who told about recent developments in J&K and Ekal’s positive role in it. Sri Bal Krishna Nayak ji, spoke about contribution of Sikh Patriots in the history of India. This kind of knowledge awareness programme is very encouraging for grassroot workers.

Note: The Ekal Kumbh will be held in the last week of October, 2009 at Delhi.


Active Mahila Team of Khandwa Anchal (M.P)

Mahila Samity of Ekal Abhiyan in Khandwa, M.P. celebrated “Raksha Bandhan” and Krishna Janmashtmi” with Ekal Karyakartas. In “Janmashtami” Programme 200 children took part with their parents. They were told about Ekal Abhiyan in the villages where small children are taught in Ekal Schools.

On 2nd October 08, the ladies organized a ‘Mela’ exhibition cum sale bonanza for fundraising. The Mahila wing of Khandwa is quite active. The ladies sent thousands of ‘Rakhis’ to Karyakartas of all the Anchals of M.P.

In most of the Anchals, the festival was celebrated with Ekal Karyakartas. This event conveyed a strong message of affection and craving for full timers from Mahila Team.


Acupressure workshop organized by FTS Ladies Circle-1 at Chennai

Ladies Circle-1 was inaugurated on 30th June 2008 by Smt. Bimla ji Jhaver and Acupressure workshop was its first fundraising programme. This workshop was inaugurated by our Chapter President Sri P.D. Maheshwari ji. Sri Bipin Bhai Shah was invited from Mumbai to conduct 5 days' workshop from 5th to 12th of September.
We received 59 entries for the workshop which was very interesting and knowledgeable.

We saved almost entire funds collected from this workshop as the venue was sponsored by Sri P.D. Maheshwari and the program was sponsored by Sri Kunal Bhootra (son of our Circle-1 member) and me.

With the help of members, who volunteered for the workshop, we could save almost the entire funds collected from the workshop.
As such, out of the total collection of Rs. 64,900/- from this workshop, we saved Rs. 64,000/-.

By Smt. Lata


Survey of Rajouri & Kashmir Anchal by Sri Jaidev ji

Report of Rajouri Anchal
A meeting of Rajouri Anchal's Ekal Vidyalayas was held at village Siot in Nowsheera on 5th & 16th of October 2008. The proceedings of the work started with the inauguration of "Sanch Karyalaya" in a rented accommodation. The rest of the activities were divided in five "Satras" (Sessions) wherein the following proceedings were discussed:-
1. Full time Volunteers were made known the importance of Pravas. This is the only way by which public contacts are established and their services can be utilized     for the expansion of work. Pravas is the backbone of any work.

2. The report on the activities of last month's work was presented.
3. It was also decided to celebrate Diwali Festival at all Vidyalayas with fervour & gaiety. Each student be guided to write 4-5 greeting cards and posted to     Sarpanchs, Panchs and other respected persons of the village/city /town.

Gram Vikas Work:- In the meeting, is was emphasized that in villages there exists a vast field where development works can be initiated. Hence Gram Vikas Parishad will be established which will study the fields of developments where work is to be started. This will also involve the public in general.
Report of Kashmir Anchal
Date of visit:4-10-2008
Places visited:1. Gopalpora Badgham      2. Patton Baramulla
Meetings Held:For two Sanchs.
Attendance at each Sanch:35
Achievements: The Ekal Vidyalayas starts with a slogan "Mathera Watten Tujhe Salaam". Every vidyalaya  recites the Kashmiri translations of "Itni Shakti Hamain dena data" at the beginning as prayer and the children leave the center after reciting "Jan Gun-Mana" the National Anthem.
Future Plan: 1. During the interaction with the children it was decided that annual day celebration will be celebrated in the month of April 2009.

2. Sixty more Ekal Vidyalayas  are to be opened as the locals have highly appreciated the education with moral values of Ekal Vidyalayas.

By Jaidev Singh


Exclusive Workshop on Vanyatra

Vanyatra (vist to Ekal Villages) is the most effective programme, specially conducted by urban organizations of Ekal Abhiyan. As we know, seeing is believing, Ekal Vanyatras gives a chance to Ekal volunteers, donors and others to get first hand informations of the field.

An exclusive workshop on ‘Vanyatra’ was held in Karanjo, Chakradharpur (Jharkhand) at Birsa Seva Gram on 30th Nov., 2008.
Twenty youth fulltime volunteers attended the workshop in which they were trained to plan, select the route, make all the proper arrangements, enroute and on the spot of project during Vanyatra. They were also taught how to conduct the Vanyatra that is the effective commentary during the visit etc. Prof. Manjushree who has been conducting innumerate Vanyatras took the workshop.


Sri Raghav Gupta, from Birmingham, UK visits Ekal Vidyalaya

My dad said whilst planning the trip “I would like to visit an Ekal site, perhaps Gwalior”.    We all were confused and thought why? Early on the morning of 5th September all packed and ready to go.    We left for the train and embarked on a life-changing journey. The train journey was fun but long and we slept most of the 4-hour ride but when we arrived it was something else.    There were people ready to greet us and we were given garlands and tilaks.   It was something we had never experienced before. We also happened to arrive at the same time as politician it was something new.    People were  shouting and cheering for their leader.    It was an experience you would never have seen in  Delhi or any of the big cities.  Now we were on the way to the school they said we have an hours drive.

We arrived and then I understood why we travelled all that way. It was worth seeing the excitement and joy on the children’s faces when they saw the van pull up. We sat down under the tree where the children were sitting ready for their second lesson of the day. It was an amazing experience. There was a wide range of children from 5 to 13, all sitting in separate rows and giving their undivided attentions to the teacher. First the younger children recited 2, 5 tables 10 times. Then the older children started to say the 12 and 16 tables 22 times. We were all shocked even I could not do that. Finally after all the children had dazzled to use their amazing arithmetic, English and Hindi. They all started to leave and then touched my feet. I am only an 18 year old child too and the children were touching my feet. It shocked me and showed me how much respect and discipline the children had.

Looking back I’m glad we had gone to visit the school. It was the best part of the whole trip to India. We finally saw the real India where children were learning under a tree and sitting on a sack, but they were all enjoying it and they had no complaints. We saw the children playing different games and reciting rhymes. But the most amazing was the standard of their handwriting and their English reading.

Now after seeing where all the donations go and how it helps to bring education to others, I felt why to waste money buying new toys and clothes instead save money and help the children in India.


Ekal updates - Ekal Vidyalaya

Current: Number of Ekal Schools: 26,937 Number of Children: 808,110


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