Newsletter October 2009

First Annual Ekal Youth Conference 2009 successfully held in Rockville, USA

The First Annual Ekal Youth Conference 2009 was held in conjunction with the Ekal Annual National Meeting at Rockville, MD from 19 - 20 September 2009. The conference theme was Bringing Tomorrow into Today's Choices and was focused on engaging the youth volunteers with newer ideas to strengthen Ekal Foundation's vision for village development, education, and civic empowerment. This is first time where the youth volunteers of Ekal had come together to share and discuss their work, ideas, and plans to enable Ekal activities with better prospects. There were more than 12 papers and presentations - including some very interesting ideas such as, how to implement web based social networking tools for Ekal activities, and deploying a new slate in the schools for students to learn alphabets easily. 

The conference was inaugurated by Sri Charles Regan, Vice President & General Manager, National Geographic Maps. In his motivational speech, Sri Charles Regan mentioned the teacher collaboration activities of National Geographic; and how the strengths of both Ekal and National Geographic to foster education can be leveraged in a mutual beneficial collaboration. He mentioned that "National Geographic can learn an awful lot from Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation's efforts and commitment". He also appreciated Ekal for forming a wonderful network of volunteers, and grassroot works; with the constraints of operating several realities of resource constraints and large people based voluntary organizational framework. He emphasized on the issue of train the trainers, and providing appropriate care, maintenance, feeding of the volunteer grassroots network to sustain the activities in the future. Further, he also enumerated on the role of evaluation and assessment to highlight the impact of the Ekal activities. The statistics from these studies can be used to provide performance statistics from time to time, for the media and policy makers to be aware of the progress of Ekal activities. He assured of the support from National Geographic towards Ekal activities in several modes, and inspired the organization to grow better and bigger to let the World, US, and rest of India know about the activities in more details. 

The main feature of the conference was the research ideas and projects that are being conducted by several youth who are involved with the organization. There were presentations on a map based visualization technique for Ekal schools, creating a media library repository, and healthcare impact assessment of Ekal villages. A novel idea of leveraging several professional service oriented activities for fund raising was discussed. Another powerful idea suggested was to start formal Ekal Chapters at various College campuses across US. In the concluding session, the volunteers, regional presidents, and top decision makers of the organization deliberated on the reflections and insights from the conference. They recommitted to the cause of youth mobilization, and fostering several research ideas by providing support and incentives. Several short, medium, and long-term future plans in this respect were chalked out, and will be implemented in the near future. 

The conference highlighted the passion and zeal of the youth towards the social cause that Ekal is working for, i.e. Education through Empowerment. It was interesting to see the motivated youth sharing their visit experiences to Ekal schools, and having the enthusiasm to contribute towards the cause with more energy and vigor. The abstracts of the papers presented in the conference can be found on the website- . Plans to host similar conference in 2010 will be released soon.

Here are a few quotes from the Youth Conference:
"It was a great feeling to see all the hard work put together by the organizing committee turn into a reality. Now it is upon all of the volunteers to work on turning the ideas discussed at the Youth Conference into a reality. The success of the First Annual Youth Conference should inspire more youth to get involved with Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation". Pankaj Chadha, Youth Conference Coordinator.

"I feel very fortunate to have helped in planning and coordinating our First Annual National Youth Conference in Washington D.C. It was amazing to see how all the different youth members from all parts of the United States prepared their presentations and presented them so professionally and comprehensively. I felt very proud to be present at this groundbreaking historical event." Ritu Linhart, National Youth Coordinator, Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of USA.


Sri M.K. Shukla Narrates his Experience of Dubai Visit

I and Asha visited Dubai on 7th and 8th August'09 on a personal visit. The local Ekal committee utilized this opportunity to meet us. A full meeting of the committee was arranged in the office of the Chairman Sri Harshad Mehta. In a brief private meeting, Sri Mehta discussed about the work done by the Dubai centre. Later, we addressed the whole committee. The Secretary, Abhimanyu gave a brief about the activities and future plans. In the evening a meeting of the Indian community was arranged which was attended by a large number of people. I addressed them on the status of education in rural India and Asha gave an impassioned speech about the Ekal Movement and the contribution that Indians living abroad can make for empowering the Vanvasis through the Ekal's integrated education system and why it is necessary for them also. The audience heard us with rapt attention for over an hour and so touched were they that many from the audience offered support for the Ekal movement. Sri Harshad Mehta hosted a private dinner. Next day a lunch in meeting with selected people was organized by Sri Bharat bhai in India Club. Earlier we celebrated Rakshabandhan with the Indian fraternity in the labour area where Asha tied rakhi. We stayed with Sri Mittal. We got an affectionate welcome everywhere. The interaction in the meetings was very fruitful. It was a very pleasant experience of meeting our Ekal colleagues and other members of the Indian community.


Yet Another Student, Dipali, Shows Concern for Ekal

Seventeen years old Dipali Agarwal of Erode Tamil Nadu, daughter of Sri Dinesh Agarwal FTS Treasurer Erode chapter, achieved 96% in her +2 results, requested all her relatives to give her cash instead of gifts of appreciation so that she could collect enough to sponsor a school of Ekal Abhiyan in Talwadi region of Tamil Nadu.


26th Chapter of FTS Inaugurated at Rourkela with Great Pomp & Show - A report

Steel city - Rourkela, became the 26th Chapter of FTS and second in Orissa on 13th of September, 2009. The inaugural function was organized at Hotel - Mayfair at 5.30 PM.

Prior to the function, on the same day a preliminary meet was organized at 11 AM at Hotel Mayfair, with introduction of the members present. The meeting was well attended by the proposed members of the Rourkela chapter with good interactive sessions between the members and the high level dignitaries of National cadre of FTS from Kolkata - Sri Ramesh Saraogi, Sri Sajjan Bhajanka, Sri M.L.Jain, Sri Bhagwati Jalan from Raipur, and "Bapuji" present in the meeting among the members from Bhubaneswar. Various modalities of the functioning and system of FTS were discussed.

A parallel meet of the Mahila Samiti was also organized at "Maheshwari Bhawan" with the initiation of Shri Jethmal Bhatterji, which was chaired by the prominent Mahila personalities of FTS of National Committee, Smt Pushpa Mundra and Smt Shiela Chitlangia from Kolkata and Smt Shashi Sethia from Bhubaneswar, at the same time. The meet was well attended by about 15 active mahilas of Rourkela, namely - Smt Usha Agarwal, Smt. Minu Ajmera.

The final inaugural function started at 6 PM with display of documentary film and was formally started with "Deep Prajwalan" at 6.30 PM by -

Chief Guest Sri Sunil Kumar Sarangi - Director, National Institute of Technoclogy, Rourkela
Guest of Honour Sri D.R. Patnaik , Prominient Industrialist and Director of Padmananava College of 

Dias was graced by the following dignitaries:

Sri R.L.Kabra (Bapuji) : Patron of FTS & Ex-President, National.
Sri M.L.Jain : Patron of FTS and Ex-General Secretary, National
Sri Sajjan Bajanka : President of FTS, National, (CMD Century Plywood)
Sri Ramesh Saraogi : Gen. Secretary, FTS National
Sri Bhagwati Prasad Jalan : Zonal Chairman, FTS (East)
Sri Arun Kumar Agarwal : President, Rourkela Chapter (CMD Vipra Industries)
Sri Sri Mahesh Agarwal : Vice - President, Rourkela Chapter (Steel Trader)
Sri Alok Bagaria : Vice - President, Rourkela Chapter (Dealer - Kirloskar)

Sri Sudarshan Goel, Project coordinator, Rourkela Chapter, was the master of ceremony, presiding over the program smoothly.

Sri Arun Agarwal (Remag), Secretary of the Rourkela Chapter welcomed the all the guests on the dias and other personalities from different places, like Sri Anil Daga from Raipur, Sri Viney Chowdhury, Sri Lakshman Mahipal, Sri Om Prakash Tulsian, Sri Mansuk Sethia, and Sri Ramesh Agarwal from Bhubaneshwar.

Vote of thanks was given by Dr. Anil Singh an educationalist, a prominent personality in the Hindi Sahitya and ex- Principal of school. Behind the successful event, a perfect team and meticulous planning was worked out by Sri Sanjay Rungta and Sri Alok Bagaria.


Two Health Check-up Camps Organized by FTS Bangalore - A Report

Two Health Check-up Camps organized by FTS Bangalore at Hasduli village, Gundulpete Anchal & Vadakamala village, Mysore Anchal of Karnataka State on 6th and 7th September, 2009.


Annual Sanch Sammelan Held in J&K

Annual function of all Sanchs in Udhampur, Doda & Rajouri Anchal of Jammu Kashmir State held successfully in the month of July & August, 2009. All Acharyas, Gram Samiti, Sanch Samiti and other people of the village were present on the occasion. Dr. Harish Anand, Kshetra Prabhari of J&K attended all the functions.


Total Prohibition Awareness Rally - Organized at Sanchore Sanch in Rajasthan

A rally on total prohibition was organized by Ekal volunteers at Sanchore Anchal in Rajasthan on 13.09.2009 with great enthusiasm. 526 students of Ekal Schools, members of village and Sanch Samiti and a large number of volunteers participated in the rally. The rally was flag marched by Sri Bhaiya Ram, Samanwaya Pramukh of Ekal movement. 


A Surprise Visit that Astonishes the Visitors - Narrates Senthil Kumar of Erode

I along with S/ Sri Dinesh Chandra Agarwal, Namitha Agarwal and Krishna ji, Treasurer, Coordinator and a donor respectively of Erode chapter of Friends of Tribals Society went on a Van Yatra on 05/09/09.

It was a sudden trip & so we had not informed the concerned Anchals of our visit until we got there. We reached there shortly after lunch and drove directly to the Ekal Office where the Varg was going on. This was my 1st visit to an Ekal location and I was surprised to see the way the young Ekal teachers assembled at a place (on a weekend) with dedication & co-ordination from the area incharge Sri Hanumanth.

We inspected the reports & were happy with the performance of the schools, the methodologies, the materials & the progress reports of the children. It was a pleasant surprise to see many of the children scoring wonderfully in the assessments with a curriculum which I could see had strong shades of what my daughter was studying in her CBSE school. The much needed Kannada school books are yet to reach these schools which I will try to coordinate with Dr. Sathish.

At the Varg, Dineshji presented the teachers with nice shawls as token of appreciation of their part in nation building & mats were given for their use. I had taken some picture books of my children & some puzzles which might be of aid to the children & handed them over to the Anchals for better use. We then visited a school of 120 children, which had its Balsanskar Day, where we were welcomed with great joy by the children who sang us a wonderful patriotic song, performed healthy yogasanas & chanted vibrant Sanskrit mantras which I am trying hard for my children to emulate. The school reports were inspected and the lacking areas were pointed out to be improved.

We drove back that evening & reached Erode with pleasant memories & fore thoughts of the future course of action.


Another Successful Vanyatra to Village Hasduli in Karnataka Performed

Vanayatra was arranged on 7th September 2009, to visit Ekal Vidyalaya at Hasduli, Beguru Hobli, Gundlupet Tq., where the following persons participated.

  • Sri Jagmohan Maheswari
  • Smt. Sudha Maheshwari
  • Sri K. Krishna Mallya
  • Dr. Med. Volkmuth (German guest)
  • Ms. Jacynthe Omglin (German guest)

The students strength of Vidyalaya is 20 and they are doing exceedingly well not only in their studies but also in dance, songs and other extra curricular activities. The participant children were given toy games, note book and writing materials.

Machoor area is located amidst the thick forest area bordering Kerala State, it is a naxal infected area and not connected with a proper road. To traverse the distance of 30 Kms, it takes more than 3 hours, as the car cannot move more than 5-7 Kms an hour. People are extremely poor; lack both educational as well as medical facilities. It is a real tribal area.


Ekal updates - Ekal Vidyalaya

Current: Number of Ekal Schools: 27,110 Number of Children: 778,965


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