Newsletter September 2011

FTS organizes CPP training camp successfully


3 days Chapter Prakalp Pramukh Varg (CPP training) was organized from 15th to 17th August, 2011 at Friends of Tribals Society office, New Delhi. The Varg was inaugurated by Sri Anil Jaju, National Jt. Secretary of FTS and Smt. Veena Jaju.

A total of 17 CPPs (Chapter Incharge) out of 25 chapters attended this training programme (Varg). Sri Ganesh Shenoy, Sri Prasant Sahoo, Sri Ashish Mishra and Sri Kameshwar Sharma were the trainers in the Varg. After introductory session, organization structure, reporting system, budget, disbursement and fund flow, ARP (Area Resource Plan), PRP (Proposed Resource Plan), MAR (Monthly Account Report), MWR (Monthly Work Report) etc. subjects were discussed on the first day.

On the second day, Sri Raj Kumar Karwa, President, FTS Delhi, Smt. Sangita Gupta, Secretary EVFI, encouraged the participants of the Varg. In the beginning of the session, Ma. Shyamji Gupta discussed the duties of a CPP in detail and motivated the participants. After this, care points, allotment, donor relation work (DRW) and photography etc. were discussed.

On the third day, Sri Ganesh Shenoy shared his experiences on Chapter Performance Report, Ekal Publication and Photography. Sri Prasant Sahoo discussed MIS (Management Information System). In the closing session, all participants described their experiences gained in this Varg. In whole, this training was very beneficial to all the participants.

 

Ekal targets 15 lakh tree plantation in the current year


Ekal has decided to give impetus to tree plantation drive keeping in view the continuously increasing temperature of the Earth due to global warming. A country wide campaign of tree plantation was launched on 5th June, 2011 (the World Environment Day), in CKT meeting at Nainital.  The volunteers and students of Ekal Vidyalaya targeted the plantation of 15 lakh trees by the end of this year.

 

Bangaluru Chapter for Women


The formation of a new FTS chapter in Bangaluru, Indiranagar, was announced by Sri R.L. Kabraji (Bapuji), Patron, FTS National on August 05, 2011 in the presence of Sri Shyam Sunder Damani, Chairman, FTS South Zone, Dr. Satheesh Kumar, Sri K.K. Mallya and lady members from Indiranagar. FTS Bangaluru Mahila chapter will be formally inaugurated on November 12, 2011. The chapter formation became possible due to the hard, sincere and dedicated efforts of Smt. Sabita Agarwal who has been designated as its President.

 

FTS Bhopal organized ‘Vichar Pravah’


Bhopal chapter of Friends of Tribals Society organized a programme “Vichar Pravah” on 30th July, 2011 at Manas Bhawan, Shyamla Hills, Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh). A famous saint, Pandit Vijay Shankar Mehta from Ujjan (Madhya Pradesh) was the main speaker who spoke on ‘Sabse Bade Vanbandhu Hanuman’. The programme was inaugurated by Pujya Vijay Shankar Mehta ji. Sri Suresh Kumar Chauksey, Patron, FTS Bhopal, Sri Sanjiv Agarwal, President, FTS Bhopal and many executives of FTS Bhopal joined in lighting the lamp and putting garlands on Ramdarbar and the statue of lord Hanuman. Saint Sri Yudhishthirlal ji Maharaj from Raipur also graced the occasion. Sri Mehta ji started with the prayer of lord Hanuman. He described the meaning and difficulties of Tribal life. He explained the achievements and great work of Ekal. He appealed to the people to support and join the Ekal Movement. A total of 400 people were present in the programme.

Sri Ajay Kumar Chhajed, Secretary, FTS Bhopal gave a vote of thanks.        

 

Rakshabandhan celebrated


Smt. Sangita Gupta, Secretary EVFI celebrated Rakshabandhan festival with Ekal Karyakartas on August 08, 2011 at Ekal Bhawan, Govindpuri, New Delhi. She tied Rakhi to all the Karyakartas present. Around 50 Karyakartas participated in this programme. Sri Hariom Gupta, Sri Sneh Pal Singh and Sri S.K. Malhotra were also present during the program.
BIT Students in Ekal Schools

 

BIT Students in Ekal Schools


A group of 10 students from Birla Institute of Technology (BIT), Mesra, Ranchi, visited the Ekal Vidayalayas in the highly naxal infested villages of Khunti Sanch. In most of these parts Ekal is the only source of providing support education and basic health amenities.

The team was led by Ajay Kumar Singh of Sri Sankar Seva Samiti (SVO) to the Ekal Vidyalaya where Gram Samiti (village committee) and villagers welcomed each one of them in a traditional way. The Vidyalaya students recited poems and exhibited their learning abilities before the team. Ayush Anand enquired from the village committee about the activities of the school and another nearest Ekal school, which is at the distance of 2 km. from the village.

Naman Srivastava from Delhi and Raghvendra Purwar from Allahabad were very thankful to the Ekal team to have shown them the village life and appreciated Ekal’s work in such remote areas. They were overwhelmed to see the dedication of the Acharya (teacher) in lighting the lamp of literacy where even after 64 years of country’s independence, the government has not yet reached.

Anshuman Kuthiala from Shimla called a few children to the blackboard to solve math problems and to write their names in English. In the meantime Saundray Raj Soni (from the SVO) explained the visitors about the books and curriculum that Ekal provided to the schools. The books were like a traditional study book for basic maths and reading. The team coined a slogan “Doodh Piyo, Sharab Chhoro (Drink Milk, Abstain from Alcohol)” which was repeated by the students in village streets to force the elders to abstain from alcohol which seemed to be a dominant practice in these areas.

From there they reached Toyatoli where a lady has been the Acharya for more than five years. She operates the school in her own courtyard. Little time was spent here before departing for Gamarhiya and Dummardugga villages. The Government schools are present here but due to teachers’ absenteeism Ekal Vidayalaya seems to be the only hope. The local village committee here explained about the vermi compost pit to the team. The Saptahik Pathshala is a regular occurrence here.

Later on Chirhatu under Hutar Upsanch, Karge and Hutar under Tarosildon, Pandu and Sonmer under Angrabari Upsanch were also visited. In Sonmer village the Ekal Vidyalaya is the only source of education. This village has no accessibility as it is surrounded by hills. It was twenty minutes stretch walk through the mountains to reach the school.

Everyone was mesmerized by their visit to such serene and exotic environment where a poet could have written some lines. Alas, this is a highly naxal dominated belt and people dare not venture alone! In their return journey the team vowed to devote more time to educate our illiterate masses. The Ekal Vidyalaya Abhiyan is a shining example of dedication towards an educated India, a healthy India, and a swabhimani India.

 

Shreya Bansal from USA, narrates her experience of Ekal Vidyalaya visit


Shreya Bansal, a teenager from Florida started ‘CHART Ekal’, charity art classes that donate 100% of the tuition fees to the Ekal Foundation. She has raised and donated over $5,000 and has sponsored 15 schools so far. Her student art can be seen at: http://www.shreyabansal.com/Student-Art.html. She is also an active member of the RICE Club that collects funds for Ekal. This summer Shreya visited an Ekal school near Hyderabad and following was her experience.

My stomach rolls and the wheels churn as we rumble uncomfortably towards the dilapidated village nestled distantly among the trees. For the first time since I started my quest to fundraise 15 schools with the Ekal Foundation, I am going to actually see the purpose, the people, behind my goal. I am going to visit a school begun by Ekal. As we enter the village, it is clear that visitors here are rare commodities. Shock and curiosity greet us on every face and as we pull up to the school, and it seems as though every adult in the vicinity crowds around our still gurgling vehicle. The adults seem surprised when we describe our purpose there. When they hear that I raise money for Ekal, and helped in sponsoring their village school, they are elated. We ask to visit a class as we are just in time for the start of lessons, 6:00 in the evening. The classes are designed after work hours as most spend time helping their parents earn a living.

Our bulky Nikons hang awkwardly around our necks as we walk towards their class. It was beautiful. There were about 45 kids sitting knee to knee on the floor, faces raised and eyes all closed as they belt Ragas and Shlokas by heart. One of the adults whispers in broken Hindi that these evening classes provided the kids the education they lacked from their parents or the neighboring village school – an education rich in culture and here his voice cracks with pride, schooling in literacy. These kids, from as young as 5 to as old as 13, come every evening to learn to read. We spend the evening with the kids that day, laughing, smiling, and watching a few shows off their writing and reading expertise. It wasn’t a lot of time, certainly less than I’d hoped for, but it was one of the most magical nights I have ever spent. We communicated largely through smiles and pantomime as neither could speak the other’s language, but we talked all the same. And when we opened our bags to show them the ribbon-wrapped Cadbury chocolate bars we had brought for them, their expressions were priceless. Their faces were like light bulbs, brilliant and warm, each giving off his or her own light and illuminating more than just the room; those expressions lit up my heart.

It will go down on my transcripts and college applications that I did in fact gain X number of community service hours for teaching art classes and that I raised X amount of money for schools in rural India, but that doesn’t say anything. It doesn’t convey the pride of seeing a child stand on his toes to write on the board his first full sentence or the satisfaction of seeing a girl chew her tongue in concentration as she reads her first book. It doesn’t explain the pride you get from seeing a group of strangers pouring their hearts out to learn and teach, thousands of miles from your home, but on your native land all the same, and knowing that you had a part, however small, in helping that happen. May be my money did not come to this specific school but somewhere, somewhere within my Indian homeland, 15 teachers were raising their voices to teach and 15 groups of kids were raising their faces to greet words of encouragement and education. Somewhere, I am changing someone’s future. Somewhere I am giving a child a chance.

 

Howard Hand from USA Visits Ekal School


Mr. Howard Hand from Dallas, USA visited an Ekal Village Hatgachhi (10 No.Kanmari) in North 24 Pargana District of West Bengal on 30th July, 2011. He shares his experience of Ekal School visit below:

I opened the door of the car, and before I even finished stepping out, flowers were raining down on me. I was surrounded by smiling people in colorful dress. There was also the sound of a horn, I thought, but when I got my wits back I saw that they were conch shells being blown, just as they were blown at the beginning of the battle on Kurukshetra field as described in the Bhagavad Gita.  Beyond the group throwing the flowers I saw primary grade students, about 30 of them, seated in neat rows on the ground under a canvas that was erected to keep out the sun. It was July, and in spite of it being monsoon season, it was very hot. The children were also smiling.  I was asked to sit down under a thatched shelter beside the children. As I was getting my breath, I was introduced to a number of people. Two or three were regional directors for the Ekal Foundation schools.  Another was the teacher of the school in that village. She was dressed in a brilliant red sari with a broad paisley design in green. Standing very straight, looking very professional, she commanded respect and yet also radiated love. 

I was escorted then to the house next door, where they insisted that I have tiffin (snack).  Someone handed me a coconut whose top had been hacked off and from which I could drink the milk directly. As I sat there eating I was worried about the children still sitting out there in the sun, but they had obviously been trained in patience.

Meal finished I went back to my seat beside the students, and they began to perform for me. First two children came to the blackboard and demonstrated their knowledge of mathematics.  Then the whole group sang a rousing, patriotic song with the refrain “Gao, Gao” meaning “Sing, sing”.  These were the only words that I actually understood with my primitive knowledge of Bengali. After other activities and festivities the program was over.  The person who had driven me there asked if I was ready to go, and I said that no, I would like to walk through the village. So I got up and started walking down the single lane through the middle of the village, followed by a sprawling crowd of adults and children, all trying to point out to me that in this house so-and-so lived, and that over there rice was growing, and so forth. It was all wonderful and joyful and peaceful for me to be guided through this small village by its proud inhabitants.  They were proud of their children, of their village, and proud to have a visitor from so far away. I could not have been more proud to have been that visitor.

 

An elite group of Rotarians Adopt our Vidyalayas


Thirteen families from Rotary Club of Delhi South Central accompanied by Sri Arun Rai and Sri Vijay Sethi (both from FTS, Delhi) visited Ekal School at Pushkar in Ajmer district of Rajasthan on 27th & 28th August 2011. On the morning of 27th August they left New Delhi to reach Ajmer by 1.00 PM. They were warmly received by the Samiti Members. After having meals, the group started its Vanyatra to Jetgarh, a village 45 kilometers from Pushkar. Reaching there by 4:30 PM, a warm reception was given by the villagers by garlanding all the visitors. 

The Vidyalaya was in full swing. The students recited Sarsvati Vandna and Gayatri mantra. The skill of counting by means of an illustrations poem was appreciated by one and all. Some poems were also recited by the children. Basic math’s skills of solving addition and subtraction were appreciated by all the Rotarians.        
                                                                                                                                                                                                        
The Vanyatrees interacted with the villagers. The ladies of the group tried to know the difficulties of village woman folks. The school children also enacted a short skit on evils of rural rituals. The ladies of visiting group danced with the village children. It was great fun to see a mix of dance event. Everybody enjoyed it. 
Roasted Bhutas (maze), beans and Misee Rotees with spicy pickle were served to all the guests. Lemon shikanjee was served to all the visitors.

Next morning a visit to Braham Sarovar and Jain Temple was arranged. A meeting with the Samiti members was arranged at Maheshwari Bhavan. Rotary Club President declared adoption of 12 schools on behalf of members. The Vanyatrees returned to Delhi with a wonderful experience about Ekal Movement and the Vidyalayas run by it.

 

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