$365 will help sponsor a school for a year in rural India for a "Dollar a day"
15 schools sponsored in Pandemic years 2020-2021 [$5475]
27 schools sponsored in 2019 by 100+ patient familie [$9855]
29 schools sponsodered in 2018 by 100+ patient families [10,585]
28 schools sponsored in 2017 by 100+ patient families[$10,220]
26 schools sponsored in 2016 by 100+ patient families. [$9490]
22 schools sponsored in 2015 by 80+ patient families. [$8030]
Each Ekal Vidyalaya/school of 30-35 children operates for year on US $365. Ekal is able to maintain a dollar-a-day cost because it works with a low overhead budget and is supported by the villagers with whom it works.
Yashasvi Jhangiani, a Homeopath from Connecticut with over 2 decades of experience, is a strong believer in supporting non-profits that are dear to her heart, and her family has been sponsoring an Ekal school every year now, for the past 8 years. She currently provides guidance to families that come to her on using over the counter non prescription homeopathic remedies for everyday ailments. A big chunk of her practice is non-profit and she asks that her families "Pay it forward" by donating to non-profits that she supports for her guidance and time.
How did you get interested in the Ekal movement?
We got involved in the Ekal movement thanks to sheer dedication and tireless efforts of volunteers like Vikram Bhandari Ashok Jha and many more who lead the Connecticut chapter of Ekal. There is a large Ekal community here in Connecticut, and we were happy to become a part of the "Ekal" family and to get this opportunity to do our bit.
How did you come up with your unique model of fund-raising?
10 years back “I used to tell my patient families to pay whatever "they felt right" for my time, which was, very often, small sums like $10 or $20 which I would collect and donate to various organizations. My friends, Drs. Neeru and Somesh Kaushik, Ayurvedic physicians here in CT, advised me that the more people pay the more they value your service and time. They told me about how they use the money raised here towards providing medical care to the underprivileged here in the US as well as in India. This made sense and I was convinced so I started asking my patients to donate directly to a non-profit from my list or to any non profit of their choosing and just email me a copy of the receipt. I saw the average family donation go up to $100 from the $10-$20, since families were now getting the direct benefit of the tax deduction. Summer of 2014, I had 3 Ekal families come to me for advise and chose to donate to Ekal for my time. Over the course of the year 2 more Ekal families donated and we crossed 365 ! That was my A-ha moment! I realized that not every patient family can donate the $365 [ the amount needed to run an Ekal school for one year] but we could easily get to the 365 between 4-6 families and added Ekal to the list of organizations that my patient families could donate to. We managed to sponsor 22 schools in 2015 between 80+ families, 26 schools in 2016, 28 schools on 2017, and 29 schools in 2018, 27 schools in 2019, between 100+ families, many of which had never heard of Ekal before!
Who inspired you to help the less fortunate?
So many people have helped and inspired me. My father, Bhagwan Shivdasani who instilled in me and my sister Barkha the importance of social work from the very beginning – he was also the one who encouraged me to study Homeopathy, even though I personally wanted to go into regular medicine. In fact, when I did not get my MBBS, my father celebrated by jumping with joy! Of course, today I am more than grateful to him for encouraging me to pursue Homeopathy. My mother Leela Shivdasani is a huge inspiration as well, by sponsoring the cost of medicines for senior citizens, cancer patients and anyone else going through a difficult time. She has instructed me to never take payment from anyone over the age of 50! Then there is our Spiritual Head, Dada J.P. Vaswani, whose teachings include, “To be happy, make others happy” and “To live is to give”. My gurus Dr Aneel Habbu and Dr Ajit Kulkarni in India who see on an average 300 patients a day and keep one day a week as their “no fee day” and are always helping out any family in need. Dr Prem Mital's wife Shamaji who donated his entire Homeopathy pharmacy as his legacy to be used as needed. We just sent multiple kits to be used in villages in Africa with Michelle Pickering of Zuri Medicine-Bare foot Homeopathy. I cannot forget Dr Bipin Mehta our family physician in India who had a "DK" diary which the compounders one day revealed to me was the "Dosti Khata" diary for patients that couldn't pay. Nobody was ever turned away from the clinic because of their inability to pay.
What do you appreciate about Ekal and its mission?
“Physically, there are young people teaching in these schools – education is extremely important. Without it, there is no future for these children. I wish I could give more time but practically, it’s not possible now. What we do from here is just a drop in the ocean. It’s so important to give back to the community and every little bit counts. This need is so much greater in India, of course. I feel truly blessed to be able to use my knowledge to not just help my patients’ families, but to also be able to support organizations like Ekal that are doing such important work in bringing education to our remote villages in India.”
Any comments you would like to add?
I never met my inlaws but heard heartwarming stories from family about all the work they did for the community. I feel both lucky and grateful for my husband Mahesh, who has wholeheartedly supported my work. I remember when we were getting married, the panditji reminding me that tithing was going to be my responsibility as the “grahalakshmi”! Our children, ages 24 and 17, have been helping out as needed, including at the Kids' Heritage camp during the Ekal concerts and now as a teacher with Teach for America, Mahika is a huge supporter of Ekal. If, by reading our story, we can inspire more people to join in the Ekal movement and help raise awareness of the importance of education for our underprivileged children, our job here would be done!”
Raised of $9,490 Goal
165 days left
Campaign started: July 29, 2022
Campaign closes: January 31, 2023 (11:59 pm PST)