ALLAHABAD: On Diwali, when an Indian house gets illuminated in Manhattan, chances are diays used were made by over 500 children at scores of village schools spread over five districts around Allahabad. They are working on the Ekal Deep project to make decorative diyas to be sent abroad. Their effort will not only illuminate the house of Indian expats, but also bring happiness to the lives of marginalized children of rural UP who would be the beneficiaries of the funds collected from the sale.
The Prayag chapter of Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of India has launched this project to fund basic education of those whose family can't afford it. Over 75,000 such diays, each packed in a set of five, has already been dispatched to different countries, including USA and south east Asia with strong presence of the Indian community.
"Nearly 90% of the fund thus collected would be used in shaping the future of marginalized children," says Kirti Tandon, secretary, field core committee of Ekal Vidhyalaya. "Around 500 children and their teachers at Ekal Vidyalayas and teachers from Sultanpur, Pratapgarh, Kaushambi, Allahabad and Amethi have worked to shape these diyas," she adds.
Ekal Foundation with nearly 54,000 members schools and over 15 lakh students in India works with a mission to ensure education for marginalized children and reduce the dropout rates. Apart from funding the education of students from poor families, the foundation also runs special free classes for marginalized children after school hours.
"Over 50 techers too are part of the Ekal Deep project and they have worked with these kids of over 14 years of age to make complete it," Tandon says, adding "By selling a set of five fancy diyas for Rs 250, three months' expenditure in term of fee of a single child would be collected."
Raj Kumar Maurya, activity head, Ekal Foundation, says "families who could not afford education of their children are coming to get their children educated and with Ekal Deep plan more children would be given quality education."