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Ekal Poetry and Essay Competition

United States


Write a little, help a lot!

Ekal National Poetry and Essay Competition 2016

What is Ekal Vidyalaya?

Ekal in Hindi means "single" and Vidyalaya means "school.” Ekal Vidyalayas are really single-teacher model schools, dedicated to bring basic education to every child across rural India and benefit the village communities. These schools not only teach the children reading and writing, but also teach the villagers healthcare, impart vocational training, and women empowerment.

Each school serves thirty to forty kids and are taught by one teacher from Ekal. With Ekal Vidyalaya's "dollar-a-day" philosophy--each school can be run with only $365 for an year.

I am Nandini, a high school sophomore. I firmly believe that education is something every child should have access to. Children around the globe should have exactly the same opportunities I do. This is why I decided to run a writing competition: to remind us of the many doors literacy opens for us.

After having a successful Ekal Writing Competition in New England last year, we are launching the Ekal National Writing Competition. Children across US can participate and help. And in order to help, all you have to do is write! Write a poem for the general poetry category, or an essay for one of the essay categories organized by age. There is an entry fee of $25, and all of that money will go directly to Ekal Vidyalaya for funding schools. By Ekal's dollar a day philosophy, one small piece of writing can fund a school for 25 days. That's 25 more days of learning!

I encourage one and all to participate. Use the power of literacy, that we are lucky enough to have, to help those in need. Take the challenge, prove yourself, or simply write, and give someone hope.

In addition, I would truly appreciate if you advertised this endeavor to your friends and family through social media or word of mouth. Tell people to write for a cause. It doesn't have to be a lot. It doesn't have to be perfect. Just write from the heart and with Ekal Vidyalaya in mind.

Information About the Competition:

There are multiple categories one can enter in for the same fee of $25:

  • A general poetry category open to all ages. Theme: My favorite season
  • An essay category for ages 7-10. How I will save the planet Earth
  • An essay category for ages 11-15: The power of education
  • An essay category for 16 and up: A world without borders
  • A special Ekal category open to all ages to which one can submit either a poem or essay about or related to Ekal Vidyalaya.


Information About the Categories:


  • The general poetry category accepts all forms of poetry written on the theme “My favorite Season.”
  • The essay categories are organized by age. The essay can be written on the topics specified above. Please keep it to 750 words or less.
  • The Ekal category is broad in order to inspire creativity. Here are some ideas to get you thinking: an acrostic poem about Ekal Vidyalaya, an essay about what Ekal's cause means to you, a poem about a child whose life was changed because of Ekal. You can also visit to read about how Ekal schools have touched the lives of many kids.


How to Enter:


  • To enter,  please donate $25 per participant to this campaign. Make sure to not have your name displayed on the campaign page.
  • Participants may enter in multiple categories but only one entry per category for the same $25 entry fee.
  • To submit, email all pieces of writing as a pdf to one of the following. Pick the contact closest to your city/state or feel free to send to any one of the following.
  •  Include the writer's name, age, school, state, the name under which the entry fee was paid, and the category[ies].
  • The deadline for submission is Wednesday June 1, 2016.



Local Prizes:

All participants will receive a certificate of participation. Winners will receive a medal at the awards ceremony held by Local Chapters [details will be shared at a later date].

Grand Prize:

Entries of the local winners will then be judged to pick the National Winners in each of the category. The winners will be invited to present at the Annual Ekal National Conference in New York, 16-18 Sep 2016 and will be felicitated. This event is attended by leading lights from India and the US and gets national and international press coverage.




  • All judges' decisions are final.
  • All content submitted for the contest will be the property of Ekal Vidyalaya.
  • The winners will be decided by judges who will remain anonymous until after the awards ceremony.



Campaign by

Nandini Seetharaman

$1,236 USD


Campaign started: January 06, 2016
Campaign closed: June 01, 2016 (11:59 pm PST)

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