NEW YORK (TIP): The year 2013, marks the 150th Birth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, the revered ‘spiritual master of modern age’, who more than a century ago, initiated the concept of ‘oneness’ of global humanity. Noting the vicious cycle of poverty and illiteracy in India, Swamiji had emphasized, “If the poor child cannot go to Education, then the Education must go to the child”.
Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation, following this vision as guiding light to eradicate illiteracy, has turned Swami Vivekananda’s dream into a profound reality in the last quarter century. This year marks 25th year of “Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation” which has been dispensing functional literacy, health care training and Integrated Development in tribal, rural areas of India, while transpiring localized empowerment never seen before.
To highlight this achievement of attaining the landmark ‘Silver Jubilee Year’, Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation, USA, a duly registered non-profit, tax-exempt Organization, is launching a whirlwind series of over 40 fund-raising concerts all over USA between February and June, this year. Keeping up with their tradition of bringing the top notch talent of ‘Bollywood’, Ekal this year has invited ‘SA, RE, GA, MA, PA’ Melody queen ‘Sanjeevani Bhelande’ and popular singer Chirag Panchal to entertain their well-wishers. The details of these concerts are available at < www.ekal.org >. There are plans ahead to convene an International meet in Chicago of Pan-Ekal Organizations, as a tribute to Swami Vivekananda whose inspiration has now made ‘Ekal’ the largest grass-root NGO literacy movement in the world. Ekal schools are spread all over India, including ‘Jammu & Kashmir’.
According to Ashok Danda, President of Ekal-USA, “As of this moment, Ekal is operating 46,966 Schools educating over 1.33 million children in remote rural areas and Villages where, in many instances, not even basic amenities have reached.” In the last few years, “Ekal” has received numerous prestigious Awards and Grants, including ‘Best NGO’, for its transparency of operation and outstanding administration. To the amazement of proud Indians, ‘Pinki Karmakar’, a 17 year old girl from the remote tea-estates of Assam, who carried the relay-torch in London Olympics last year, was an ‘Ekal alumni’. She now symbolizes the new dawn of a vibrant future the rural folks can aspire to, with the advent of “Ekal”. This is the very reason why Mr. Rodney Clark, V.P. of Microsoft, recently spent extensive time in ‘Ekal’ territories to explore how ‘Ekal’ is changing the face of rural development by utilizing local resources, creating awareness in personal hygiene and making Women selfreliant. With the kind of momentum ‘Ekal’ has garnered in recent years, the future of establishing 100,000 schools in remote rural areas of India is definitely not a distant dream.