When UNESCO recently confirmed that India will likely meet 100 percent child enrollment and school completion target set by them in 2030, it was a ringing endorsement of the impactful work that the Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation has been doing to set up schools and spread education in India’s villages.
In 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave ‘Ekal’ a unique goal of establishing 100,000 schools by the year 2022 which is the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence. And ‘EVF’, the largest literacy movement undertaken by the Indians and NRIs in a dozen countries, has been working towards achieving that goal.
According to Ekal, the most exciting new development is that EVF is undoubtedly going to ring the ‘target-bell’ by early 2020 itself ahead of time. As of now, Ekal already has 93,000 schools in the same number of villages that are grooming 2.55 million children and youth each year for life’s major challenges.
Most remarkably, more than half of the students are girls. Moreover, quite a few of its alumni have gone on to become teachers, district officers, company administrators and technocrats later in life. Although rooted in education, Ekal has blossomed into healthcare, integrated village development and economic empowerment as well.
UNESCO’s heartening affirmation is “nothing but a consequential endorsement of EVF’s educational mission in rural and tribal areas of India,” an Ekal official said.
This year, for example, “Ekal Abhiyan Trust’, an umbrella organization for various off-shoots of Ekal, was bestowed with iconic national honor – “Gandhi Peace Prize” – by the Indian Government for its contribution to education in remote areas, with gender and social equality.
In last one year alone, Ekal has successfully added 20,000 schools. This meteoric rise has been partly due to high-end “Future of India” galas that Ekal has started hosting in various metropolitan areas since 2017.
Last year, between October 6 -13, it hosted three galas – one each on Houston, Washington and New York –and raised over $5 Million. This was in addition to $6 million it had already raised through its annual fund-raising concerts across USA in 55 cities.
This year, two galas have been planned—- one in Los Angeles area and another in New York City. The Los Angeles gala is being hosted on September 14 at Hyatt Regency (200 South Pine Ave, Long Beach, CA), and the NYC gala is taking place on November 9 at the majestic Gotham Hall (1356 Broadway, NYC, NY 10018).
For details of ticket purchase, sponsorship or special-project enquiry, please check www.lagala.ekal.org OR www.nycgala.ekal.org. At the Los Angeles gala, the keynote speaker will be Emily Church, Executive Director of ‘XPrize Foundation’ with Bollywood heart-throb ‘Vivek Oberoi’ as the special guest.
Entertainment will be provided by Bollywood Comedian ‘Omi Vaidya’ which will be capped by a fusion-music concert by ‘Nauzad’.
Suresh Iyer, President of ‘Ekal-USA’, has confirmed that, so far this year, Ekal has raised almost $5.5 Million. Attributing this stunning achievement to thousands of its devout donors and dedicated volunteers, Iyer said he is confident that with two galas, Ekal, will once again cut through $10 Million mark by the year’s end.
In 2017, Bajrang Bagra, CEO of ‘Ekal Abhiyan Trust’ initiated a special literacy project for ‘troubled spots’ in India’s border region. He recently confirmed that as of now almost 6,000 Ekal schools are in operation in Jammu and Kashmir and that has resulted in establishing peace, tranquility, and normalcy in people’s lives there. The schools there are run by the locals under Ekal’s guidance.
‘EVF’ is a registered non-profit Charitable Organization 501(C) in USA and dispenses all its assistance in rural areas irrespective of recipient’s religion, creed, caste and region. Its overhead is hardly around 10%.