New York

Ekal Vidyalaya’s fundraiser on Long Island a huge success

Friday, 21 Jun, 2024
Ekal NY Chapter President Mohan Wanchoo addressing guests. (Photo provided by Mohan Wanchoo)

Hicksville, NY: The Indian American community opened its wallets and hearts once again to support Ekal Vidyalaya at a successful fundraiser organized on June 8 by its New York chapter.

With over 92,000 one-teacher schools in underserved areas in India and 2.8 million enrollments, Ekal Abhiyan is a charitable organization dedicated to empowering rural and tribal communities through social, economic, and gender equality.

Popular singers Kedar Godbole and Minal Kapadia serenaded over 100 guests at the "Ek Surili Shaam Ekal Ke Naam" event at Antun’s in Hicksville, NY. 

Mohan Wanchoo, President of Ekal Vidyalaya’s, New York Chapter, made video and PowerPoint presentations to highlight Ekal's exemplary pan-India work and unique model. He said you can support and sponsor an Ekal school that runs on just $1 a day.

Wanchoo’s impactful appeal met with enthusiastic response. Many generous people in the audience instantly gave their checks.  Speakers included Ekal donors Mukund Padmanabhan, Founder and Chairman of Guru Krupa Foundation, and Lynnette Iglesias, Managing Director of Perfection of Man Foundation, as well as think tank Vibhuti Jha and Navneet Agarwal.

Wanchoo explained that Ekal’s single-teacher model provides education in reading, writing, arithmetic and Sanskar Shiksha (value education) under a tree or at a makeshift facility, making it cost-effective. The emphasis on teaching girls has brought their numbers in Ekal schools to 50%. After all, a country cannot succeed unless its women are invested in it fully, he added. After receiving primary education, students go to Vidya Bharti and other schools.  

Ekal has been innovating in keeping with the times and with an emphasis on social and economic upliftment. Under the e-Shiksha scheme, tablets are provided to schools.  As part of Ekal on Wheels program, Ekal buses fitted with computers go to villages to give computer education to children and grown-ups so people can get computer jobs locally.  

Wanchoo said that for 35 years Ekal has been bringing literacy, healthcare and economic prosperity to thousands of villages in India. The reach of Ekal into remote areas has enabled it to touch the lives of 10 million people. The mission of Ekal is the holistic development of villages through the empowerment of tribal (vanvasi) and rural communities with basic education, digital literacy skill development, health awareness, imparting modern and productive agricultural practices, and rural entrepreneurship.  He informed the gathering that the galas in the US, like the ones he has been hosting for some years now, bring in a significant portion of the total budget of Ekal Abhiyan.

Donor Mukund Padmanabhan addressing audience (Photo provided by Mohan Wanchoo)

Donor Lynnette from Perfection of Man Foundation addressing audience (Photo provided by Mohan Wanchoo)

Speaking on the occasion, techpreneur Mukund Padmanabhan appreciated the work of Ekal Vidyalaya. His Guru Krupa Foundation has sponsored over 500 schools in remote Ekal villages, provided tablets for the e-Shiksha program, provided computer education through the "Ekal on Wheels" program, and is providing support for the Integrated Village Development (IVD) project in Amrabad, Telangana.

Speaking on behalf of the Perfection of Man Foundation, Lynnette Iglesias appreciated Ekal’s innovative approach and openness to new ideas. This Foundation was started by Satish Mallick, a long-time supporter of Ekal who sponsored many schools in remote Ekal villages. The Foundation has provided support for three Tailoring Centers and is supporting the Integrated Village Development (IVD) project. 

Other donors included community leaders Animesh Goenka, Chandra Bhansali, Kanak Golia and many others. The event was supported by Dr. Vijaypal Arya, Dr. Urmilesh Arya, Dr. Rajendra Modi, Mukesh Modi and Ashok Vyas.  Speaking to TV presenter Ashok Vyas, Mohan Wanchoo stated that what differentiates Ekal from other similar initiatives in India is its broader vision. It is working towards Viksit Bharat, a developed and strong India.   

The evening concluded with the melodious rendering of popular Hindi film songs by Ekal volunteers Kedar Godbole and Minal Kapadia, mesmerizing the guests as they enjoyed a sumptuous dinner.