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Ekal Youth Leader Organizes Garba

Parveen Minocha

“muraliwala nand kishore
raas rachaiya maakhan chor
bano gopi bano gwala
bano radha bano bala
karein pranay phir naek kaaj
naachein sang kanha ke aaj….”

This was the simple theme for ‘Ekal Garba 2015’, organized by EYL, Ekal Youth Leaders group, at Lynnfield, MA. The project was the brainchild of EYL, Manasi Danke, a high school senior from Chelmsford. Her proposal was simple and effective – everyone loves to do garba/dandiya around Navratri, why not dance for a cause! And this cause was really about bringing education to kids in rural India, with Ekal Vidyalaya’s grassroots movement. With help from fellow EYLs, Manasi put together an execution plan, covering every minor detail. The senior volunteers were totally impressed on how well all aspects were covered – from homework on venue options, to music, food, decoration, ticketing, advertisement, and the whole nine yards.

Ekal provides education with $1/day and knowing the value of a dollar, the EYLs were careful to keep the project overheads low. They could achieve this with the help from family and friends for which they are very grateful. They borrowed the decoration material, dandiya sticks, Krishna idol which was elaborately embellished, sponsorship for the prizes, and got help with flyer creation and the venue. Ekal volunteers cooked a sumptuous dinner for the event. It was a magical evening, filled with fun, warmth, and festivities. Ekal NE team is thankful to each and every individual who joined for Ekal Garba event and helped bringing education to rural India. Many thanks to students of Eastern Rhythms dance school, who performed at the event and participated in VijayaDashmi pooja.

Manasi has set an example for her fellow students and youth. Here is what she had to say about her involvement with Ekal and experience with this project:

When did you join Ekal and the Ekal Youth Leaders, EYL and why?

My Ekal journey started during my dance class when my dance guru Ranjani Saigal, the executive director of Ekal Vidyalaya USA, introduced me to it. In the fall of 2013, I began to get more involved with Ekal and I volunteered at various events such as its Annual banquet, Math Bee, and IndiArt Competition. After seeing what great work Ekal does, I was inspired to dedicate my Bhatatnatyam Arangetram to Ekal. The EYL group was formed earlier this year and has been a great platform. It has inspired so many young people to get involved with the cause and help support education for kids their own age. Children are helping children receive education.

What was your experience with the Ekal Garba project?

During the summer, we were brainstorming fundraising ideas for Ekal and the Garba project was born. Garba is a great event where you can spend time your friends and family and celebrate the festivities. Why not raise money while having fun dancing! With the help of Ekal dynamite Parveen Auntie the event turned into a reality. We were able to plan for the event through phone conferences leading up to it. So many Ekal volunteers, especially Parveen Auntie, Ranjani Auntie, and Anu Auntie, were instrumental in making this event possible. The event would not have been a success without the help from all volunteers and I’m so grateful for it.

We had a great response and we were able to collect enough funds to sponsor three schools.

Any advice for our youth readers, how can they get involved?

Anyone can make a difference in the lives of poor children living in rural villages. Kids can help by donating loose change they find around their house, raising awareness for Ekal with ‘Save for Change’ program, and even encouraging their friends and family to donate to Ekal.

They can also think of how they can raise funds while doing things they enjoy with their family and friends. It would be great to be raising money while also having fun. Join EYL facebook page, together we can make a bigger impact!


If anyone is interested in donating: You can sponsor a school for $365 (https://www.ekal.org/donate). Just a dollar a day can change the lives of many children.

Congratulations, Manasi Danke and her family, on a successful event. With your help, many more children in rural India will have access to basic education. EYLs plan to make ‘Ekal Garba’ an annual event in the New England area!

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