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Ekal Vidyalaya Of New England Hosts Power Of Education FOrum

Geetha Patil

Ekal USA’s Ekal New England chapter hosted a fund-raising event - Ekal Vidyalaya’s Power of Education Forum with an emerging session and panel discussion at Hyatt Regency, Cambridge, MA on 02 Mar 2019, from 5:00pm. Hundreds of participants not only actively participated in the event but also showed great interest in Ekal’s special projects and came forward to support the good cause.

Ekal is a non-profit organization on a mission to bring basic education to every child across rural India. Ekal is active in more than 10 countries around the globe. Ekal’s projects include: Ekal Vidyalaya (one-teacher schools), E-Shiksha, Digital Literacy, Skill Training (Tailoring, Handicraft), Ekal on Wheels, Health Hygiene, Sustainable Farming, Other targeted interventions for specific villages (building roads, bridges etc.). Ekal Abhiyan Trust is bestowed with Gandhi peace Prize 2017 for its contributions to education for rural and tribal children in remote villages of Pan-India and for promoting gender and social equality in these villages. Ekal Abhiyan is a movement which is driven by many organizations to achieve the common objective of holistic development of Rural & Tribal India. At present all organizations work in synergy under an umbrella organization called as Ekal Abhiyan Trust to make it one of the largest grass-root movement driven by volunteers.

Dr. Subra Dravida warmly welcomed the special guests, the panel members, and all the participants to the exciting program. Smt. Ranjani Saigal, the Executive Director of Ekal USA presented her brilliant key note address and the introduction of Ekal’s mission and projects to the participants through an informative video show. Prof. Tarun Khanna, the Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor at the Harvard Business School and the first Director of the Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute of Harvard, presented his analogy of Ekal’s one teacher school program with other well-known programs such as Venezuela’s El Sistema music program that aims at to lift young people from poverty and place them into orchestras, and the Edward Jones (a Financial Services Firm, Missouri) model of staffing one adviser per branch office. Shri. Vivek Sharma who generously sponsors a tailoring and bag making project for women’s empowerment and supports an Integrated Center that focuses on the all-round development of 30 villages in Mathura area said that by involving with Ekal’s projects we not only give but we also get from Ekal. Smt. Deepika and Dr. Amarpreet Sawhney who support bigheartedly Ekal Vidyalaya also shared their experiences and encouraged others to support such educational efforts. Shri. Puran Dang and Shri. Niraj Chandra also spoke about their experiences with Ekal and highlighted its objectives to the participants and encouraged everyone to come forward to support the cause. Ms. Nandini Sitaram, a student from William’s College shared her interesting experiences with the beneficiaries of Ekal’s tailoring and health projects from several Ekal centers in Jharkhand area through her video presentation.

For Why Ekal? Dr. Subra Dravida provided his explanations for supporting Ekal projects. He said that the Ekal Vidyalaya incorporates simplicity, sustainability and scalability in achieving its objectives. In the Penal discussion session, Dr. Mike Teodorescu, Asst. Prof in the Information Systems Dept. of Boston College spoke on the possibility of using of tele-medicine by Ekal after collecting information about ailments and creating an electronic health record for rural India, Dr. Bhavana Lall, an internist affiliated with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center stated that mental health problems and behavioral disorders are growing in India. So, along with education we need to focus on the increasing need for integrated health care facilities in rural India, and Jaleesa, a graduate student in the life-long kindergarten research group at MIT Media Lab said that the creative learning helps children to learn faster. Dr. Meena Subramanyam moderated the penal discussions, that was followed by Q&A session and summed up the discussions very diligently.

Shri Ramji honored all penal discussion participants with the beautiful paintings made by the volunteers of the New England Chapter. Smt. Vandana Sharma shared her teaching and learning experiences at Ekal Vidyalayas in Mathura area.

Dr. Dravida thanked profusely all the panel speakers, special guests, and all the participants. He also thanked from the bottom of his heart all the volunteers who worked hard to make this event a successful



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