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Ekal Vidyalaya Response To COVID-19

Ranjani Saigal

Ekal Vidyalaya, an organization that has a presence in over 102,000 rural remote villages is actively working to educate the villagers to keep them safe and contain the spread of the virus. The extensive reach of Ekal allows them to quickly be in touch with over 100,000 rural remote villagers. Ekal team shares its impact on the ground. 

Ekal on the Ground

Are Ekal schools running at this time? 

Our paramount concern at this point is the health and safety of our Ekal school children and the Ekal villagers.

All Ekal activities including the schools have been shut down until the end of March. There are no known cases of COVID-19 in the Ekal Villages. They are quite isolated and hence would be safe. However there are city volunteers that visit the villages. Keeping in mind the safety of our villagers and volunteers we have shut down all Ekal related activities. 
We also have shutdown or Ekal on wheels, Computer lab and Tailoring centers until March 31, 2020.

How is the health and hygiene amongst Ekal Children? 

Health and hygiene is central to the Ekal curriculum.  Washing hands and   taking a daily bath is emphasized in the Ekal schools. Yoga, Pranayam (breathing techniques) are also part of the core teachings at Ekal and helps build immunity. It is indeed wonderful to see the visionary nature of the Ekal Curriculum builders become so incredibly useful during this health crisis.

What efforts are being done to build health awareness amongst the adults? 

The village leaders have been provided extensive information on the virus and have been asked to share it with villagers. Social distancing , hand washing and quarantine for people visiting from the cities are emphasized. Also villagers are asked to not congregate for festivals, despite this being Navarthri, an important time in the villages. They have also been warned against superstitious beliefs. 

There are some efforts underway to train the village women on making masks at the tailoring centers which will commence after the lockdown is released.

Are there options for using E-learning in the villages?

We have nearly 1200 schools where E-Shiksha, tablet based learning happens. It is times like these that really makes us wish all our villages have tablets. We want to reach all 100,000 schools by 2025.

Are they receiving the directions given by the government and state authorities? 

We have a strong infrastructure that comes in very handy at such difficult times.  We quickly share all messages with our over 100,000 villages since we have a credible presence in the villages and communication with the district headquarters.

Ekal in the US

What will happen to the fundraising efforts?

Considering the safety of our artists, volunteers, donors and supporters we had to take the very difficult decision to cancel all our annual musical concert events. The Ekal Kalakars had come all the way from the villages of India for the performance. We are happy to report that the Kalakars have arrived safely at their homes with no untoward incidents and we are very grateful. When things are more settled we will make a decision on the remaining events for the year. 

Though there are no events can I still donate?

We thank you for your kindness and compassion. Please go to https://www.ekal.org/us/donate.

What are the main concerns for Ekal USA?

Our primary concern is for the good health of our volunteers, donors,supporters, and community at large. We pray that all are safe and this difficult situation passes within a few weeks.

What is the hope for the future? 

Ekal supporters have surely accrued much good karma by supporting the most under-served community. We feel confident that all will be well and with the picture of the smile of the Ekal children in our minds we will be filled with great joy. Several Ekal volunteers are making masks. 

If you have any questions 
Please write to ekalusa@ekal.org or call 281-668-5982 or call our local volunteers. Also Visit www.ekal.org

Ekal USA Executive Committee,
Ekal USA Board of Directors, 
Ekal USA Regional Presidents 
Ekal USA Chapter Presidents 
Ekal Abhiyan India
And all Volunteers

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