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Music Concert Raises Funds For Tribal Education

Press Release

Framingham, MA - Mar.2005- “If a child cannot go to the education….the education should go to the child”. While saying these famous words, Swami Vivekananda should have foreseen the mission of Ekal Vidyalaya (Single Teacher School) in the remote tribal villages of India still inaccessible to the modern day materialistic civilization. These villages have been the cultural base-line of India and the current experience confirms that they are the development fate line of India. The Ekal Vidyalaya Movement brings non-formal holistic education to the door-step of villages, where children are offered.

The Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of USA, New England section organized a fundraising music concert by Sushil Bavej and Ashok Pandey at at Keefe Tech High School in Framingham.. The artists have performed in the super-hit series ‘Ramayana’.  Over $10,000 was raised for the foundation.

Following the social hour, the program began with the lighting of lamp -‘Deep Prajwalan’ by Mrs. Jaishree Deshpande, wife of the chief guest Dr. Gururaj Deshpande, the CEO of the illustrious software company Sycamore Networks. This was followed by the invocation of Knowledge Goddess-‘Sawarwati Vandana’ by Mrs. Jaya Asthana. Bhajans (Devotional songs) by the artist followed. The audience was captivated by the sheer skill of the artists and the symphony of the performance. One great feature of the concert was that the artists involved the crowd at every stage to sing with them which made the evening even more memorable.  Mrs. Neena Mohanka did a great job anchoring the event with some beautiful fillers of poetry. After the mesmerizing performance of devotional music, a small documentary film ‘Jagriti’ was staged. The literal meaning of jagriti is awakening to light which is precisely the aim of the movement. This film shows the change of villages in Dhanbad, the first district in India were the movement started in 1988.

After the intermission Ashwini Javlekar, an 8th grader at Gibbon’s Middle School, Westborough, MA who had visited a couple of Ekal Vidyalayas this winter and gave a very methodical overview of her personal experiences. This was followed by the recognition of chief guest by Dr. Mahesh Mehta, who is a member of the advisory board of VHP (World Hindu Council) of America. The chief guest, Dr. Gururaj Deshpande, a highly reputed software entrepreneur and the CEO of Sycamore Networks spoke about the importance of education and promised full support to the movement. He said that education is one of the most essential parts of life and the Ekal Vidyalaya Movement is doing a great job by spreading it to the remotest parts of India. He also emphasized the role of wealth distribution in societies as a direct function of the educational and professional skills of an individual and is completely appropriate with the movement since the students and their parents are also taught ways to self-employment in the villages. The aim of Ekal Vidyalaya Movement is to establish 100,000 single teacher schools by the end of the year 2012 which will completely transform the social fabric of India. Readers will be delighted to know that there are already 15,809 schools in operation and it takes only $365 to run a school for one year. A typical school comprises of 30-40 kids and because of education, the positive impact of the rural society is tremendous. This is the most cost-effective way of spreading education and social - awareness anywhere in the world.

Dr. Anupam Wali, the president of Indian Association of Greater Boston then thanked the artists for coming all the way from India for this noble cause.  The artists changed gear in the second half of the program and presented patriotic songs and Gazals.  Ashok Pandey gave an interesting presentation on creating sound effects for films on the Tabla.

After the concert, Mr. Sudhir Parikh, one of the co-founders of the Satsang center of Woburn appealed to the crowd to support the movement for an educated and prosperous India. A vote of thanks by Mr. Ram Nehra, the regional vice-president of the Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of USA, New England Section brought the event to a conclusion.

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