EKAL Dallas Has a Successful "Eradicate Illiteracy" Drive

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Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of USA – Dallas Chapter, had a successful fundraising concert on July 30, 2006 at Irving, Texas. The Sunil Mungee group gave an outstanding performance of classical Indian music. The audience responded to appeals by Ekal fundraisers by donating generously towards Ekal Dallas’ Illiteracy Eradication drive. Donations poured in from most in attendance, including a 6 year old from Plano, Texas, Ashna Ahuja. Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of USA is a registered, 501(c) (3) non-profit organization.

We hope that patrons from the concert will pledge additional schools in the coming weeks and months, and we also hope to hear from donors who could not make it to the event

Ekal Vidyalaya of Dallas, a charity specializing in the eradication of illiteracy in rural parts of India, had a successful fundraising concert event on Sunday, July 30th, at Irving, Texas. The crowd was thrilled at the classical music from the Kumar Sunil Mungee group, and gave the group a standing ovation for their entertaining music. The good mood of the crowd was also reflected in the generous donations by almost every attending patron. "I have never seen such good fundraising where people were so moved that almost everyone donated", observed Mr. Ramesh Gupta, a community leader and a donor to Ekal.

An eight minute video was shown during the concert, which highlighted the pressing need to educate kids of all ages that 'cannot even read or write their own names'. The video showed the innocent, happy and glowing faces of kids that were going through an EKAL education, and were beginning to read and write. Patrons were then requested to participate in this 'Eradicate illiteracy' drive by donating whatever amounts they were comfortable with. A patron had the choice of sponsoring an Ekal school, which typically is 60 kids strong. Ekal Vidyalaya is a Sanskrit term and it means 'one teacher school'.

"Ekal operates exclusively in tribal and rural areas in India" said Pankaj Udeshi, an Ekal Dallas Vice President in charge of the event.

The president of Ekal Dallas, Mr. Dhiren Kuntawala said "Ekal is able to run a school for a year for a mere 15,000 Indian Rupees, which comes to about 365 US dollars a year, or a dollar a day. The reason they are able to make do with this little is because of the more than 5,000 volunteers who help Ekal achieve its goal of being one of the best managed, lowest overhead charities anywhere". "Ekal's overhead typically hovers around 10 percent", said Mr. Kuntawala.

While most donors pledged varying amounts, these amounts were typically in multiples of $ 365, indicating their desire to help open that many schools. One donor, who wished to remain anonymous, pledged $10,000 which will be enough to start about 27 new schools. Another pledge consisted of an offer to support 50 schools over a five year period.

While the pledges are still pouring in, a total of 150 schools have already been pledged so far for this year, which "will give new hope to about 9,000 illiterate children" said Hasu Tailor, a long time Ekal volunteer, and Vice President in charge of membership. A total of about 250 schools were pledged for a five year period she reported. Mr. Kuntawala, Ekal Dallas President added "We hope that patrons from the concert will pledge additional schools in the coming weeks and months, and we also hope to hear from donors who could not make it to the event".

Ashna Ahuja, a 6 year old from Plano, Texas, decided to come up to the stage and plead with all attendees to help those 'long distance cousins of ours' in India, referring to the kids shown on the eight minute video. "My Swamiji from my Chinmaya Mission says 'Giving to the needy is good for the heart and soul' ", said Ashna, referring to her religious Guru or teacher. On a related note, an Ekal volunteer from Dallas, Texas talked about his research into the charitable aspects of different religions. He cited quotations from religious books of many religions and concluded that when it comes to religious teachings, all religions repeatedly stress the importance of charity.

A lot of patrons checked in a box on the pledge card indicating their desire to 'volunteer their time for Ekal' and thus be part of this noble cause. By doing so they will "help Ekal realize its dream to eradicate illiteracy in tribal and rural areas of India by the year 2012" said Purnima Kara, Vice President of Ekal Dallas in charge of Promotions.

Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of USA is a registered 501©(3) non-profit organization. It seeks to eradicate illiteracy through primary, non-formal, need based education in tribal and remote areas of India.

For more information: http://www.ekal.org

Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of the USA

Contact Person: Abhishek Sonthalia

Telephone: 972-999-5897

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