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Ekal Foundation Reports Higher Donations in 2010

HOUSTON: The national leadership of Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of USA (EVFUSA) held a highly successful mid-year meeting in Houston from April 8 through April 10. EVFUSA is a charitable foundation with the mission to help disadvantaged children in the rural and tribal areas of India through education related to basic literacy, personal hygiene and basic health care, economic upliftment and social empowerment. The Board of Directors and the Executive Committee members travelled from all over United States.

Mr. Subhash Gupta, President of EVFUSA, reported that Ekal Foundation was currently running a record 34,343 schools and educating 1,030,290 children all over India. EVFUSA through its fundraising events raised a record $3.5 million, up from $3.3 million a year ago, despite economic meltdown. Currently, contributions from USA support about 9550 one-teacher schools in India.

Ekal USA added five new chapters, in Las Vegas, Portland, North Jersey, Delaware, and Northeast PA, bringing the total number of active chapters to 34. Mr. Gupta also cited that various youth clubs were very active in creating awareness and raising funds for education in tribal India. Such as Sachi Dave, 16 years old, from New York, and Vidya Sreenath, 5, from Houston, donated their birthday gifts to Ekal. Mr. Ashok Danda, Secretary said at the national office in Houston, the efficiencies and cost saving measures has been added to make it a successful organization.  Mr. Pawan Sharda, Treasurer, gave the Foundation’s financial report and informed the leadership that the cost ratio was kept in check at 5% of total revenue and the total donations received had increased by 4.4% compared with 2009.

Ramesh Shah, Chairman of the Board, facilitated productive and lively discussions on several pilot initiatives, including “Leveraging newer technologies and computers in rural education”, “improving vaccination rates in villages”, “techniques to improve economic return from village-based enterprises” and other innovative projects. These efforts are in keeping with Ekal’s objective of holistic village development.

“The highlight of the meeting was the deliberation and adoption of new Bylaws to facilitate more effective implementation of EVFUSA goals and objectives”, said Dr. Sudhir Prabhu, Vice-Chair of the Board, from Jacksonville, FL. Last year three Boards of directors, Dr. Yash Lakra, Jyotish Parekh and Ram Nehra, retired and Dr. Sudhir Prabhu, Dr. Surendra Garg and Mr. Jugal Malani were elected for three-year term effective Jan 1, 2011. The out-of-town guests were most appreciative of the warm weather and warm hospitality of the Houston Team.

Every year, Ekal Vidyalaya’s fund raising programs are organized in 45 cities around USA. This year’s program features the musical group of Manoj Mishra and Nirupama Dey, who are well known singers in India. Ekal officials have received spectacular reviews from the cities where the events have already taken place. People who attended the show were highly pleased with high quality of singing from Mishra, Dey and their team of musicians.

In addition to fund-raisers featuring entertainment, Ekal also held full and half marathon runs in several cities in which all Indian Americans and non-Indian Americans participated. Last year,  Ekal commissioned a yearlong “Social Impact Study” to determine impact of Ekal Vidyalayas on village upliftment. This study is being conducted by Indian Institute of Management (IIM) and Tata Dhan Academy. The report is expected in July 2011. Ekal’s concept of one-teacher schools and their contribution to literacy and empowerment of citizens in the rural and tribal areas of India have been roundly applauded by the state governments and social organizations. Ekal received the “Meri Dilli Award” in the field of literacy from Speaker of Delhi Assembly, a further testimonial to Ekal’s contribution. This is in addition to the highest award by Bharat Vikas Parishad (India Development Council) conferred on Ekal by retired justices of India.   This year’s Houston program is on April, 23, Saturday, at the New Stafford Center, 10505 Cash Road in Stafford. The program will start with dinner at 6 p.m. and the concert at 7:30 p.m. and continue till midnight. The tickets are only $30 per person. For more information about Ekal Vidyalaya USA, contact Subhash Gupta at 1-855-EKALUSA (352-5872) or email ekalusa@ekalvidya.org.

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