Ekal ki Shaam: A Night of Music and Empowerment for Rural India

Ekal youth volunteers gathered for a group photo.

HOUSTON: The Ekal Houston chapter brought an exclusive live fund-raising event – EKAL Ki Shaam – to Indian and Mashup music lovers in the Houston Metro area. The audience was entertained by an energetic band and delicious dinner on Saturday, June 8, 2024. The Houston team shared Ekal-inspired successes in India, including women empowerment, organic farming, digital literacy, health education/delivery, and child education.  The event enabled Ekal to raise about $718,000 which covers  funds for about 1000 plus schools and empowerment programs including tailoring centers, digital literacy, computer labs, organic farming education and health in the India’s rural villages which can empower about 60,000 young learners, male and female.

Some of the executive volunteers (front row) Rajeev Aluru (front left)m Prakash Shah, and Yogi Patel. (back row) Pooja Shah, Sheetal Sashital, Srilatha Alluru, Darshana Patel, Vandita Joshi, Uma Dama, Rashmi Nalgikar.

The event was held at the GSH Event Center of Houston. The overwhelming number of Ekal donors, patrons, and well-wishers socialized over a sumptuous dinner catered by Bhojan. The enthusiastic audience was entertained by Din Check – New England’s premier Bollywood band. Started in a basement in suburban Massachusetts in 2010, The band has been entertaining Indians for over 12 years now. The band has a full ensemble including vocalists, guitar, bass, keyboards, and acoustic drums, and is popular for its high-energy shows. Touching upon all genres, popular singers, and eras, the band appeals to people of all ages. Din Check’s repertoire spans multiple languages, including Hindi, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, and Gujarati, and unique fusions or “mashups” of popular American rock and Indian music. Special dance by Houston’s own Kajal Desai ( accomplished dancer and owner of Bollywood dance school for young budding artists) stood out as a special attraction.

Ekal stalwarts Kokila and Ramesh Shah in front of the rural setting created for the fund-raising event.

After the dinner, the program was kicked off by Rajeev Aluru- Ekal Houston chapter President who welcomed the guests and dignitaries. The stage was then taken over by the energy of Din Check, presenting a bounty of new and old songs from multiple languages. The evening continued with short clips of Ekal activities in India preceded by a speech from our Regional President Yogi Patel. The evening continued with more music with the singers joining the dancing audience on the floor with on-the-spot medleys to further energize them.

The event would not have been possible without the support of our EKAL youth volunteers. Led by Abhay Kakumani, the EKAL youth were instrumental in the smooth running of the event, conducting registration, seating, and running the donation tables. The EKAL youth are the future of EKAL, and having so many young leaders coming out in support of EKAL gives us hope for a brighter future for our fellow children in India.

Finally, the event team wishes to convey a special thank you to the chief guests of the evening – Consulate General of India-Houston, elected representatives from Fort Bend County, Harris County, Yogi Patel, Ekal Southwest Regional President; Ekal volunteers; and Ekal Houston Chapter leadership, current and past.

Your donation will educate children, empower women with tailoring skills, nurture poshanvatika (organic farming) for healthy village life, help bring the tribal youth closer to city dwellers by giving digital education to them, and much more. We encourage you to support Ekal’s mission. You are just a click away from making that important contribution, go to https://www.ekal.org/us/donate and click the DONATE button on the top right of the page.