Ekal Vidyalaya Gala Funds Over 900 Schools in India

Chairman of Ekal Global Ramesh Shah and his wife Kokilaben Shah

Chairman of Ekal Global Ramesh Shah and his wife Kokilaben Shah

By Niki Khambe

HOUSTON: Once again it was that time of the year when Ekal Vidyalaya organized their annual fundraiser. Over 1150 people – it was a full house – gathered at the Stafford Center of Performing Arts, on Cash Road on Friday May 3.  Prior to the show in the auditorium, everyone was treated to a buffet style vegetarian dinner in partitioned thalis, catered by Bhojan restaurant, in the large banquet hall.


This year the organizers had invited the mellifluous Sanjeevani Bhelande, who has many Bollywood hits to her credit. The first ever winner of the Sa Re Ga Ma TV talent show, Sanjeevani mesmerized the audience with her soulful voice and sang Hindi classics and songs in 4 different languages. The overwhelmed crowd couldn’t stop cheering ‘once more’ and applauding the seven time Sa Re Ga Ma winner Chirag Panchal. The talented team also included Mohit Shastry on keyboard and flute, Amit Mehta on tabla and dholak and Rupesh Rane on percussion.

Key note speakers of the evening were Chairman of Ekal Global Ramesh Shah and his wife Kokilaben Shah. They related their experience of visiting 100 schools over the past 4 months and how the families in rural villages strive to earn their living and are also enthusiastic to learn in school.

Sanjeevani Bhelande performing at the Ekal Vidyalaya annual fundraiser on Friday, May 3. Photos: Kirthi Jain

Sanjeevani Bhelande performing at the Ekal Vidyalaya annual fundraiser on Friday, May 3.
Photos: Kirthi Jain

Ramesh Shah added that “there are children attending government schools and yet again in the evening they come to Ekal schools because it is the only place where they get true value based education. They were overjoyed to see someone taking efforts to travel from thousands of miles and taking interest in their lives.” The usually media shy person Kokilaben requested the audience to visit at least one school in their lifetime and experience the simple yet tough life of villagers. The life is filled with hardships due to corruption and exploitation.

The Houston chapter president Nikhil Mehta gave a warm welcome to all old and young entrepreneurs and professionals, retired donors and graduates with open heart and stretched arms. His visit to Uttranchal made him realize that the children can not do it without help from someone like us, who are very fortunate & grateful. He quoted the Ekal Vidyalaya founder, Shyamji Gupt “Ekal ko apni sarthakta sidhh karni hai (Ekal has to prove its significance).” He also explained how we can play role of Shri Ram in someone’s life and nurture every tiny seed to become a Hanuman.

The emcee for the evening Nikita Khambe also made an impactful appeal. “The Shakti of the family, the woman must be educated and empowered for enriching their lives. We should not be mute bystanders to corruption and exploitation,” she stated, adding “Ekal Vidyalaya nurtures individuals into responsible citizens who can fight against all obstacles.”

The hard work and effort put in by all the volunteers: Dharmendra Shah, Hitesh Shah, Sudarshan Belose, Sujan Patel, Margi Shah, Pooja Shah, Pratik Kapadia, Uday Gandhy, Shruti Gandhy and Siddhi Dave helped to pull the event together seamlessly and efficiently.

The triumphant event collected donations for over 900 schools and would brighten day to day life of nearly 80,000 families. Gopal Savjani and Pankaj Maheshwari were awarded Donors of the Decade for their contribution of over 300 schools. Concerts in Dallas and Austin raised money for over 200 schools.

Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of USA is a tax exempt, registered non-profit service organization dedicated to education and village development in rural India.  Ekal’s philosophy is to take a holistic approach to social and economic development. The Ekal movement is the largest, grassroots level, non-government education movement in India, operating in over 48,000 villages and educating over 1.4 million children in rural India.