Ekal Vidyalaya’s Annual Fundraising Event Raises Funds for Over 1,400 Schools


Dr. Renu Khator, President and Chancellor of U of H, addresses the audience

HOUSTON: Thanks to the generosity of local Indian diaspora, the Houston Chapter of Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation successfully raised over $525,000 in charitable donations to fund over 1400 non-formal schools across tribal and rural India at the Chapter’s annual fundraising event, held on Saturday, August 27. There are over 1.5 million children in over 55,000 Ekal schools across the country.

The event, held at Stafford Center of Performing Arts, included a dinner and the Bollywood song entertainment program, titled ‘Ek Alag Si Shaam’.  The program was performed by a very talented group of local Houston artists, led by Salil Bhadekar, the famed Sa Re Ga Ma Pa winner of both Hindi and Marathi editions. About 1200 attendees were thoroughly entertained by Salil and the female vocalist, Manik Joshi, and their musicians, as the three-hour long concert took them down the memory lane, with thoughtfully composed sequences of songs, originally sung by the stalwarts, such as Kishore Kumar, Mohammad Rafi, Yesudas, Manna Day, Lata Mangeshkar, and Asha Bhosle, among others.  The sold-out auditorium at Stafford Center turned into cheering and singing along audience, as Salil delivered some of super hits of the yester years in an inimitably entertaining style. As the night progressed, Salil and his crew also enthralled the audience with their farmaish songs – having received close to hundred individual song requests during the breaks.


Dr. Anupam Ray, Consul General of India (Houston), addresses the audience

The event kicked off with the “lamp lighting” (removing darkness of illiteracy with light of education) ceremony led by the Consul General of India, Dr. Anupam Ray. Many prominent local philanthropists and dignitaries, including Dr. Renu Khator, the Chancellor and the President of University of Houston, also participated.  Naren Chavda, the President of Ekal Houston Chapter, welcomed the guests and talked about the tremendous progress made by the Ekal movement in the 26 years since its inception. He also expressed his gratitude to the guests and donors for their generous pledges sponsoring Ekal schools.  A captivating Ekal Abhiyan DVD was played (also found on YouTube, titled, “Ekal Stepping Forward 2016”).


Salil Bhadekar and his crew in action, mesmerizing the audiences with their performance

A few of the attending dignitaries, including Drs. Ray and Khator, as well as some of the new Ekal donors, made a brief appeal for the charitable cause, while articulating their passion and commitment to the Ekal mission. Among many volunteers helping ensure a smooth and well-coordinated event, noteworthy mentions were high school and college students from the area.  Their enthusiasm to give time for charitable causes was evident, especially in light of the new school year having just started.

“The passion, support and commitment of our donors and the dedication of our volunteers made this event such a success,” said Dr. Vivek Pradhan, Ekal Houston Chapter PR Officer, in his Vote of Thanks.  “While much has been accomplished, a great deal more needs to be done to maintain the momentum in this journey.” asserted the new, incoming Ekal Houston Chapter President, Pankaj Desai, while also personally acknowledging multiple Ekal donors.


Ekal volunteers with Salil Bhadekar and team

About The Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation, USA: The Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation is a tax exempt, registered, non-profit service organization dedicated to bringing education & village development to rural India. The overriding philosophy is to take a holistic approach to social and economic development. The Ekal movement is the largest grassroots, non-government education movement operating in remote and tribal villages of India. Ekal presently operates in 55,000+ villages, educating over 1.5 million children. Ekal Vidyalaya’s goal is to raise the necessary funds to run 100,000 non-formal schools across tribal and rural India by the end of 2015.

For further information visit www.ekal.org and click on Who We Are or What We Do, or contact us at ekalusa@ekal.org. For further details contact Dr. Vivek Pradhan, Public Relations Office, Ekal Houston Chapter, vivek.pradhan.hou@gmail.com