Ek Sham Ekal Ke Naam raises $87,500 for Ekal Vidyalayas in India
Atlanta Chapter of Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of USA organized a music and dance event Ek Shaam Ekal Ke Naam on Saturday, December 4, 2021, at the Impact Center of Global Mall in Norcross.
[Left] Students of Geet-Rung School of Dance and Music perform at Ek Shaam Ekal Ke Naam.
Despite Covid protocols and limited seating, the event turned out to be a sold-out fundraiser program. The program was beautifully conceptualized, choreographed and coordinated by Geet-Rung School of Dance and Music’s Divya Srivastava and Pankaj Bhargava. The audience was treated to myriad colors with a vintage repertoire of songs and delightful presentation of an enthralling mix of old classics, ghazals, 90’s hits and new upbeat foot-tapping numbers by Atlanta’s popular vocal artists Pankaj Bhargava, Anupama Krishnan, Anita Gupta and beautiful strumming by renowned guitarist Gurinder Negi. The audience enjoyed evergreen Bollywood songs from yesteryears which got the VIPs, the audience and the singers on the dance floor. The riveting dances of the talented students of Geet-Rung School of Dance and Music added additional color and flair to the evening.
As always with Ekal’s program, the evening included a sumptuous dinner during the meet and greet hour before the entertainment program began. After enjoying delectable appetizers, entrees and desserts catered by Ashiana Restaurant and socializing with other members of the Ekal family, the attendees were warmly welcomed by emcees, GA Events Coordinator Neetu Singh Chauhan and Rachna Gupta. This was followed by Ajay Upadhyaya, Regional Vice President’s inspirational welcome song Jeeven Se Bhari Teri Aankhein which he sang to a presentation that reflected Ekal kids and their innocent eyes which connected the audience to Ekal’s cause.
The veritable dance and musical feast was graced by the presence of Dr. Rich McCormick, the newly redrawn 6th Congressional District’s candidate for 2022; Dilip Tunki, City Council Elect for Johns Creek; Neera Bahl, Appellate Division Judge, Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation; Harsha Agadi who has served as CEO for classic American brands like Crawford, Friendly’s Ice cream, Church’s Chicken and Little Caesars; and Rina Gupta, a steadfast Ekal volunteer and representative of 27th Investments.
Ekal Atlanta Chapter President and owner of Global Mall, Shiv Aggarwal, invited the guests of honor to light the traditional lamp which was followed by a traditional invocation dance by Geet-Rung students.
Preeti Tanwar’s presentation highlighted Ekal’s one-teacher school model followed all over India. For an annual sponsorship of only $365, Ekal has brought literacy and life-enriching opportunities to over 10 million students in 102,000 rural villages. Each Ekal school provides basic education to nearly 20-30 students with an almost equal boy-girl ratio. The Ekal program of free basic primary education has beenexpanded to provide vocational training, social empowerment, and healthcare for adults resulting in far-reaching changes in neglected villages of India and Nepal. Ekal’s telemedicine and tailoring centers have been very active during the Covid pandemic producing much-needed masks and providing training to local women to use mobile phone-based telemedicine toolkit to help triage common ailments or connect to a doctor using videoconferencing.
[Top] Ek Shaam Ekal Ke Naam was well attended by supporters.
Samiksha Gaherwar, Ekal’s Youth wing volunteer, described the internships, Presidential Service Award, workshops, special projects, fundraising and public relations activities available; and invited the youth to connect with the National Board, start a high school chapter, or hold workshops. With all these activities and opportunities, Ekal has chapters in Australia, Canada, Dubai, New Zealand, United Kingdom and United States.
Through the presentation, the audience got a chance to understand the huge social impact their $365 contribution would make. Many sponsored Ekal schools on the spot to reach a total of 222 schools in just four hours. Several members renewed sponsorships of their currently assigned schools which are being run in their own name or in memory of their parents. 31 new sponsors became a part of the Ekal family for the first time. Sponsors can track their school at www.ekal.org, connect with Ekal on Facebook and Twitter, or visit an Ekal school as part of the Vana-yatra program.
All members of the Ekal family worked hand-in-hand to make the evening memorable with Sandeep Savla installing the screen and projector, Sushma Patel providing an elegant backdrop, VHPA serving the much-needed chai-paani along with all the artists, students, sponsors, donors, volunteers and supporters.
The energy and cheerfulness was palpable, and as joyful music and songs continued providing evening’s entertainment, more and more attendees took to the open dance floor. All in all, it was a well-orchestrated, enthusiastic, engaging, much appreciated and enjoyable program for a very worthy cause.
—Rachna Gupta and Mahadev Desai
Photos by Deepak Naik and Dipti Trivedi
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