Ekal National Conference 2023 organized in Atlanta
The Ekal National Conference is an annual event where like-minded individuals, volunteers, and leaders unite to discuss, plan, and execute strategies to further the organization's mission. The event is a testament to the collective dedication of over 120 volunteers from the USA, Canada, and India who attended this extraordinary gathering.
[Left] Conference Food committee
Ekal Atlanta, under the leadership of the Chapter President Shiv Aggarwal, had the honor of hosting the event. The unwavering commitment and hard work were evident throughout the conference—from meticulous event planning to the heartwarming gala on Saturday evening.
The Atlanta Chapter strives to meet its goals and beyond as it knows the importance of Ekal USA's contributions, which accounted for one-third of the total funds.
Ekal’s National Conference started with the auspicious lamp lighting ceremony. A significant event featured engaging discussions, informative presentations, and enriching experiences for the Ekal mission of education of underprivileged children, women empowerment, computer labs, and e-learning centres. Other programs like GramothaanYojna, Ekal USA Catalyst Group, PoshanVatika, Arogya, Integrated Village Development, and efforts to train acharyas were highlighted. The event aimed to continue the mission of Ekal Vidyalaya, inspired by the words of Swami Vivekananda: "If a child cannot go to school, the school must go to the child." The primary goal for the year 2024 is to raise one million dollars to support this noble cause. The Jugalbandi app used by Indian farmers and Ekal's mission of involving youth and expanding its reach in South India was discussed.
The event commenced with an address by seven regional and eleven chapter heads who highlighted their accomplishments and challenges, the importance of faster responses from India, logistics and event coordination, and suggestions for new initiatives like RavanDahan, Ekal tree, and more.
The gala on Saturday evening was graced by State Representative Matt Reeves and local donors from the Atlanta area.
The event was emceed by Atlanta Chapter volunteer, Neetu Singh. The event started with musical performances featuring iconic songs like "Yeh Shaam Mastani," "Pyaar Deewana Hota Hai.”
[Left] Ekal On Wheel Seniors
There were performances by the volunteers of Atlanta Chapter such as a song by Atlanta Chapter Senior VP Ajay Upadhyaya and songs by the Chapter volunteer Suresh Iyer. Shyam Gupta sang songs like “Yeh ChaandSa,” “Deewana Hua Badaal.”
Food Committee volunteers with Shivji
Nritya NatyaKala Bharti presented a semi-classical piece on the song "Breathless" which fuses both Kathak as well as modern and lyrical techniques. Jigna and her friends presented a riveting dance, and to mark the commencement of the Navratri festival, a beautiful energetic garbo called “VaagyoRe Dhole!”
The captivating fashion show directed by Sirisha and performed by her friends, represented a set of highly inspirational and motivating women who have made the change in their own way to themselves and to the society. The magic show by Subhash Jain also enthralled the audience.
[Right] Shivji with Senator
In addition to singing, Shyam Gupta also provided the sound systems for the event.
The Atlanta Chapter volunteers served delicious Indian foods under the leadership of Kusum Khurana. The team graciously provided scrumptious Indian breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Tea and refreshments were provided by The Vishwa Hindu Parishad of Atlanta. Attendees were also handed lunch packets for their travel back home.
The event left volunteers reenergized and motivated to continue their dedicated efforts to make a positive impact on the lives of children in need. The next year's conference will be hosted in San Antonio, Texas, promising even more opportunities for growth and impact.
The event concluded with announcements of the new board members for 2024, a spiritual note with a mantra, and illuminating hope for a brighter future.
- Achala Kanungo and Mahadev Desai; photos by Rajesh Khanna Photography
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