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Georgia physicians support Ekal Vidyalaya schools in India

By: Mahadev Desai
February 2011
Georgia physicians support Ekal Vidyalaya schools in India The Georgia Association of Physicians of Indian Heritage (GAPI) organized its Atlanta regional meeting and musical night around a laudable cause: supporting the Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation (EVF), a nonprofit that runs a unique people’s movement which provides nonformal, one-teacher schools for disadvantaged and neglected tribal children—free basic education, healthcare, vocational training, and social and community empowerment.

The event, held at the Palace Restaurant in Norcross on Saturday, December 4, was cosponsored by Prime Agency LLC, and was attended by GAPI members and many other physicians from Georgia. Also attending were Dr. Tarak Vasavada, President of the Alabama Association of Physicians of Indian Heritage (aAPI), Dr. Avadhesh Sharma, President of the Association of Scientists of Indian Origin in America (ASIOA), and Shiv Aggarwal, President of the Atlanta chapter of Ekal Vidyalaya.

Just before the main event, during social hour, attendees visited booths: David Hesler, accounting; Camellia Home Health; Synergy America, staffing and consulting; and Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation, to name a few.

Dr. Sreeni Gangasani, cardiologist, Chief of the Department of Medicine at Gwinnett Health System, and GAPI President, welcomed all and thanked the sponsors. He reviewed GAPI’s activities, aimed to help not only its members but also the community at large through outreach programs such as health fairs.

Dax Cooke of LPL Financial explained “Estate Planning for Changing Tax Laws and How to Protect Your Money,” complete with interesting scenarios.

An interventional cardiologist from Texas, Dr. Annie Varughese, MD, and Ms. Jan Bloom, spoke on a preventive or dietary approach to controlling hyperlipidemia, “Hyperlipidemia beyond Statins and How to Improve Your Practice Cash Flow.” Dr. Varughese presented data from controlled trials at well-known medical research institutes, and Ms. Bloom talked about her personal family story of benefits from the use of specially formulated dietary supplements.

Following Harish Thadani’s talk on “A Unique Long Term Cash Product,” attendees heard an enlightening presentation on Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation by Ajay Upadhyaya, an Ekal volunteer. Ekal’s philosophy is based on Swami Vivekananda’s idea that if the child cannot go to the school, let the school go to the child. The Ekal movement is operating in over 34,000 villages and educating over one million children in rural India. The EVF in India and America are working earnestly to raise funds to build 100,000 nonformal schools across the tribal belt by the year 2011. An Ekal school needs only $365 a year to run.

Following the inspirational presentation, Dr.Gangasani announced a generous donation of $1,000 on behalf of GAPI. He also made a personal pledge of $365, to support one school for one year. GAPI’s immediate past President, Dr.Santanu Das and GAPI Secretary Dr. Gaur also praised Ekal’s mission to eradicate illiteracy among tribal people. GAPI President-Elect Dr. Dilip Patel exhorted attendees to emulate the generous gesture of Dr.Gangasani and support EVF. Fifteen more pledges were received.

Time to unwind—during dinner, Dr. Dilip Patel introduced Huntsville, Alabama’s well known urologist and the founder of Geetanjali Music Group, Dr. Amit Chakrabarty, who presented a medley of old and new hit songs to karaoke music and regaled the audience with amusing parody and comedy. His daughter Aparita also sang, while DJ Shyam Brahmbhatt managed the audio. The inviting music soon had people up and dancing.

Dr. Avadesh Sharma announced the upcoming annual meeting of ASIOA in Suwanee, Georgia, on January 15-17, 2011. Dr. Gangasani thanked Shiv Aggarwal and Ekal volunteers Sant Khanna, Chander Aggarwal, Mrs. Manjula Reddy, Malla Reddy, and Kaushik Mantri, as well as Arun and Manjula Kothari of the Palace Restaurant. The GAPI and EVF plan to continue working together for this good cause.

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