New York: On November 13, “Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation (EVF)” raised over $4 million in a star-studded virtual Gala called ‘Future of India’ that highlighted eminent speakers, Ekal’s eclectic accomplishments and youth’s contributions to its mission.
The two-hour event, co-chaired by Mohan Wanchoo and Kamlesh Shah, both successful entrepreneurs and philanthropist, saw consistent overwhelming response from the donors, from the moment it opened up till it was capped by youthful entertainment by “Penn-Masala’, a youthful group of famous singers from the University of Pennsylvania.
The funds raised at the Gala were for specific projects, such as tailoring training centers, E-shiksha, Ekal-on-Wheels, Telemedicine, Gramotthan
Mohan Wanchoo, who pioneered Gala events at Ekal, regaled viewers with a personal story of how hospitable tribal villagers were in the midst of a horrific tragedy that they had endured earlier. As a professional singer he mesmerized the viewers with an inspiring song in his melodious voice. Kamlesh Shah elaborated on Ekal’s aggressive fight with Covid-19 pandemic and the steps that were taken to fight misinformation about the virus and the treatment.
From the interspersed interviews of rural children, it was quite evident that Ekal has fired up their imagination to aspire for becoming Doctors, Soldiers, Teachers etc. Ekal’s women-centric empowerment activities and education as a tool for progress touched a nerve with all three chief guest speakers who wholeheartedly supported Ekal’s selfless mission for the future of India.
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, founder of Biocon and recipient of ‘Padma Bhushan’ honor, emphasized the need for digital tracking of patients by the tech-savvy nursing caretakers, as the core point for managing the pandemic.
Coming from a humble family, Renu Khator, President of University of Houston system chancellor, stressed on the important role education has played throughout her stellar career. She lauded EVF’s efforts for women empowerment.
Naren Chaudhary, CEO of the highly successful ‘Panera Bread’ brand, explained how his daughter –Aisha – was the central motivating factor in whatever he did in his life. He expressed unequivocal passion for his country – India–where he had witnessed the ‘spirit of humanity’ in his own time of acute need to save Aisha.
Ranjani Saigal, the Executive Director of Ekal-USA assured him that his daughter’s legacy lives through what Ekal does best. For every $1 a donor invests in Ekal activities, Ekal volunteers provide $8 worth of selfless volunteer efforts. Ekal’s youth-wing had raised a substantial amount of funding to arrest the spread of Covid pandemic. During the Gala, they freely talked about what attracted them most to this largest social endeavor, supported by the Indians and NRIs, in dozens of countries. Ekal supports all its activities without any regards to a particular region, religion or gender.
A galaxy of Bollywood Stars – from Hema Malini, Boney Kapoor, Subhash Ghai to Varun Dhavan, Udit Narayan and Alia Bhatt – provided glitz with their enthusiastic support for Ekal.