BY MAHADEV DESAI
Photos by ByteGraph
Atlanta, GA, April 2017: On Sunday, March 12, Atlanta was in for a treat when a group of performers from Ekal India performed at Berkmar High School in Lilburn, GA to entertain Atlanta residents. These performers have been past students and teachers of Ekal Vidyalaya and came to US specifically to generate awareness about Ekal and appreciate the donors for their support.
Ekal, a 501(c) (3) tax-exempt non-profit entity has been working since 1986 in neglected rural and tribal areas to eradicate illiteracy. It operates and supports innovative, single teacher non-formal schools for underserved communities, providing free basic education, healthcare, vocational training and empowering them. With support from 42 United States’ chapters and those in Australia,Canada,Dubai,New Zealand,United Kingdom, and Nepal, Ekal is changing the lives of over 1.5 million children through 1262 schools in Nepal and 54,764 operating successfully from Kashmir to Kerala inIndia.
The very reasonable ticket price included a full course delicious dinner which people thoroughly enjoyed. The program, emceed by Rina Gupta and Kiran Kodithala, started at 7:15 pm and included inspirational speeches by Arvind Sharma, Mitra Dasa and Kiran Kodithala. The event included dance,song and instrumental performances by well-trained students of Atlanta Nritya Academy; Geet Rung School of Dance & Music and Prem Dance Studio.
The event opened with lamp lighting by Shiv Agarwal, Arvind Sharma, Rina Gupta and Deputy Consul D.V.Singh. Followed by lamp lighting, EkalIndiateam performed a beautiful recreation of Mile Sur Mera Tumhara to demonstrate the power ofIndia’s “Unity in Diversity”. Audience members expressed great excitement and applauded the performance with standing ovation.
Arvind Sharma gave a speech on Philanthropy and education. Arvind connected the dots between Gita’s message on perfection of renunciation and the need for collective action to eradicate the curse of Illiteracy. Murli Reddy, President of Charter Global commented after hearing the speech that Ekal’s vision for literacy throughout the nation made him emotional,“If we want new India to compete on a global platform, it is our moral responsibility to provide basic education to some of these uncounted children so that they can participate in the opportunities new world has to offer”
EkalIndiaperformed a heartwarming segment on Patriotism by dancing and singing to various Hindi songs. Audience stood up and danced and sang along to the all-time favorites.
Sudakshina from Atlanta Nritya Academy performed a dance segment on women’s empowerment. During this segment, Sudakshina and team beautifully demonstrated the different emotions of women and how they can have an impact on generations for good.
Divya Srivastav’s group –Geet Rung Dance & Music Academy’s students from age groups of 8-14 regaled the audience with dances to Bollywood favorites. Attendees danced, clapped and sang along to the amazing performances.
19 kids from Prem Dance Studio, a local Atlanta favorite Dance Institute also performed to various Bollywood hit songs.
Several attendees lauded on the high quality of performances from Ekal India,supported by high quality and entertaining performances by local Atlanta performers and their commitment to Ekal.
During the intermission, Mitra Dasa, demonstrated the power of philanthropy by showing how he took a discarded can, wood and string to make a self-made string instrument. Mitra played this instrument and explained that each member of the audience is giving new life to students in India by supporting Ekal.
Kiran Kodithala spoke about the power of giving by giving a motivational speech on purpose of life and the value one assigns to saving another human being. Mr. Kodithala asked – “how much are you willing to spend to save the life of your child, $10,000? $100,000? Or million?”. Everyone agreed that they would spend as much as needed to save their child’s life. Mr. Kodithala concluded by requesting audience to spend just a $1/day to save a child’s life by saving him/her from illiteracy.
The event concluded with a great rendition of Ramayan by EkalIndia. Amoli and his team performed Ramayan in an impeccable fashion and the audience were mesmerized by the power of this great epic. The performers showed great singing, dancing and gymnastic abilities during this performance and attendees were impressed.
The auditorium had reverberated to a thunderous applause after every item with later commendable reviews like: “par excellence”, “phenomenal”, “impeccable energy”, “very graceful” and “perfect expression” coming from attendees. They said it was a good idea that the instrumentalists, singers and dancers presented a variety of different flavors combining classical with film and folk elements, making the whole program flow in a well-balanced manner and to ensure that there was something for everyone to enjoy.
All in all, Amoli choreographed a wonderful program for Ekal and helped Atlanta get sponsors for 58 schools at this entertaining and edutaining event. Ekal Georgia Chapter President, Shiv Aggarwal commended the fantastic team of volunteers who efficiently served dinner, managed the presentation and completed secure online credit card sponsorships. Since Ekal Sur Ekal Taal is on a national fund-raising tour for Ekal, which opens a school in the sponsor’s name for only a-dollar-a-day or $365 for the whole year, this program can be enjoyed in other cities too. For details or progress of Ekal schools,please visit www.ekal.org and continue to change the lives of millions of underprivileged children.
It was a well-organized, enthusiastic, engaging, much appreciated and enjoyable program for a very worthy cause!