BY SUNIDHI RAMESH
Atlanta, GA: On April 9th, in its last meeting for the 2012-2013 school year, Chattahoochee High School’s ICE (Indian Cultural Exchange) Club presented a check for $365 to Ekal Vidyalaya. The ICE students were proud and happy that their contribution would open and run an Ekal school in a tribal village in India for an entire year!
The CHS ICE Club’s mission and vision is to inform, educate, and entertain students with various aspects of Indian culture. Through their club website (www.hoochiceclub.com), bi-monthly meetings, and various celebrations that mirror Indian festivities, the organization has gained popularity and support within the Chattahoochee community. In addition, ICE has provided its members with various volunteer opportunities that extend outside Chattahoochee. Guided by the Talented and Gifted (TAG) Department’s Ms. Kathy Whitley and the support of its members, officers, and sponsors, this practically first-year organization has emerged as one of the most popular clubs in Chattahoochee High School.
As a means of giving back to the very community that supported its growth, Chattahoochee’s ICE Club approached Ekal to learn how it could help in their mission of education for underprivileged children. By donating a portion of its accumulated funds to this charity it has funded and aided the basic education of nearly 20 to 30 children at the cost of only a dollar-a-day and brought Ekal one school closer to their goal of 100,000 schools. The club plans to extend and continue this tradition which has just begun, well into the coming school years.
Through the Ekal Vidyalaya presentation ICE Club learnt that Ekal is a non-profit organization engaged in promoting holistic village development through primary, health, economic and empowerment education in rural and tribal India. In the years since the first Ekal School opened in 1988, Ekal Vidyalaya movement has grown globally, entirely through volunteer efforts, to have independent Ekal Foundations in USA, Australia, Canada and other countries to raise awareness and funds needed to open and support the one-teacher Ekal schools. Over 47,000 Ekal schools today, which have a defined curriculum and are headed by a trained local youth teacher, have changed the lives of nearly 1.3 million children in the remotest villages of India.
School Principal Mr. Tim Duncan lauded the efforts of the ICE Club and shared his vision and ideas for organizing other cultural programs and raising more funds for this worthwhile cause. He saw this as a wonderful volunteering opportunity not merely for the ICE Club but even for other school students who wanted to contribute in the education of others while they themselves were getting an education.
For more information on Ekal Vidyalaya and its continuous endeavors, visit the charity’s website at www.ekal.org.