A group of volunteers started 60 ‘One Teacher Schools’ in the remote tribal areas of Dhanbad in 1988 (then in the State of Bihar and now in Jharkhand), inspired by the teachings of Swami Vivekananda that “ If the poor cannot come to education, then, education must go to them.”
The Movement, named ‘Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation’ in 2000, today runs about 47,000 One-Teacher Schools (Ekal Vidyalayas).
The Foundation, which celebrates its Silver Jubilee this year, has been receiving increasing support from many parts of the world, including New Zealand.
Ekal Vidyalayas provide value-based primary education to the weaker sections of the society, strengthening the social structure of India.
With the support of well-wishers in India and all over the world, and with participation of numerous non-profit trusts and organisations, the Foundation has become the greatest education movement in India.
Ekal Vidyalaya goes beyond mere literacy. Apart from its goal of achieving the national standards of Minimum Level of Learning (MLL) for its students, Ekal Vidyalayas also seek to empower the village community for its own self-development.
These schools encourage participation of the local community to achieve social and community goals and objectives.
The movement is driven mostly by volunteers, ensuring that more than 80% of the donations received actually go to villages running Ekal Vidyalayas.
In 2012, Bharat Lok Shiksha Parishad (BLSP), a constituent of the Ekal Abhiyan (Movement), received the S R Jindal Prize (Rs 10 million or about $220,000) for Peace, Social Harmony & Social Development.
This money is being used for running Ekal Vidyalayas.
New Zealand support
New Zealanders are participating in the Ekal Movement, supporting 44 schools providing education to more than 1300 girls and boys in India.
Over the past five years, an increasing number of organisations are supporting the Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of New Zealand, a registered charitable trust.
Knowledge and information have been the backbone of development and these are received only through education.
Those unable to read and write are wrapped in a tight bubble, which suffocates their development and buries them under the mountain of uncertainties. All of us can help to liberate the underprivileged children of India from this bubble of illiteracy and help them march towards a better and a brighter future through education.
Based on the current exchange rate, the annual cost of running a school is $360.
If you are interested in learning more about the Ekal Movement or in sponsoring a school as an individual or as a group, please contact me or Sanjay Joshi (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Nandan Modak is a trustee of Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of New Zealand based in Hamilton. Phone: 0272960824. Email: email@example.com