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Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation (EVF) the largest global organization dedicated to integrated village development in rural India was recently honored with the most prestigious national award in India for social work. On February 26, 2019 “Ekal Abhiyan Trust” (Ekal’s umbrella Organization) was bestowed with the ‘Mahatma Gandhi Peace Prize’ for the year 2017 for its contribution in providing education to rural and tribal children and for promoting gender and social equality in remote parts of India. (The award ceremony had not been held since 2015. That is why the prize for 2017 was only awarded in 2019) This prize is conferred by the Government of India under the Chairmanship of the Prime Minister, Chief Justice, leader of the largest opposition party and many others.
The ceremony took place at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi and was graced by the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind as well as the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. On behalf of Ekal Vidyalaya, the award was received by M.L. Jain, a senior trustee of Ekal Abhiyan. This unique honor carries a grant of Rs. 1 Crore, a citation and a plaque to commemorate the distinction. This prize was instituted in 1995 on the 125th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi to highlight his concept of ‘Gram Swaraj Model.’ In his laudatory message, Prime Minister Modi commended its efforts to give educational opportunities to children in tribal areas and empowering rural women.
Currently, the organization has been supporting 82,000 Ekal-schools across rural-tribal pockets of India and grooming almost 2.2 million children, more than half of which are girls. Ekal’s programs empowers villagers, not only through adult education classes related to healthcare and environmental-issues, but also, by preparing them for cottage-industries with skill-development training.
At this year’s Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Varanasi, Ekal Founder in Australia – Nihal Singh Agar was honored with the Pravasi Bharatiya Sanman Award by the President Ram Nath Kovind. Nihal Singh-ji has also been a recipient of the prestigious “Order of Australia Award” in 2015. During Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, Ekal’s Renu Gupta, who had been a Board Member & Chairperson of “Ekal-USA” and Dr Sudha Parikh, who has been an ardent supporter of Ekal Foundation received “She The Change – Nari Udyami Award” for their exemplary service to the community. The honor was given by Beti Shiksha Foundation at an event presided over by the Governor of Uttarakhand. On March 1, 2019, EVF ‘Founding Member’, Ma. Shaymji Gupta was felicitated by Kurukshetra University with the Goyal Peace Prize’for spreading education in remote areas of India. It must also be noted that Ekal serves people without any differences attributed to caste, creed, religion and region of origin and it has an established presence even in conflict-ridden areas.
In the past, Ekal had been the recipient of several distinguished awards for its transparency of administration and the innovativeness in its operations. Last year, Prime Minister Modi set out a goal to Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation to establish 100,000 schools by the year 2022 which will mark the 75th year since India’s Independence. The way Ekal is rapidly marching, it is likely to reach that target way ahead of time in the year 2020 itself. For more information and to support us, please reach out to www.ekal.org