South Asian Insider
Nation Honors "Ekal Foundation" with Iconic 'Gandhi Peace Prize'
(By Prakash Waghmare)- New Delhi- "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,"Ekal Abhiyan Trust" (Ekal's umbrella Orgz) wasbestowed with'Mahatma Gandhi PeacePrize' for Yr. 2017 for its contributions in providing Education to rural &tribal children and for providing Empowerment withgender social equalityin remote parts of India. This prize is conferred by the Govt of India under the Chairmanship of Hon. 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 grace by the Hon. President of India, Ram NathKovind as well as Hon Prime Minister N. Modi. On behalf of 'Ekal' the award from the Hon. President 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 125th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhito highlight his concept of 'Gram Swaraj Model'.In his laudatory message to "Ekal", PM Modicommended its efforts to give educational opportunity to children in tribal areas and empowering rural women-folks. Currently, "EVF"has been supporting 82,000Ekal-schools across Rural-tribal pockets of India and grooming almost 2.2 Million Children - more than half of which are girls."Ekal" is empowering village folks, not only throughadult education classesrelated 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 (India),Ekal Founder in Australia - Nihal Singh Agar - was honored with 'Pravasi Bharatiya Sanman' Award by Hon President Ram Nath Kovind. Nihal Singh-ji has also been a recipient of prestigious "Order of Australia Award" in 2015. During 'PravasiBharatiya Divas', Ekal'sRenu Gupta, who had been a Board Member & Chairperson of "Ekal-USA" and Dr Sudha Parikh, who had been 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, EVF 'Founding Member', Ma. Shaymji Gupta was felicitated by "Kurukshetra University" with 'Goyal Peace Prize' for spreading education in remote areas (of India).It must also be noted that Ekal serves people without any credence to caste, creed, religion and regions and has presence even in conflict-ridden patches. Inthe past, Ekal had been recipient of several distinguished awards for its transparency of administration and innovativeness in its operation. One outstanding among them is the 'Hewlett Packard& India Today'"Trailblazer Award" for its digital initiative for the villages. Ekal's progress and its innovative 'model' have astonished not only the communities and Donors alike, but also, theentrepreneurs and social power-that-be. Last year, Hon PM N. Modi gave a goal to "Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation" to establish 100,000 schools by year 2022 - the 75thYear Celebration of India's Independence. The way Ekal is rapidly marching, it is likely to reach that target way ahead of time in Yr.2020. For more information and to support EVF, please reach out to
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