Indian American entrepreneur Amit Bhandari and his wife Arpita of Houston, Texas, have donated $50,000 to Ekal’s Digital Literacy Program, the largest single amount from an individual the charity has ever received.
The $50,000 will be used to create a bus with 10 laptops for the Ekal-on-Wheels Mobile Computer Labs program, according to a press release. The Mobile Computer Labs initiative is working to enhance digital literacy and has helped over 50,000 children become computer literate.
The solar powered bus has pre-installed self-learning software developed by IIT Mumbai and accommodates two students per computer as one trainer, assisted by the local Ekal teacher will provide two and a half hours of training in one village.
The bus, which will serve the Khargone district of Madhya Pradesh near Indore, was inaugurated by Amit and Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.
The Bhandaris are known to give out generous donations to a number of support groups, including the Jain Society of Houston, land for the Gujarati Samaj center in Houston, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner’s Fund for Hurricane Harvey relief work, paying off the loans of a temple in Phoenix and raising $3 million for Magic Bus.
Bhadari is a native of Indore, Madhya Pradesh, and though his parents were professors, the family was financially challenged but it did not stop them from supporting a handicapped school along with a helping hand, anywhere it was needed.
Bhadari gained interest in business when he was in middle school and was accepted in the Rotary Student Exchange Program and attended High School in Hicksville, Ohio.
He then attended Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he studied chemical engineering after which he started working at ExxonMobil.
In 2006, Bhandari started his own company BioUrja, a company that trades in ethanol, petroleum products, crude oil, grains, metal tubing for the oil production sector as well as renewable energy, and is ranked as one of the most successful companies in Texas.
The Bhandaris have one daughter, Aanya and one son, Ansh, both of whom have taken part in various Magic Bus programs.
The Ekal movement was started in 1989 to transform India, one village at a time and today it has a school in 70,000 villages, which offer free schooling, vocational training, digital competence and agricultural education. The Ekal movement has impacted four million children and 10 million families to date.