When everywhere ‘Coronavirus’ outbreak is being associated only with the urban area populous, “Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation” has quietly launched an ambitious initiative against it in rural & tribal areas across India. As for networking and connectivity in such areas, “Ekal” (as it is popularly known) is in very unique position with its presence in over 103,000 such remote hamlets. As the shortage of Masks and Sanitizers became apparent in early March, Ekal tailoring training Ctrs banded together and started stitching face-masks and producing hand sanitizers for Ekal Volunteers, district health authorities and law enforcement personnel. It had been producing 10,000 masks and 1,000 liters of Hand-sanitizers or disinfecting solutions per day as of March-end and supplying them ‘free-of-cost’ to their authorities. Masks and Sanitizers are also being distributed free-of-cost to the poor families. It costs Ekal Rs. 20 each to make it and to distribute it.
According to Bajrang Lal Bagra, CEO of “Ekal Abhiyan” (umbrella organization of all Ekal satellite endeavors), beginning this month – April – Ekal is launching most ambitious plan to triple its ‘tailoring’ capacity in 28 centers to produce 1 Million cotton Masks by the end of April (2020). These 2-ply masks are being made to WHO’s stringent specifications and Ekal plans to keep on producing them as long as there is need. As part of empowerment and to reduce the dependency on ‘outside food’, Ekal-Villages, have actively started harvesting ‘Poshan Vatikas’ (Nutritional sustaining food items) for the people in their own vicinity on cooperative basis. Keeping up with the governmental directive, although all Ekal field activities were suspended on March 14, according to ‘Lalan Kumar Sharma’, Central co-coordinator of “Ekal Abhiyan”, the awareness campaign against deadly Virus is in motion with full throttle speed with the blessings of the local concerned authorities. Currently, ‘Arogya Sahayikas’ (Health Assistant) and Ekal teachers are, not only, emphasizing critical need for personal hygiene and clean environment in villages, but also, keeping a written tab on cases related to fever, cough and shortness of breath. Social-distancing and repeatedly washing hands with soap is being promoted as part of daily routine. Supporting the efforts of ‘Gram-Panchayats’ (village administrative admin), identifying and quantifying urban visitors or returning villagers from such areas is being diligently carried out. Harish Karat of ‘Ekal-Global’ says, “as a reminder for the precautionary habits that one must adopt to arrest the spread of ‘Coronavirus’, the walls in lot of village-dwellings are being painted with healthcare slogans”. What is interesting is that villagers have enthusiastically endorsed this campaign as one of the safeguards in the current crisis. Ekal volunteers residing in Indian urban areas are helping older, poor people during these clampdown days are providing food or sustenance items wherever possible. For example, in ‘Guwahati’ area in two days, ‘Vanbandhu Parishad’ (an allied Ekal organization) delivered food items to 650 families. Ekal-USA providing assistance to the needy in variety of ways – such as food, mask-making, grocery-items and medical help etc. Ekal volunteers in USA are assisting food-banks, soup-kitchen and delivery of groceries to the elderly. According to Suresh Iyer, President of Ekal-USA, “In the U.S., Ekal has partnered with other non-profit organizations, including ‘Sewa International’, in providing community service at this hour of immense need. It’s times such as these we are seeing the best of humanity and I am confident that we will get through this difficult time soon and come out feeling even stronger”. Though, all the annual fund-raising concerts have been cancelled currently for foreseeable future, ‘Ekal Vidyalaya’ is appealing its loyal Donors and well-wishers who have been consistently helping it to keep supporting its multiple endeavors (projects) in rural areas, including its ambitious initiative to fight ‘Coronavirus’. Kindly Donate at https://www.ekal.org/us/donate and be an active member of defense against the virus in the current crisis. Ekal serves the humanity irrespective of caste, creed, and religion