Dr. Suren Dwivedi, Mechanical Engineering Faculty Member, Coordinates Program to Support Ekal Vidyalaya, a movement whose aim is to eradicate illiteracy from rural and tribal India.

President with ChildrenOn the evening of August 19, 2009, Dr. Suren Dwivedi, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, coordinated a charity program sponsored by the Indian faculty and students in support of Ekal Vidyalaya. Ekal Vidyalaya is a movement of more than 20,142 teachers, 5000 volunteer workers, 20 field organizations throughout 20 Indian states, and 8 support agencies whose aim is to eradicate illiteracy from rural and tribal India by 2015. This force strives to create a network of informal schools which will educate and empower children through advanced developmental techniques such as multi-grade teaching. Ekal Vidyalaya initiates, supports and runs approximately 27,000 informal one-teacher schools all over India. Ekal Vidyalaya’s mission and goals include:

Dr. Suren Dwivedi---President Ekal---Louisiana,Addressing the importance of Ekal Providing a means of educating the children in tribal and rural India;
Providing a functional education leading to the development of self-sustaining villages;
Providing a connection of minds, as opposed to the mere donation of funds;
Providing health education;
Providing economic development education; and
Providing social empowerment education.

Dr. E. Joseph Savoie, President of UL made the opening address and congratulated the Indian community, faculty and students for this effort and encouraged their continued support of this worthy cause. He also acknowledged the important contribution of the Indian faculty and students in research and academic activities at UL Lafayette.

Following Dr. Savoie’s address, the entertainment, an “Enchanting Evening of GEET, GAZALS, BHAJANS and Bollywood Songs,” was presented. Dr. Indira Gautam served as Master of President Savoie, University of LouisianaCeremonies. Lamp lighting initiated the program, followed by Indian Rashtrageet Vande Matram. Next, Indian community children performed “Hum Honge Kamyab (“We Will Be Successful”), with an entertaining program of songs completing the event. The artists traveled from India to volunteer their talents in support of this event. Dr. Savoie awarded them a “Certificate of Appreciation” for their efforts. Among the artists appearing were Sushil Baveja (music maestro), Preet Prerana and Jaideep Pandey (renowned singers) and Ashok Pandey (tabla maestro).

Approximately 300 people attended this event, contributing to its success. Many of the attendees considered it the best Indian event ever organized in Lafayette, Louisiana. Many people from the Indian community and from UL Lafayette attended this program and contributed to the success of this effort. In addition many organizations such as the World Association for Vedic Studies (WAVES) and the Sanatana Dharma Hindu School at Lafayette supported this program. Contributions to Ekal Vidyalaya were generous and approximately 45 schools will share in the donations. Any questions should be directed to Dr. Suren Dwivedi at 337-482-5361.

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