The South Jersey chapter of Ekal Vidyalaya of U.S.A., a nonprofit with a goal to bring basic education to every child across rural India, will host a fundraiser on Sept. 17 at the Indian Cultural Center (ICC) in Marlton.
The nonprofit, headquartered in Texas, currently has 60 chapters across the country. It funds the development of villages by providing tribal and rural communities in India with basic education, digital literacy, health awareness, education on modern and productive agricultural practices and rural entrepreneurship.
Harshad Mehta, president of the Ekal South Jersey chapter, said the nonprofit holds an annual event to raise money for its cause. All funds generated from its programs are transferred to India for children in-need.
“Every year we do an annual fundraising program,” he said. “So far, we’ve helped educate over one million children in India. All (of the children are) from remote areas where the Indian government cannot reach.”
Mehta noted that the program for the fundraiser had been held only virtually via Zoom in the past two years because of COVID. He added that this year’s fundraiser will welcome Classical Rhythms Dance Academy to educate attendees on different Indian folk dances.
“This year we’re returning to live programs,” he noted. “We’ve arranged a local dance school in Marlton to perform various folk dances of India.”
The fundraiser will begin at 4 p.m. and end at 7. General admission tickets can be purchased for a discounted price of $35 if bought before Sept. 10; any tickets purchased after that will be $40. There will be no food or beverages available during the event, though Ekal Vidyalaya of U.S.A. is currently exploring the possibility of handing out snack boxes.
Mehta encouraged residents of American and Indian heritage to attend the fundraiser and learn more about the culture.
“We hope (for) many people in not only the Indian community, but also Americans who may be interested in learning about the culture of India,” he said. “They’ll be able to see the different costumes, cultures and performances in the program.”
The Indian Cultural Center is at 820 Route 73 S. Tickets can be purchased online at www.ekal.org/nrithyothsava2022. Any additional questions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.