Ekal perfectly combining sports with studies —Kapil Dev

Kapil Dev, ace wrestler Sushil Kumar, ace shooter Vikram Bhatnagar and Indian mountaineer Santosh Yadav Flag off Ekal Mini Marathon
Ekal perfectly combining sports with studies
—Kapil Dev
THOUSANDS of rural folk, including Vanvasis, participated in a marathon organised in New Delhi on January 13 to spread awareness about education and also to celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. Veteran cricketer Kapil Dev, ace wrestler Sushil Kumar, ace shooter Vikram Bhatnagar and Indian mountaineer Santosh Yadav flagged off the premier marathon at Talkatora Indoor Stadium. The event saw the presence of around 3,000 people participating in various sub-events involving a distance run of 5.5 kilometres. The total number of runners including veterans, youths, women, urban and rural were more than 5000. Explaining the cause of the marathon, general secretary of Ekal Abhiyan, Shri Praveen Arya, hailed the initiative that has been turned into a movement. “The movement was started from one rural school in tribal belt of south Bihar, where functional literacy is being provided but with the passage of time, we realised that a lot more is to be done in terms of providing value and health and overall development  of the village.
This initiative has been now transformed into Ekal movement, wherein we are making relentless efforts to mainstream tribal villages,” he said. He also said that the objective of the marathon was to get rural folk goined with the mainstream creating awareness about education and rural development. The event was organised by Bharat Lok Shiksha Parishad to mark the beginning of 25th year of Ekal Abhiyaan rendering selfless service through Ekal Vidyalayas based on five tier functional education for the holistic development of tribal and rural Bharat. On the occasion of silver jubilee celebration, all the partner organisations of Ekal movement including the Friends of Tribal Society, Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of India, Shrihari Satsang Samiti, Prantiya Seva Sangathan, Arogya Foundation participated in full strength.“We belong to a village and have never come to a big city like this. We have been able to come here through the courtesy of Ekal Vidyalaya, which is doing a good work. I would like to urge all children who need education to join the institution,” said Rajat, one of the participants from Jharkhand. Ekal Vidyalaya officials along with other dignitaries presented accolades and prize money to the winners.
Cricketer Kapil Dev spoke on the importance of education. “People should have the motivation to study and our country’s children must get the right to education. This is my biggest belief. It is good to combine sports with studies,” he said. National chairperson of women's wing of Bharatiya Lok Shiksha Parishad, Sonal Rasiwasia hailed the event. “Lots of students are here, they have not even seen either Delhi, metro or train. They have come here and running here altogether with everybody. And hence, they are feeling so good,” she said. The Ekal Vidyalaya organisation are tax free, registered non-profit service organisation, which is dedicated to education and village progress in rural India. Its motive is to take a holistic approach to social and economic development. Reportedly, the Ekal movement is the largest grassroots non-government education movement in India, operating in over 46,734 villages and educating over 13,28,118 children in rural India. The formal launching of the silver Jubilee year of Ekal was also done in the evening.    

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