Ashok Badgy: Ekal Vidyalaya’s Work to Combat Illiteracy in India

Ashok Bagdy works as the Vice President of Outsourcing services for Cameo Corporate Services Limited, which is based in Tampa, Florida. He oversees the development of the company’s Healthcare Outsourcing division. Ashok Bagdy regularly volunteers his spare time to non-profit and charitable organizations such as the March of Dimes, the Hindu Temple of Florida, and Ekal Vidyalaya.

The work of Ekal Vidyalaya started in the mid-1980s when a group of educators sought to develop learning programs in the tribal area of Jharkhand, India, a thickly forested area in the country’s northeast. Within a few years, they established dozens of one-teacher schools across the region. Within ten years, they increased the literacy rate from 30 percent to 60 percent. As the organization grew and its work continued, organizers and educators noted that concomitantly, incidences of alcoholism, witchcraft, and unhygienic behavior declined.

In 2000, the Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation was formed to serve as an umbrella organization for the associated agencies, which share the mission of reducing India’s illiteracy. Currently, Ekal Vidyalaya supports over 13 million students in more than 45,000 schools. It hopes to raise enough funds to construct a total of 100,000 non-formal schools within the tribal belt of India by 2015.