Thousands of rural folk, including tribals, participated in a marathon organised here on Sunday to spread awareness about education and celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of visionary leader Swami Vivekananda.
Veteran cricketer Kapil Dev, ace wrestler Sushil Kumar and Indian mountaineer Santosh Yadav flagged off the premiere marathon at the Talkatora Indoor Stadium here.
The event saw the presence of around 3,000 people from rural areas, participating in various sub-events involving a distance run of 5.5 kilometers.
Explaining the cause of the marathon, General Secretary of Ekal Abhiyaan, Praveen Arya, hailed the transformation of initiative that has been turned into a movement.
"This movement was stated from one rural school, where functional literacy is being provided but with the passage of time, we realised that more needed to be done in terms of providing value and medical education other people overall development of the village. This initiate has been now transformed into Ekal movement, wherein we are making relentless efforts to mainstream tribal villages," he said.
Arya further said that the objective of this run was to join rural folk with the mainstream creating awareness on the education and rural development.
The program was organised to mark the beginning of 25th year of Ekal Abhiyaan rendering selfless service through Ekal Vidyalayas based on five tier education for the holistic development of Tribal and Rural Bharat.
"We belong to a rural 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 in need of education to join the institution," said Rajat, one of the participants.
Ekal Vidyalaya officials along with other dignitaries presented accolades and prize money to the winners.
Kapil Dev on his part 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.
Meanwhile, National Woman Chairperson of Bharatiya Lok Shiksha Parishad Sonal 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," said Sonal.
The Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation is tax free, registered non-profit service organization, which is dedicated to education and village progress in rural India. Ekal's 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. (ANI)