About one of every six human beings on this planet lives in poverty, according to the United Nations. And yet, hope and love can be nurtured in even the harshest of circumstances. This is the story of EKATVA, which features the joy and talent of sixteen children from one of the poorest areas of the world: the slums of India. And from May 31-June 6, the children of EKATVA will volunteer and give two performances in Los Angeles.
EKATVA will be performed at John Muir Middle School on June 2nd, and at Fullerton College on June 3rd. For the remainder of their time in L.A., they will share their message of “oneness” through community service throughout the city.
The performance will consist of 90 minutes of dance and drama, and carry a message of love, inspiration, and a call to action: to push the world closer to oneness and peace.
Hindi for “oneness”, EKATVA embodies the teachings of great peacemakers like
Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.
EKATVA was inspired by a similar project called EKTA, which was created in 2000 by Manav Sadhna, a nonprofit based at the Mahatma Gandhi Ashram, and teachers from the Darpana Academy of Performing Arts. EKTA was so successful that half of the children involved in it now work at Manav Sadhna.
EKAVTA began as a two and a half hour dance/drama show called “Prem No Parvivar” (A Family of Love) in 2010. The show featured over 250 children from the slums of India; 2600 people attended the two shows in India.
After a nine-month long audition process, 16 out of 8400 Manav Sadhana chidren were selected for the EKAVTA tour; these children come from some of the largest slums of India, in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. A year of preparation then ensued – not only music, dance, and acting preparation, but also mental, spiritual, and physical preparation.
It was also made clear to the selected children and their families that they were to serve as “global ambassadors of love, service, and unity”. In keeping with the mission of Manav Sadhna, the children will not only perform in each city in the U.S., but also work with other nonprofits, serve the underprivileged in the area, help clean parts of the city, work to connect different religions, and uplift the spirit of humanity.
“It sounds like a large task for small people – but I have learned every day in working with these children, that they are not ‘small’ in any way – they are capable of so much,” says EKATVA director Nimesh Patel, a Wharton Business School graduate and former hip-hop artist.
Patel has become a full-time volunteer for the past two and half years to lead these children and the vision of the EKATVA experiment. “The concept of the EKATVA tour is to share with the world the power and potential that exists in our underprivileged communities. The EKATVA children and show are examples of what happens when we provide love and opportunity to the young people in our world.”
The EKATVA tour features the talents of: Krishna Parmar, Payal Parmar, Asha Parmar, Priyanka Parmar, Dipmala Bhoi, Bharti Parmar, Nikita Bhilocha, Chandani Rathod, Nitesh Gautam, Dharmaji Vanjara, Bhavnik Solanki, Devram Parmar, Sanjay Parmar, Vicky Parmar, and Gaurang Vaghela. All children are from 10-14 years of age.
The performance is directed and choreographed by Mallika Sarabhai and the Darpana Academy of Performing Arts.
A wide range of international organizations including Project Ahimsa have contributed to supporting the EKATVA tour and performance.
“EKATVA represents the power of art and music to transform the lives of children everywhere. For each of the children involved with EKATVA, art and music have provided a means and a path to build self-confidence, self-reliance, and compassion - all central to the spirit and message of Mahatma Gandhi,” says Robin Sukhadia, Project Ahimsa International Grants Program Director.
After L.A., the EKATVA tour will head to Houston, Austin, and Atlanta.
Nonprofit organizations may attend any performance free of charge. No one will be turned away due to lack of funds.
EKATVA performances in L.A.:
June 2, 2012 Saturday 5PM - Los Angeles John Muir Middle School
5929 South Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, CA
Suggested ticket price: $10.
June 3, 2012 Sunday 4PM – Orange County Fullerton College
321 E Chapman Avenue, Fullerton, CA 92832
Suggested ticket price: $10.
For tickets and more information, please visit http://ekatva.org/tour/