The entire EKATVA project and its vision has been initiated and executed by Manav Sadhna and an inspired volunteer.
In 1990, a team of young volunteers, inspired by Gandhian values, began gathering under the branches of a tree in the Gandhi Ashram every Saturday to play with street children. They provided the children with a nutritional meal and taught them about basic hygiene by cutting their nails and bathing them. This activity quickly cultivated into a full time endeavor working to brighten the future of underprivileged children. Today, Manav Sadhna serves more than 8,400 children and women daily through over 38 projects. Manav Sadhna’s philosophy is “love all, serve all”. By seeing God in every individual (manav), mere service is transformed into worship (sadhna). In executing this mission, Manav Sadhna is guided by Mahatma Gandhi’s unshakable beliefs in peace, truth, non-violence and compassion.
In 2000 Manav Sadhna, along with an inspired volunteer and the Darpana Academy of Performing Arts, launched a project called EKTA (“Unity”). Its mission was to train 14 slum children, develop a theatrical/dance-drama show and tour the show with the kids across America carrying the messages of Gandhiji and Martin Luther King Jr. The show successfully toured the US in 2002. Half of those children are now excellent teachers and staff members at Manav Sadhna, earning full time salaries and passionately giving back to their local slum communities.
A decade later, in 2010, Manav Sadhna is once again trekking a similar but very different experiment with EKATVA. In 2010 Manav Sadhna began to produce a dance/drama show, “Prem No Parvivar” (“A Family of Love”) that included over 250 slum children from the ages of 4 to 17 that were connected to Manav Sadhna via different projects. The shows were extremely powerful and emotionally gripping for all. From those 250 kids, we shortlisted 80 children for our EKATVA project. Then through a 6-month period of close interactions and auditions, we eventually narrowed the 80 children down to 16 by November 2010.