Mr. Harish Mathur, also known as Hari H Nath was the founder and the CEO of Technology Planning and Management Corporation (TPMC), an IT Planning, Software Development and associated services firm. TPMC grew from a one person firm in 1987 to 250 IT professionals by 2000. Since his retirement in 2001, Mr. Harish Mathur, a modest man with forethought qualities has been involved in a number of social projects and non-profits in the US as well as India. He is a member of the Board of The Carying Place, a nonprofit organization providing transitional housing to the underemployed in Cary. He is also the President of the Carolinas Region for Ekal Vidyalaya, an NGO providing basic education to Tribal children in India.
Please tell us about when did you come to US?
I came to US in January 1969, as a student for a Masters degree in Operations Research at the University of Missouri. I learned computer programming at the University and in 1971 got a job as a Computer Programmer in Richmond, Virginia. As our children were born here and my wife's family also moved here in 80’s, we established our roots in US.
Please tell us about TPMC, the company you started?
As an IT planning consultant, I had worked with Ernst and Young for 4 years and learnt consulting skills, focusing primarily on strategic IT planning and enterprise IT architecture design. After Ernst and Young, I managed an IT planning dept. for the UNISYS Corp that had a contract with the US Environmental Protection Agency in RTP. In 1987, I started TPMC and in 1988 TPMC was fortunate to win a multi-year USEPA IT planning contract in partnership with two other firms.
With a strong management team and skilled staff and lady luck, TPMC grew to about 250 IT professionals at four east coast offices, with contracts from several Federal agencies and commercial clients. In March 2001 TPMC was acquired by Soza Inc (now part of Perot Federal Systems).
How has your journey been this far?
My personal and professional journey has been exciting. My wife tells me that she is happy that I am retired and at home. We are blessed with two children and a young grandson. I am fortunate to have a large, supportive and loving family from my wife’s side in NC.
In retirement I have kept myself busy with personal development and community service activities. I am involved with non-profits, some focused in India like the Ekal Vidyalaya and some focused here in US like The Carying place, Town of Cary and the Rotary Club etc. I believe we need to support both our country of birth and our adopted country.
Please tell us about Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation and what made you start an Ekal Vidyalaya organization chapter in NC?
The Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation is a charitable trust that initiates, supports, and runs non-formal one-teacher schools (popularly known as Ekal Vidyalaya) in the tribal villages, all over India. With the participation of numerous non-profit trusts and organizations, this
program has now become one of the greatest non-governmental education movements in India. Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation has it’s headquarter in Delhi, India and Ekal has subsidiaries in several countries including Australia, Hong Kong, UK and USA. The US headquarters of Ekal is in Houston, Texas.
In 2004, I was introduced to Ekal by a friend of mine, Mr. Subhash Saxena, who was planning to start an EKAL chapter in Raleigh and I began as an EKAL volunteer. After Mr. Saxena’s transfer to Russia in Sept 2007, I took responsibility for the Raleigh Chapter. In January 2009 we formally opened chapters in Charlotte and Columbia, South Carolina. Ragini Murarka is president of Raleigh, NC chapter, Yesha Shukla is president of Charlotte chapter and Janak Dalal is president of Columbia, SC chapter. We have built a strong team of volunteers in Raleigh and we are building volunteer teams in Charlotte and Columbia. We are always looking for volunteers for Ekal.
What is the primary goal of Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation?
The primary objective of Ekal Vidyalaya is the basic education of Tribal children in India. It aims to have an elementary level school in every tribal village to ensure basic literacy - reading, writing and math. This education will empower them to be aware of their rights and avoid exploitation. In addition EKAL provides basic health education, self-development and village empowerment to accomplish vision of Mahatma Gandhi. You can learn more about EKAL by visiting www.ekal.org.
What is the reason that made you get involved in Ekal?
There are a lot of ways to help people in India but literacy is essential for India to succeed in the 21st century. Alms will help children feed themselves for a few days but education will help them for their lifetime. Ekal is meeting a need that is not being met adequately by the Government of India.
Where do you see Ekal in 5 years? What are the challenges to achieve the goals of Ekal in India?
There are about 100,000 tribal villages in India. The goal of Ekal is to have one school in every tribal village. Right now, there are about 27,000 schools teaching more than 800,000 tribal children.
The primary challenge for us in India is to find qualified teachers, committed volunteers and maintaining quality. Other than the paid teachers, the rest of the India’s Ekal team mainly consists of volunteers. We need motivated volunteers who are willing to visit the remote schools every month, do an assessment of the teachers’ performance and children’s academic progress to ensure that quality education is provided.
How is the support from the community in Triangle?
The support has been growing as more people learn about EKAL’s mission and its cost effectiveness. People are realizing that for $1 a day they contribute can educate 30-40 tribal children for a whole year. They tell me that this is a great return on their investment. More people are sponsoring schools and supporting our fundraising events and joining the volunteer team but more is needed to meet our goals.
How can someone help Ekal?
Anyone can help in 2 ways. One is to volunteer for organizing fund raising and awareness programs and the other is to donate funds and sponsor schools. I request your readers to come and attend the August 7th Musical Extravaganza by Baweja group at the Green Hope High School and contribute for this noble cause. The cost to operate one school for one year for 30-40 children is $365, a dollar a day, less than cost of a cup of coffee. You can pledge for a school, you can name the school for your parents, son's birthday and so on. Some supporters are asking guests to donate to EKAL instead of personal gifts during birthdays, weddings and anniversaries. Schools are allocated in October and in April. You get a notification in a few months that a school has been opened on your behalf.
Your readers can support Ekal by making contributions and sponsoring schools and joining us as volunteers. EKAl USA Inc is a 501c(3) charitable organization and contributions are tax deductible.
Tell us about your involvement with American organizations?
Since 2003, I've been a member of the board of The Carying Place, a nonprofit organization in Cary, providing transitional housing to the poor and underemployed. This organization provides 4 months
of free housing and financial counseling to the families living with relatives or in their car. After 4 months of residence in our apartments during which we teach them money management skills, we help them in renting low cost apartments. We have 8 apartments and we help about 24 families a year. I'm primarily involved in fund raising activities of the organization.
Through my Cary Central Rotary Club and support from the Rotary International, in 2008 we were able to establish an ICU unit in a government hospital in Jhalawar, Rajasthan, India. Since 2005, I have served on various Boards and Commissions of Town of Cary and since 2008 I have been a member of the Planning and Zoning Board.
How did you decide to work with the American Organizations?
The US community has provided us an environment to succeed in this country and our children are growing up as Indian-Americans. We may feel a lot more affection and connection to India but our children feel connection to both America and India. So we have an obligation to support both communities.
What advice would you give to the new Entrepreneurs?
There are several ways to be a successful entrepreneur in this country. Here are my thoughts:
- Join TIE chapter of NC and get educated about all aspects of corporate management and capital generation.
- Build network during your professional career. You will need this network when you start your business.
- Join, the Council for Entrepreneurial Development (CED) in the RTP
You have to have a passion for your idea. Other criteria are hard work, persistence, a vision for future, help of some good friends and a sprinkling of luck.
- Ekals's website - www.ekal.org
- Ekals upcoming fund raising event on 7th Aug 2009 - Sur Sandhya an enchanting evening of Bollywood golden songs,bhajans and gazals.