One Step at a Time – Stephen Hnilica’s Journey for Hindu’s Ekal Vidhyalaya

Stephen HnilicaTampa, Florida. — When Stephen Hnilica became aware that there were thousands of underprivileged children in India who did not have access to basic education, he embarked on a 4600-mile journey a year ago from his hometown here to Seattle, Wash., with a vision to raise $100,000 to educate 10,000 children in India.

After months of searching for a charity that would have the maximum impact with the funds he raised, he was introduced to the Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation.

Hnilica has already walked 3000 miles from his hometown in the Tampa suburb of New Port Richey to San Diego, Calif. Since his departure on May 25, 2013, he has walked across eight states, experienced temperatures as low as -5F and as high as 103F, and has worn out seven pairs of Spira running shoes.

Over the past year, Hnilica encountered a number of challenging situations and many obstacles, but there was only one time he ever thought about quitting this journey. Outside Hobbs, New Mexico, he was exposed to a poisonous gas, making him very ill.

“After three days of not being able to eat and having difficulty breathing, I want to give up and go home. All of my reasons for beginning this journey failed me except one. I made it to the next town because I knew, there are 10,000 children counting on me, and counting on the people who hear my story,” he said.

Those who would like to support EKAL and Hnilica walk across the United States may make donations at the Web site. All donations are secured through’s donation platform.
Those who wish to walk with Hnilica as he makes his way along the west coast can call him at (727) 697-7355 for a schedule of his walk.

Source: India West