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Sankurathri Foundation
Founded1989
FounderChandra Sekhar Sankurathri
FocusEducation, Eye care and Emergency relief
Location
  • Penumarthi Road, Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh, INDIA 533005
OriginsCanada
Area served
Andhra Pradesh, INDIA
Key people
Chandra Sekhar Sankurathri (Executive Trustee)
Websitewww.sankurathri.org

Sankurathri Foundation (SF) was established in 1989 by Dr. Chandra Sekhar Sankurathri in memory of his wife Manjari, son Kiran and daughter Sarada, who died in the bombing of Air India Flight 182 off the coast of Ireland on 23 June 1985.

ChandraSekhar Sankurathri

Chandrasekhar Sankurathri was born to Appala Narasayya Naidu Sankurathri and Ramayamma Sankurathri on 20 November 1943 at Singarayakonda, Andhra Pradesh, India. He is the youngest of eight. He attended Municipal High School at Rajahmundry, East Godavari District, Andhra University, Waltair, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada and University of Alberta, Canada. Chandrasekhar Sankurathri was working as a scientific evaluator with Health Canada in Ottawa[1] and also as a visiting scientist for the Ministry of Fisheries, in Canada and a scientific evaluator for Canada's Ministry of Health.

Personal life

Chandrasekhar Sankurathri married Manjari on 13-05-1975 at Kakinada, India. Together they had a son, Srikiran, and a daughter, Sarada.[1] Manjari, Srikiran and Sarada were killed in the Air India Flight 182 bombing on 23 June 1985[1] off the coast of Ireland.[2]

Establishment of Foundations

Following the bombing, he resigned his job in Canada and returned to India in 1988.[3][4] He established the Manjari Sankurathri Memorial Foundation in 1989[2] in memory of his wife,[3] which is a registered charity in Canada. He established the Sankurathri Foundation in India in memory of his family in 1989.[2] The Foundations' goals are to improve the quality of life of needy people in the rural and remote areas of Andhra Pradesh. He established Sarada Vidyalayam in 1992 on his daughter's name,[3] which is a High school to provide free education for rural poor children. Sankurathri established Srikiran Institute of Ophthalmology in 1993, named after his son. Till October 2019, foundation restored vision to more than 2.7 lakh people among the needy and the poor and the economically backward and weaker sections and eliminated illiteracy through Sarada Vidyalayam and educated more than 3000 rural poor children providing them free facilities.[2]

Origin and objectives

Sankurathri Foundation is working in collaboration with the Manjari Sankurathri Memorial Foundation, established in year 1989[1] at Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.The organisation receives the majority of the funds from donors to operate various projects.[1] A board of volunteers, manage and oversee the distribution of all donations for humanitarian projects in India. In 1989, the active implementation of MSMF objectives fused the onset of The Sankurathri Foundation which is currently managed by three volunteer trustees. Dr. Chandrasekhar Sankurathri remains the president of the Manjari Sankurathri Memorial Foundation and Executive Trustee of the Sankurathri Foundation.

The Sankurathri Foundation was registered as a non-profit organization in India with the purpose of improving the quality of life for destitute and downtrodden in the society. This is planned through education, health care and disaster relief programs. All the activities are being organized from Kakinada,[5] in the East Godavari District of Andhra pradesh, serving a population of over five million. Till August 2015 the programme outreach spread over four districts of Andhra Pradesh around Kakinada is 20 million.[5] Chandrasekhar lives on site and supervises all internal programs and outreach campaigns.

Sankurathri Foundation is implementing educational programs through Sarada Vidyalayam, health care programs through SriKiran Institute of Ophthalmology and disaster relief programs through Spandana.[5]

Sarada Vidyalayam

Sarada Vidyalayam consists of three schools- Primary, High, and Vocational and had started in the year 1992 in Kakinada, his wife's hometown,[1][3] and gradually grew over the years.[5] While the primary school provides instruction in grades one to five, the High school covers grades six to ten, and till September 2008 more than 1200 students graduated. The vocational School will provide much needed job skills to unemployed youth in the region. Sarada vidyalayam opened its doors in 1992[3] with 25 children enrolled in grade one.[5] The current enrollment in the year 2015 is 165.[5] The school follows the Andhra pradesh State Government syllabus. The school claims a zero drop-out rate in a scenario where national average is 50%.[3] In addition to the academic subjects, children are encouraged to participate in activities such as gardening, drawing, painting, sewing, embroidery, yoga, dance, drama, and crafts. The children of the school have done very well academically as well as in extra curricular activities. The school has been formally recognized for its achievements and designated as a model school in the district. The primary school is free for all children. The children receive lunch, milk, uniforms, shoes, books, schoolbags, transportation, medical checkups, and medicines free of cost but the students should ensure discipline and interest to learn.[3] Sarada Vidyalayam is supported by MSMF, Asha for Education, St. Isidore School, St. Gregory Catholic School and other donors. He was named as Paul Harris Fellow by the Rotary Foundation, USA for his humanitarian work. For kids of the village the school is a gateway for good life and the management ensures that students are in time to assembly, ritual walk around the statue of goddess known as Sarada and the teachings happen under huge mango trees in campus.[3] Also the students nurture good ambitions even if many of their parents are not even literate.[3]

SriKiran Institute of Ophthalmology

SriKiran Institute of Ophthalmology was inaugurated in January, 1993[1][5] with a mission to "provide quality eye care with compassion which is accessible, affordable and equitable to all". Its outreach program with a strong awareness component has brought increased demand on SriKiran's resources and services. Today, SriKiran is a very well equipped and provider of modern eye care in the region. The new hospital building has ample waiting areas for out patients, five fully equipped air-conditioned operating theatres, speciality clinics for cornea, glaucoma, retina, Pediatric Ophthalmology Microbiology laboratory, library, low Vision Rehabilitation Center and Auditorium. The eye care facility which is headquartered in Kakinada, till year 2018 has 11 branches and operates several mobile camps and purchase of state of art equipments like a visual field analyser which is needed to run these facilities costs around Rs 18 lakhs and hence raising funds remains a challenge.[1]

SriKiran offers access to affordable eye care to all regardless of their socio-economic status. To those who attend eye screening camps, SriKiran provides free eye examinations, and if a cataract surgery is recommended, provides free transportation, free surgery with an intraocular lens (IOL), free medications, free accommodation and food while they are in the hospital. The school bus of the Institution is used to ply villagers to the school. The hospital had performed more than 1,37,000 cataract operations with 90% of them free from the year of its inception to the year 2008.[3] The other strengths of SriKiran are its training programs and International Volunteer program. SriKiran has been a leader in setting standards for eye care in the region, and providing training that emphasizes the importance of 'quality care' in delivering eye care services. Till June 2018, eyecare facility had provided free procedures to nearly a quarter million underprivileged patients from the date of its inception 25 years ago.[1] As the organisation completed silver jubilee in the year 2018, Mr.Sankurathri has also released his autobiography, A Ray of Hope, at a function in Ottawa which he feels will motivate youngsters to cope with depression.[1]

SriKiran conducts continuing medical education programs to disseminate current concepts and techniques to local Ophthalmologists. Those programs are organized regularly through visits of volunteer specialists from Canada and the USA.

SriKiran is supported by Canadian International Development Agency,[3] National Program for Control of Blindness (NPCB), Christoffel-Blindenmission (CBM), Sensor Technology Limited, Eye care for the Adirondacks, Eye Foundation of America, District Blindness Control Society (DBCS), Aravind Eye Hospital, University of Ottawa Eye Institute, Wildrose Foundation, Help the Aged Canada, Rotary International, Orbis International, Infosys. The school is also marginally funded by Indian Government, nominally from charities like Help the Aged, partially from strangers of rest of the world like St. Gregory's Catholic School in the Ottawa suburb of Nepean, money raised from bake sales from school kids which totalled approx $14,000 till year 2008, and Dr Chandra's network around the world.[3]

Spandana

Spandana is a disaster relief program started in 1998.[1] As the region is situated on the coast of Bay of Bengal, disasters are frequent due to cyclones and monsoon rains resulting in floods and considerable damage to property. The program provides to displaced persons basic necessities such as food, drinking water, medications while they are in temporary shelters, and utensils, food, clothing and other needs after they return to their homes.

Awards and recognitions

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Kanishka bombing: Meet the man who recovered from a personal tragedy by serving the poor". Hindustan Times. 10 June 2018. Retrieved 9 March 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Sankurathri founder honoured". www.thehansindia.com. 14 October 2019. Retrieved 9 March 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Chandrasekhar Sankurathri - A True Hero". The Better India. 17 September 2008. Retrieved 9 March 2021.
  4. ^ Arsenault, Adrienne. "Making Canada Proud". CBC News - The National. CBC. Retrieved 11 April 2012.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h "Dr Chandrasekhar Sankurathri: His Tragic Loss Helps Others Gain Sight". thelogicalindian.com. 30 August 2015. Retrieved 9 March 2021.

Further reading