By Subu Kota
BOSTON—I was introduced to Samarthanam Trust a few years ago and I fell in love with this organization, their mission and their commitment to help the disabled, especially the blind.
I go to India three or four times every year and I visit Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled. I have become a big fan of World Cup Cricket for the Blind since it was first held in Bangalore in 2012, and now I want to spread it across the United States and worldwide.
Thanks to Samarthanam, Cricket for the Blind has been gaining momentum in India and worldwide, and is now spreading its wings to the United States. I want to support this initiative and that is why I decided to support Samarthanam with a gift of $1 million last year.
Samarthanam is led by Mahantesh G. Kivadasannavar, founder and managing trustee of the organization. The mission of Samarthanam is to empower visually impaired, disabled and underprivileged people through developmental initiatives focusing on educational, social, economic, cultural and technological aspects. Samarthanam envisions to touch at least 100,000 lives by 2020, providing comprehensive solutions to the disabled and underserved communities.
The trust was founded by Kivadasannavar, who lost his vision due to Typhoid when he was 6 months old. But he proved to be a visionary and established the Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled along with his schoolmate and good friend, S. P Nagesh.
Kivadasannavar completed his primary schooling from Shree Ramana Maharishi Academy for the Blind and Higher Education from National College, Bangalore. He acquired his Masters Degree and M Phil from University of Bangalore. He started his career as an English lecturer at University Law College, Bangalore. But his inspiration and calling was elsewhere.
Kivadasannavar wanted to ensure all possible support to persons with disabilities by providing education and sports facilities on par with their non disabled peers. He wanted to see persons with disabilities become tax payers and not dole recipients. Thus began the journey of Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled.
Ever since its establishment, Samarthanam Trust has been providing education, livelihood facilities, infrastructure, technology and a plethora of other need based support to disabled and underprivileged. He wants to ensure that sufficient opportunities reach each and every person both in academics and sports.
I find the story of Kivadasannavar and Samarthanam very inspiring, and beyond the noble cause of supporting Samarthanam and the Cricket for the Blind, giving gives me enormous joy and builds my confidence level.
Whether you have excess money or not, everyone can help. Start sharing your knowledge. You may think you have nothing to give, but think. You can always add value to people’s lives. Experiences of our life are buried in our mind. They don’t come out unless someone asks. Talk to people and see how you can help. We all have a moral responsibility to give back.
The idea of charity has always been there in my mind, but we never had excess money. When my brother, Ramachandra Rao Kota, passed away in 1988 because of Hepatitis-B, we started a company called Shantha Biotechnics in 1992 to manufacture cost-effective and affordable Hepatitis-B vaccine. When the company was sold to Sanofi group later, we had some money and we got freedom to do things and contribute to the community.
(Mr. Kota is a serial entrepreneur with more than 50 years of business wisdom with broad experience ranging from Information Technology Consulting, e-Learning Services and Pharmaceuticals Research and Manufacturing. He has been involved in start-ups in various sectors. Mr. Kota is charter membership of TiE Boston.)