Who has the capacity to overcome the sorrows of losing all the loved ones in our life at the same time and then taking up the situation as a chance to serve the society selflessly? Only very few could do this. One such person is Dr Chandrasekhar Sankurathri.
Chandrasekhar lost his whole family in 1985 in the ill-fated Air India flight that exploded mid-air. His wife Manjari, son Srikiran and daughter Sarada, who were going to India to visit family, died at the incident along with the other 325 people. He did not recover the bodies of his loved ones too. Srikiran and Sarada were just 6 and 3 at the time.
Chandrasekhar grew up in in Rajahmundry which is 60 kilometers from Kakinada. He did his Bachelors and Masters in Zoology and finally a PhD in Science. He went to Alberta for a Fellowship and finally become a biologist at Health Canada in Ottawa.
In 1975, Chandrasekhar married Manjari, a born musician, and an artist to her fingertips. It was an arranged marriage and happened in India. The family was happy in Canada with two children.
After losing his wife and two children, Dr. Chandra could not find any reason to live in Canada further. After spending three years of tortuous searching in Canada, he decided to pack up his job as a biologist in Ottawa, returned to a small village in Andhra Pradesh, India and wished to give a new purpose for his life.
Dr. Chandra created a foundation in his wife Manjari’s name that was devoted to working for the betterment of children through education. Today, over a span of 25 years the foundation has provided free education to over 2,360 rural children, mostly to girls.
He started Sankurathri Foundation in 1989. The organization includes the three main programmes: a school named Sarada Vidyalayam after his deceased daughter, an eye care institute Srikiran Institute of Ophthalmology named after his son, and a disaster relief programme called Spandana.
The Sarada School, which was established in 1992, had only 25 children which have now risen to 165. Everything including fees, books, uniforms, meals, even the medical check-ups are all provided free of cost by Sankurathri.
Whereas, the Srikiran eye care Institute provides eye patients free eye examinations irrespective of the social status.
Dr Chandrasekhar Sankurathri believes by making mere contribution one can bring out massive changes in the lives of the people who are deprived of the basic needs. He gets great satisfaction from the fact that people are benefiting from his activities and he would continue to work for the cause for years to come. In spite of losing his family, he went strong and determined to the deprived society.
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