Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled was established in the year 1997 by Founder Managing Trustee Mahantesh G Kivadasannavar along with his schoolmate and childhood friend, Late. Nagesh SP. Being visually impaired and having witnessed various challenges, the founders have together conceptualized Samarthanam during their college days. As days passed by their resolve to turn ideas into concrete was further encouraged and supported within their society. The ideas and concepts put together lead them to the making of an organization which would cater to people with visual impairment and underprivileged, by the name Samarthanam trust for the Disabled.
The founders believed that education was the basic right of every individual. Irrespective of status and disability, they wanted each and every individual to be receiving quality education and eventually be more independent. And hence they initiated on the development of various schools at primary, secondary and higher levels for visually impaired and underserved. Though the idea was to serve persons with disabilities, inclusive education was given high priority. Students were also provided with scholarships aiding them in pursuing their education.
Along with education, Samarthanam also initiated on establishing IT training Centres for visually impaired. The organization wanted to help more persons by providing livelihood and employment opportunities and under the name “Livelihood Resource Centre (LRC)” the purpose was being effectively fulfilled.
Moving on, as the organization’s objective and drive started gathering support, Samarthanam’s areas of service also widened. Samarthanam moved onto initiating Parisara- A dry waste management programme, ‘Vidyaprasad’ – Mid-day meal programme providing nutritious meal to students in Government schools, Rehabilitation Centres for women in distress, Social Enterprises like Punar and a Sports Association for the visually impaired by name “Cricket Association for Blind in India (CABI)”. The initiatives kept escalating and strengthening covering plethora of sectors and catering to the needs of many individuals. As the drive was perceived to be significant and noble, the support received from various quarters was exemplary.
Two decades down the road, Samarthanam expanded and fortified to be recognized as an umbrella organization, offering services to hundreds of people with disabilities, underserved and women in distress majorly impacting the lives of persons with disabilities.
Samarthanam promotes building of an inclusive society which provides equal opportunities, without discrimination, for the development of the visually challenged, disabled and economically underprivileged.
Samarthanam, today, works across 15 cities implementing 7 major programmes impacting the lives of over 50000 people directly and indirectly with its services. The organization aims to continue expanding, serving diverse sectors and embracing many more people in need.
In recognition of its services Samarthanam was felicitated with the National Award for Child Welfare (2010) by Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India and National Award for Child Welfare (2014) in the institution category were awarded. United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) granted general Consultative Status to Samarthanam.
Samarthanam is affiliated to the World Blind Union and Rehabilitation International.
As Samarthanam continues to grow, along with Mahantesh’s entrepreneurial finesse, the support extended by Trustees Vasanti Savanur, Uday Kumar YB and Buse Gowda S are significant in taking the organization to new heights, escalating in area and energy.