When even a small injury, headache or fever prompts us to avail leave from our regular duty, can we imagine the trauma of a person losing his entire family in an accident and being deprived of getting the last glimpse of the deceased bodies? Here is a person by the name Dr. Chandrasekhar Shankurathri, a selfless and strong soul who is a definite aberration from the weak minded normal crew. He overcame the loss of his entire family (wife and two children) in a tragic Airplane bombing by terrorists on 23 June 1985 at Ireland. It took nearly three years for Dr. Chandrasekhar, to overcome the shock. But soon he decided to dedicate his entire life for the upliftment of downtrodden and underprivileged back in his motherland India and relocated from Canada. Thus he established Sankurathri Foundation in the year 1989 in Andhra Pradesh and is tirelessly working on three fronts namely Primary Education of kids, Eradication of Blindness among rural masses and Disaster relief program—A ‘Selfless Service Triangle’ in the form of Sarada Vidyalayam School, Srikiran Institute of Ophthalmology and disaster relief program through Spandana.
Chandrasekhar Sankurathri was born on 20 November 1943 at Singarayakonda in Andhra Pradesh; His parents were Mr. Appala Narasayya Naidu and Mrs. Ramayamma. He was the youngest amongst eight siblings. He did his schooling from Municipal High School at Rajahmundry, East Godavari District. He completed his graduation from Andhra University and further migrated to Canada for higher studies. In Canada, he did his higher studies at Memorial University of Newfoundland and University of Alberta.
Career & Married Life
After earning a doctorate, he worked as a visiting scientist for the Ministry of Fisheries and also as a scientific evaluator to Ministry of Health, Govt. of Canada. He entered into wedlock with Ms. Manjari in the year 1975. They had two children Son Srikiran and daughter Sarada. When life seemed to be happy going, tragedy struck in Dr. Chandrasekhar’s life with the entire family of wife, son, and daughter losing life in a terrorist bombing of aircraft they were traveling in the year 1985. Most tragic part of the accident being Dr. Chandrasekhar was unable to have a last glimpse of his dear ones. He resigned from his scientist position with Canadian Govt. in 1988 and flew back to India. By then he had decided to dedicate his entire life for the upliftment of downtrodden masses back in his motherland India and returned to Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh.
Mission Sankurathri Foundation Incepted
Being dwelled in memory of departed beloved ones was not the options Dr. Chandrasekhar chose. While in Canada he had established a foundation in his wife’s memory called Manjari Sankurathri Memorial Foundation in 1989, a registered charity. Back in India, he established the Sankurathri Foundation in memory of his entire family.
The Foundation began with the goal to improve the quality of life of destitute and downtrodden people in the rural and remote areas of Andhra Pradesh. The entire program had three folded objectives. Educate needy children with free school, create awareness about rampant blindness and eye diseases in his native place with an ophthalmology center and provide disaster relief help to the needy. Dr. Chandrasekhar named the school after his beloved daughter Sarada. He christened the eye care center after his son Srikiran. Thus Sarada School and Srikiran ophthalmology center came into existence in the year 1992 and 1993 respectively. As part of his love and affection towards his wife Mrs. Manjari Sankurathri, Spandana Institute for disaster relief was initiated in 1998. Thus three pillars of Sankurathri Foundation were established and are operational across four districts of Andhra Pradesh serving nearly 20 million people of the state.
The Three Pillars of Sankurathri in Nutshell
Dr. Chandrasekhar incepted Sarada Vidyalayam School in the year 1992. It operates at three levels of education dissemination viz. Primary, High school, and Vocational schools. The role of vocational School is imparting job skills to unemployed youth in the region. The school follows the syllabus of Andhra Pradesh Government. Children are also encouraged to participate in co-curricular activities such as gardening, drawing, painting, sewing, embroidery, yoga, dance, drama, and crafts.
SriKiran Institute of Ophthalmology was started in 1993 with a mission to provide quality eye care with compassion. Today, SriKiran has grown as well equipped state of art modern eye care institute in the region with all kinds of the laboratory. The key feature being it provides affordable eye-care to people from different strata of society. The Institute itself takes all the cost of cataract operations. Even free transportation facility for patients is provided. Dr. Chandrasekhar also has ensured building strong human resource in the region through training programs for volunteers.
Spandana disaster relief Institute was incepted in the year 1998 to address life and property losses due to frequent cyclones in this coastal part of the nation. The institute aims at providing food, shelter and other amenities to flood and cyclone affected victims.
Awards & Recognitions
Different sections of society applaud Dr. Chandrasekhar’s foundation for the commendable service to the society. Important awards vested on Sankurathri Foundation are listed here:
- The year 2012 – Silicon Andhra, USA, special recognition for service to humanity
- The year 2012 – ASSOCHAM social innovation excellence award
- The year 2010 –Hero of the Year Award by CNN IBN NEWS CHANNEL.
- The year 2006 – “Mother Teresa Excellence Award” for accomplishments by Integrated Council for Socioeconomic Progress & Front for contribution to Nation at New Delhi.
- The year 1998- Telugu Cultural Society, Houston, Texas, USA.
Kalam Fan Club wishes good health and success to Dr. Chandrasekhar Sankurathri.