; Andhra Pradesh
A biologist turned philanthropist, Mr. Chandrasekhar Sankurathri is working to erase blindness among the poor and rural communities of Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh. He strongly believes that most cases of blindness can be cured with proper treatment.
Mr. Sankurathri, 61, relocated from Ottawa in Canada to Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh in 1989, after he lost his wife, daughter and son in the Air India bomb attack 20 years ago. Since then, he has dedicated his life to social activism through his community outreach programmes.
Dedicated to the memory of his late family members, he founded the ‘Manjari Sankurathri Memorial Foundation’ in Canada, the ‘Sankurathri Foundation’ in India and the ‘Srikiran Institute of Ophthalmology’. Through these initiatives, he aims to give the best quality treatment, even to those who cannot afford to pay. He brings in expertise from abroad. "Many [physicians and lab technicians] have come from the U.S.A. and Canada to help us. They transfer skills to local volunteers and workers," he explains. Since 1993, more than five lakh patients have received eye-care treatment, out of which one lakh have had cataract operations at this state-of-the-art eye hospital.
International agencies and organisations such as Help the Aged Canada, Canadian International Development Agency, Rotary International, ORBIS International, Asha for Education, Eye Foundation of America and Eye Care for the Adirondacks, support his programmes.
Apart from his eye-care initiatives, Sankurathri has invested his efforts in education. Through Sarada Vidyalayam, an upper primary school, his foundation provides free education to rural children.