For many children from poor families where food is an uncertain commodity, education is a far off or rather an impossible notion. But Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled, a nonprofit organization provides free education to these children from underprivileged backgrounds. Their schools not only offer quality education but also provides free food and boarding facilities. The free residential school offers an assortment of the curriculum like the informal education to the intellectually-disabled children; inclusive education, etc. The NGO is also coming up with their very own barrier-free residential school, to encourage the children with disabilities to pursue education.
One of the young students and an academically smart pupil of the organization, Suhas, who is preparing for his 10th standard board exams aspires to become a doctor. Unlike a regular student, Suhas was born with a locomotor disability hailing from a very poor family. Despite the circumstances, he wanted to study which lead him to Samarthanam. He scored 83% in his ninth standard and is aiming to score above 90 in his board exams for which he is working hard backed by his teachers’ support and guidance.
Mr. Mahantesh, Founder and Managing Trustee of the NGO, believes in Suhas’ ability and is very certain that he will excel in his higher education as well for which the organization will bear all of the expenses. The organization has a different vertical which helps the students with disabilities seeking higher education where they counsel the students and arrange for them to enroll in reputed colleges with the food, boarding facility having been taken care of by the organization. The agenda is to encourage quality education for the persons with disabilities to help them secure well-paying jobs, as in most cases, they are the sole breadwinners of their families.
The NGO has already established a firm foothold in Northern regions of Karnataka like Dharward, Belagavi, etc. where every year over 700 students with disabilities are provided with an opportunity to perceive higher education. In fact, the first-ever blind chartered accountant is a student of the organization. The NGO does not limit its students to higher education but it also encourages them to polish their skills like spoken English, communication, and other soft skills to make them job-ready. This aspect is well-handled by the Livelihood Resource Center which has different vertices like mobilization team, training center, placement cell, etc.
The NGO’s journey so far has never been easy, and every now and then the organization faces some or the other issues with the finances as not many prefer donating for a cause dedicated to the education of the persons with disabilities and from the underprivileged backgrounds.