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Sahana Trust empowers visually impaired people in Karnataka

Sahana Charitable Trust for the Disabled in Bengaluru was founded by three visually impaired people. Their main motive is to empower visually impaired youngsters through education and technology. The founders share their journey on how they started this venture.

A vision of three blind people, Sahana Charitable Trust for the Disabled in Bengaluru is an organisation that works towards empowering community members. Lakshmi Shankar, V Narasimhaiah and Varadaraju P struggled to complete their education. They even recollect how they were unable to attend a college due to lack of resourced for visually impaired people. That is precisely the reason why they decided to start Sahana Charitable Trust in the year 2000.

The prime reason behind starting Sahana was to distribute educational textbooks in Braille to visually impaired students in Karnataka. Apart from a centre in Bengaluru, they have services in Mysuru and Dharwad as well.

Currently, they are running a hostel in Bengaluru for visually impaired girls from economically backward families who are in the city for higher education. There are 25 inmates in the hostel and all of them have come from rural areas of Karnataka. They are given free accommodation until they complete their under-graduation. A similar hostel for boys is functioning at Mysuru with 23 inmates.

We aim to provide all the basic facilities needed for a visually impaired person along with providing them Braille textbooks which is our main focus. In future, we want to start computer training courses for girls and empower them to become independent and self-reliant. They must be able to earn a living after completing education.-Lakshmi Shankar, Managing Trust, Sahana Charitable Trust for the Disabled.

Currently, they have 21 staffs working in various sections out of which 75% are disabled people. Lakshmi points out that the people who leave Sahana are placed in well to do jobs in various sectors including teaching, corporate and training. "Nowadays, visually impaired people can do all sorts of jobs because technology has advanced. There are many features for visually impaired people", says Lakshmi.

Their library, exclusively for Braille books at Mysuru and Dharwar is yet another highlight of Sahana. They are soon starting a computer centre and Braille magazine as part of Sahana's upcoming venture. But Lakshmi says that implementing future plans is indeed a struggle due to lack of funds. "We have no government support. Though we tried, it never materialised. So we have some individual donors who are helping us. Even corporate companies lend us a helping hand", adds Lakshmi.

By spreading the word about Sahana and their many future plans, founders believe that more kind-hearted people will come forward to support their projects. Financial support is extremely important for this organisation to carry on with their activities.

"Ever since starting Sahana, we could empower many visually impaired people. We believe our ventures have been successful. In the early nineties, there were no provisions for visually impaired people to pursue studies. It was difficult to get admissions in colleges and we have experienced it ourselves. We started Sahana mainly because there was non-availability of Braille textbooks and lack of hostel facilities. To encourage education amongst visually impaired people, we started Sahana Charitable Trust", says V Narasimhaiah, President.

You can contact Sahana Charitable Trust at +91 9964100081.

ALSO READ: A Bengaluru holiday led to the start of this NGO that reaches out to visually impaired people

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