Born in the year 1970, Shri Mahantesh GK lost his vision due to Typhoid when he was six-months-old. But he proved to be a visionary and established Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled along with his schoolmate and good friend Late Shri Sugur Paramashivaiah Nagesh.
He completed his Primary Schooling from Shree Ramana Maharishi Academy for the Blind and Higher Education from National College, Bangalore. He acquired his Masters Degree and M Phil from the University of Bangalore. He is a first-class academician and an ardent admirer of English Language and History. He started his career as an English lecturer at University Law College, Bangalore. But his inspiration and calling were elsewhere; he wanted to ensure all possible support to Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) by providing Education and Sports facilities on par with their non-disabled peers. He wanted to see PwDs become taxpayers and not dole recipients. Thus, began the journey of Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled. Ever since its establishment, Samarthanam Trust, under the able leadership of Shri Mahantesh, has been providing education, livelihood facilities, infrastructure, technology and a plethora of other need-based support to the disabled and underprivileged. He wants to ensure that sufficient opportunities reach each and every person both in academics and sports. He also serves as the President of the Cricket Association for the Blind in India (CABI) and the World Blind Cricket Ltd (WBC).
Sugur Paramashivaiah Nagesh, Founder Trustee of Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled, is a sportsman and an international cricketer. Born in 1967, Nagesh was partially blind by birth. But that did not act as a stumbling block for him. Nagesh represented India in several international sports meets and won 7 gold and 3 silver medals, besides several medals in State and National level games.
Nagesh completed his schooling from Shree Ramana Maharishi Academy for the Blind, a special residential school for students with visual impairment and scored top marks. Due to lack of residential facilities after schooling, Nagesh could not continue his education in the formal system and had to pursue degree in Bachelor of Arts through correspondence.
His career started as a Training Assistant with the school he studied in and later was employed at State Bank of India in Bangalore. His passion continued to be sports, especially Blind cricket. His primary focus was on achieving Blind cricket its rightful place in the country and the cricketers their due recognition and credit.
He served as the President for Cricket Association for the Blind in India (CABI), the cricketing arm of Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled. He played a key role in organizing the first ever T20 World Cup for the Blind in India (2012). The winning trophy was lifted by the Indian team by defeating Pakistan in the Final Match.
Sugur Paramashivaiah Nagesh passed away on 24 April 2016 and his demise left Samarthanam and CABI under grief for long.
Vasanti Savanur has been a teacher all her life. She taught at the NSVK institutions for 15 years before taking voluntary retirement to join hands with Mahantesh G K and Nagesh S P to support them with the management of Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled. A motherly figure, Vasanti Savanur oversees the education and Sunadha, the cultural wing of Samarthanam. She has been instrumental in inspiring students with disabilities to excel in their chosen fields of academics. Sunadha has progressed leaps and bounds due to her persevered efforts along with the two Founders. Vasanti Savanur provides practical support to the team in managing the operations and administering the organization.
Born in a small village called Bellatti in Gadag District of Northwest Karnataka, Uday Kumar Y. Bagunavar is a prolific leader. He lost his eyesight when he was 12 but that could not deter him from dreaming big in the society that has traditionally been awkward towards people with visual impairment.
Uday Kumar Bagunavar, who is an MA (Sociology) graduate, has been working in Canara Bank since 1997, the year that saw Samarthanam’s inception to champion the cause of persons with disabilities in India. Sports’ has been his biggest passion and it is evident through his participation and laurels received at state and national levels including numerous gold, silver and bronze medals. Besides being an avid cricketer who promoted the game big time in North West Karnataka he is also a successful track and field athlete. As a result of brilliant achievements in sports, a rural boy with visual impairment found his dream job.
His association with Samarthanam dates back to childhood days and he is a proud alumnus of the prestigious Shree Ramana Maharishi Academy for the Blind and a trained agro-based professional from TRDC Bangalore. Though based out of Hubli since 2005 his passion to support persons with disabilities find avenues to reach their dreams in North Karnataka kept driving him to replicate activities of Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled which was achieved in the year 2009 by establishing Livelihood Resource Centre (LRC) in Dharwad.
Under his inspirational leadership, Samarthanam LRCs are operational in Dharwad, Belgaum, Gadag, and Bellary which have been exemplary game-changers for persons with disabilities of the region. His hard work and contributions to Samarthanam’s activities resulted in his being appointed as Trustee in the year 2013. His disability has pushed him harder to get his coveted goal – an encouragement par excellence!
Buse Gowda is an ardent supporter of Samarthanam since its inception. Gowda is a close friend of Mahantesh GK and late Nagesh SP, the Founders of Samarthanam, and supported the organization with his continuous involvement and encouragement for various activities. Buse Gowda born in 1973 is visually impaired. He is a business professional operating Maxworth Tours & Travels, a professional Travel Agency in Bangalore. He is also a highly acknowledged artist and holds the name “Mayura” for his famous dance performance on stage.
Buse Gowda has a degree in Bachelor of Arts and is a trained Bharathanatyam Artist who has delivered over 1000 performances on many stages in India and abroad. He is also a sports enthusiast with high interests in chess, athletics and cricket.
Buse Gowda joined Samarthanam as a trustee in 2016 to support the organization’s efforts in building an inclusive society for people with disabilities and underserved.
Kumaraswamy’s encounter with Samarthanam began back in the days when he led the calling process at Hinduja’s raising funds for the organization. Inspired by the organization’s leadership and the impactful work he decided to give up a lucrative corporate job and join Samarthanam’s bandwagon leading the fundraising vertical from within.
Having been with the organization for over 10 years he established a strong network with several corporates and individuals to ensure surplus resources to run all the programmes effectively. His calm, mature and reliable approach endears him to the supporters leading to long-lasting collaborations. Kumar is committed to continue providing leadership and strengthen the organization to reach its vision 2020 successfully.