Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled was established in the year 1997 by Founder Managing Trustee Mahantesh G Kivadasannavar along with his schoolmate and childhood friend, Late Sugur Paramashivaiah Nagesh. Being visually impaired and having witnessed various challenges, the founders together conceptualized Samarthanam during their college days. As days passed by their resolve to turn ideas into concrete was further encouraged and supported within their society. The ideas and concepts put together to lead them to the making of an organization which would cater to the Persons with Disabilities, the Underserved and the Underprivileged, by the name Samarthanam trust for the Disabled.
The founders believed that education was the basic right of every individual. Irrespective of status and disability, they wanted each and every individual to be receiving a quality education and eventually be more independent. Thus, Education became one of the early initiatives of the foundation paving the way for the development of Residential Schools at Primary, Secondary, and Higher levels for Visually Impaired and the Underserved. The idea was to serve the Persons with Disabilities while emphasizing Inclusive Education. Students were also provided with scholarships aiding them to pursue their education which was the precursor of the Nonprofit's Higher Education Program.
Alongside basic education, IT Training Centres for the visually impaired students were set up at numerous locations. The organization wanted to help more persons by providing livelihood and employment opportunities and thus the Computer Training Centers evolved into the 'Livelihood Resource Centre' or LRC.
Moving on, as the organization’s objective and drive started gathering support, Samarthanam’s areas of service also widened. Samarthanam moved onto initiating Parisara- A Dry Waste Management Program; ‘Vidyaprasad’ – Mid-day meal programme providing a nutritious meal to students in Government schools; Rehabilitation Centres for Women in Distress; Social Enterprises like Punar and a Sports Association for the visually impaired - Cricket Association for Blind in India or CABI. The initiatives kept escalating and strengthening covering plethora of sectors and catering to the needs of many individuals. As the drive was perceived to be significant and noble, the support received from various quarters was exemplary.
Two decades down the road, Samarthanam expanded and fortified to be recognized as an umbrella organization, offering services to hundreds of Persons with Disabilities, the Underserved and also to Women in Distress.
The NGO promotes the building of an inclusive society which provides equal opportunities, without discrimination, for the development of the visually challenged, disabled and economically underprivileged.
The impact of Samarthanam has spread across 15 cities implementing seven major programmes transforming the lives of over 50000 people directly and indirectly with its services. The organization aims to continue its expansion, serving diverse sectors while embracing many people in need.
In recognition of its services, Samarthanam was felicitated with the National Award for Child Welfare (2010) by Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India and National Award for Child Welfare (2014) in the institution category were awarded. And also, the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) granted general Consultative Status to Samarthanam in the year 2015
Samarthanam is affiliated to the World Blind Union and Rehabilitation International.
As Samarthanam continues to grow, along with Shri Mahantesh’s entrepreneurial finesse, the support extended by Trustees Vasanti Savanur, Uday Kumar YB, and Buse Gowda S is significant in taking the organization to new heights, escalating in area and energy.