He turned his own darkness into light for 1000s of Indian children

Dr Roshan Radhakrishnan
For scientist Dr Chandrasekhar Sankurathri, life consisted of working as a visiting faculty for the Ministry of Fisheries in Canada and an evaluator for Canada's Ministry of Health was balanced with enjoying the love of his young wife and two children. Tragedy struck however when his entire family was killed in the Air India Flight 182 bombing on 23 June 1985. Disillusioned, Chandrasekhar spent years after that trying to find a purpose in life. 

“I still remember seeing off my wife, son and daughter at Montreal airport. They were so happy … that’s the image I still have of them. Lively, happy people … that is what I still remember.”

Indian doctor sitting behind desk

Finally, in 1988, he resigned and returned to India with a new set of goals. He was determined to make his remaining years fruitful to those less privileged in his home town of Andhra Pradesh (present Telengana). 

board outside building

After setting up the Manjari Sankurathri Memorial Foundation (named after his late wife) in Canada and the Sankurathri Foundation as an non-profit organization in India, Dr Chandrasekhar focused on three goals - education, healthcare and disaster management. Situated between rural settlements and paddy fields in Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh, the huge campus he built over years embodies all these three goals. 

Sarada Vidyalayam

school children in a class photo

Named after his late daughter, is a high school that opened in 1992 and provides free education and vocational training. This is in addition to providing all the children lunch, uniforms, shoes, books, bags, transportation and medicines.

SriKiran Institute of Ophthalmology 

doctor talking to operated patients

Named after his late son who spoke of being an 'eye doctor for children when he grew up', opened in 1993 and offers affordable eye care including specialty surgeries. In addition to free eye camps, the hospital provides free transportation, accommodation, food, surgery and lenses.


A disaster relief program, started in 1998 and is aimed at providing basic necessities to those displaced by natural disasters, common to the region situated near the coast of the Bay of Bengal.

In 2008, Dr Chandrasekhar Sankurathri became the first Indian to win the CNN Hero award by CNN International.

man sitting at a desk

35 years from the day the love and light of his eyes were taken away from him, Dr Chandrasekhar Sankurathri's philanthropic work continues to bring light to the minds and eyes of thousands of children in India.

Heroes of Kindness:

Since 2017, every year, I take up the #BlogchatterA2Z & #AtoZChallenge and focus on showcasing lovely real-life heroes from around the worldThe aim is to remind you that there is still plenty of good human beings all around you... to inspire you to smile once more.
You can follow my 2020 Edition of Heroes of Kindness here.

Want more stories of compassion? I have Hundreds of 'Heroes of Kindness' to brighten your day here:

2017 edition (Articles - 40, Heroes - 67)
2018 edition (Articles - 34, Heroes - 52)
2019 edition (Articles - 31, Heroes - 42)

Heroes of Kindness - Indian edition
Heroes of Kindness - My Interviews

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Let me know what you think.

  1. I get emotional reading your posts. Do we do enough to acknowledge and appreciate these individuals?

    1. Ironically, I was a bit teary eyed just now while writing the finishing touches on an upcoming post... sometimes, the pain behind the kindness gets to you

  2. What an extraordinary human being. He is indeed a great soul who can overcome such tragedy and dedicate his life to uplifting others. God Bless him.

  3. It's incredible to have done so much in a lifetime. A true inspiration to us all. I think the world survives because of people like him <3

  4. This is so inspiring tale of Kindness! He has a big heart and a precious soul. Loved reading his story.

  5. Such a beautiful soul. May he live a happy and healthy life!

  6. Life is awesome. From loss and grif may always come hope. And people like Dr Chandrasekhar Sankurathri demonstrate it.

    The Old Shelter - Living the Twenties

  7. This is what we call 'turning poison into medicine'. He turned his life's tragedy to bring light to so many people.

  8. What an inspiring personality. I do appreciate your work of bringing these stories to us.

  9. Rising above the personal tragedy to become a benevolent benefactor shows the strength of the character. Salute to Dr Chandrasekhar Sankurathri.

  10. Dr Chandrasekhar Sankurathri is a shining example of turning a personal tragedy into triumph. How amazing is that he is touching so many lives and making a difference. More power to him and may his tribe increase.

  11. It's so heartbreaking but thank you for sharing such an inspiring story, which otherwise I wouldn't ave known. :(

  12. To encounter such humans in life is a blessing! Having that hope there are still heroes to brighten lives

  13. This is such a heartwarming story. I was unaware of this gentleman. He deserves all the respect and accolades that come his way. Salute.

    Best wishes for the rest of the A2Z.

  14. Indeed work done by Dr Chandrasekhar Sankurathri in education, healthcare, disaster management has lighten up the lives of many.

  15. An incredible human being! He took the tragedy as an opportunity to make better for the hundreds around him. The world needs more heroes like him. May his departed family rest in peace and may God bless him. Thank you for sharing.

    I think many of my comments have ended up as spam!

  16. Thank You for reminding us of the goodness in this world. God Bless him for his selfless work.

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