From tragedy to helping others: story of a real-life hero

What would you do if your spouse and children were murdered by terrorists?

This is the story of what Dr. Chandra Sankurathri did  when his family died in the Air India 183 bombing

First, he grieved for his wife Manjari and children, Sirikan (7) and Sarada (4).  He grieved long and deeply.

Then he found a way to make sure they were never forgotten – in this best way possible.

This scientists went back to his wife’s birthplace in India and, using funds he raised by opening a charitable organisations which bears her name:  the Manjari Sankurathri Memorial Foundation (MSMF), he opened a school for kids who would otherwise not be able to get an education!

He named the school for his daughter, Sarada.

Though the doors of life closed on his daughter, a school bearing Sarada’s name opened the doors to a new, better life for hundreds of children.  What a worthy legacy!

But, Dr. Chandra did not stop there.

He noticed that many of the poorest people in the region could not earn a living because they were blind.  Being a scientist, he analysed the problem and soon realized that the leading cause of blindness were cataracts or other treatable conditions.

Devoting much energy to this, he added an eye clinic to the school: the bus, once it brought the pupils to school, could then bring the blind to the clinic where they are treated.

The clininc, named after his son, quickly grew into the Srikiran Institute of Opthalmology.

I admit it:  I am a bit of a softie!

When I see people selflessly helping others, I cannot but be touched by their devotion to the cause of humanity.  Yes, I do wish I could live up to the standards they set:  and, yes, I also know I am not strong enough to!  I doubt that most of us could only aspire to their strength!

And, when you see someone suffer a personal tragedy of this magnitude – a tragedy which resulted from human avarice and hate – and give your loved ones memory meaning through helping others, I cannot but see this person as a real-life hero!

So, I cannot but respect and admire them – and their work.

Letting everyone else know about them – and their work – is the least I can do!

If YOU would like to help Dr. Chandra in his work – and enjoy the most delicious Indian food EVER, here is your chance!

I speak of nothing other than the annual MSMF fundraising picnic, coming up in Ottawa on Saturday, the 13th of June, 2009.

I have gone to this picnic many many times:  the people are friendly and the food is, well, really, really awesome!

All the food is prepared on-site (the Andrew Haydon Park).  Some of it is made – and donated – by the best Indian restaurants in Ottawa.  But, the best dishes are the ones prepared by some of the best Indian cooks in the world:  but whose cooking you can only taste if you are invited to their home, or if you come to this picnic!

If you cannot come, you can still help!  (Sorry, you’ll miss out on the food – but, if you’d like, I’ll describe it for you afterwards!)

So, if you happen to be in the Ottawa area, you just might want to drop in, enjoy some awesome food – and be a part of something great at the same time!