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Who We Are - Over the years

A lone young doctor inspired by a set of ideals started romancing in the wilderness of BR Hills inhabitated by the native Soligas way back in 1979. Braving the challenges of the jungle and the natives, Dr. H. Sudarshan put up a small hut which served as his hospital. The news of this young doctor spread to the world beyond and drew attention of the other few like-minded doctors and philanthropists who joined him in the endeavour. 

 The hut which stands a testimony to Dr. Sudarshan’s passion 

The doctor and his team walked door to door in the hamlets of BR Hills with medicines and interacted with the prominent local community leaders, treating common diseases such as nutritional anemia, diarrhea, worm infestations, cuts and wounds. Eventually news spread of the doctor and Soligas people began to seek and accept his treatment. However, the doctor felt that medical interventions did not provide long term sustainability and began to invest time and resources in developing education and livelihood support. Gradually they felt the need for a registered body to serve the Soligas in a better way and thus VGKK was established in 1981 to address the evolving needs of the tribal community.

 

Milestones…

1
Conception and establishment of VGKK in 1981
2
A clinic and  a 4-bed hospital  on the rock in 1981
3
A tiled 20-bed hospital in 1985
4
A non-formal school in a hut with 6 children in 1980
5

A school for first standard with 10 children with Recognition from the Government along with the hostel  in 1982 to over 500 children at present
6

A vocational training centre with honey processing,  candle making, agarbathi, bakery, pickle making and weaving  in 1983
7

Setting up of weaving unit  in 1985 –empowering the Soliga community with income generating skills
8

Introduction of sustainable Livelihoods and Biodiversity Conservation through Non-Timber Forest Produce (NTFP) in 1983 -thus enabling the sale of forest produce
9

Establishment of community organization to address structural inequities (protection of tribal women),  address labour exploitation, land encroachment in  1983
10

Fight for Land Rights of one village (Yethegowdana Doddi) for Soligas by Dr Sudarshan in 1988 when he was arrested . The land was allotted subsequently
11

VGKK completes 25 glorious years and celebrates with Special Guest, Dr. Abdul Kalam 2006
12

The 20-bed hospital upgraded to a concrete building and inaugurated by Dr. Abdul Kalam in 2006
13
Land Rights awarded to 1519 families and Hakku Patta distributed in 2010
14

Community Forest Rights awarded to conserve and manage the forest to 25 Forest Rights Committees of 32 Gram Sabha Podus in 2011

 

The journey would not have been possible but for an extremely committed and motivated team which has been the sustaining factor that has defined our success story. Many of the old staff members are still there today and some tribal students have graduated and gone on to pursue advanced degrees from prestigious universities in India.

News and Event Karuna Trust has been fortunate to have had the help and support of several individuals and organizations that have partnered with us, over the past 25 years, and helped with our mission. The following is a partial list of Karuna Trustís collaborators and financial supporters. Dr. H. Sudarshan founded Karuna Trust (KT) in 1986 to respond to the widespread prevalence of leprosy in the Yelandur Taluk of Karnataka.

KT has been singularly successful in addressing this problem and the prevalence of leprosy in Yelandur dropped from 21.4 per 1000 population in 1987 to 0.28 per 1000 in 2005. From leprosy control, KT expanded its mission to address problems of epilepsy, mental health and tuberculosis. Eventually this led to the government of Karnataka asking KT to take over the day-to-day operations of the PHC at Gumballi which is intended to serve the same people that KT was serving.