Chitradurga: A determination to give decent a life for sightless students made him dream of a project in the year 2000. It started with only one student. But today, 40-year-old visually impaired K.B. Srinivas is a proud achiever.
"I can recall several instances when I suffered humiliation and painful embarrassment. I began to despair because of my disability, yet I stood strong to face every adversary. I was determined to set up a school for the blind children. Today, I am happy for making a small beginning," he says.
Blind by birth, Mr. Srinivas runs a school-cum-rehabilitation centre called "Teekshna" for visually challenged children in Chitradurga. Located in the busy and narrow street of the city, the centre now houses around 30 blind children of the district.
Coming from poor family, Mr. Srinivas lost his father at the early age.
"My father was a school teacher who did not have ancestral property except a few acres of land," he said. With the help of a family friend, Mr. Srinivas joined school in Davangere.
Later, he joined Ramana Maharshi Academy for Blind in Bangalore. It was a turning point in his life.
Mr. Srivivas completed his schooling beside learning music. In 1987, with help of The Indian Community Centre U.K., he toured U.K. and performed in several places including London.
Mr. Srinivas quit the job of teacher in 1997 to set up the school. "I spent my entire earning including my PF amount on this. I even sold a small share of land to establish the organisation. My only intention was to help people like me to live a better life with social status."
Mr. Srinivas said since seven years, the organisation had been functioning without any financial aid from neither government nor non-governmental organisation. "I have seven staff members (all are blind), who everyday go out to meet some donors to get funds," he said.
Now, after a long struggle, an elected representative had extended some financial aid, which was used to construct building for the centre. Despite having travelled abroad and performed there, his only dream of meeting Kannada's legendary actor late Dr. Rajkumar was never realised.
Today he consoles himself for getting a chance to be part of orchestra for Kannada films like "Antarala" and "Bili Gulagi". Inspired by his efforts, most of his students wish to become teacher or singer. Mr. Srinivas is proud to have Anil a 14-year boy as his student. A music lover, "I want to be a singer or may be a teacher," he said. Harish, another student, who likes to play chess and nurtures a dream of becoming a teacher like Mr. Srinivas.
Mr. Srinivas strongly believes that any person who does not realise his or her potential to achieve success is disabled. He is proud that 10 of his students have found employment in Bangalore.