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Every year Diwali period brings about a range of entertainment which is a joy to watch. Top of the bill this year was the performance at the Dhamecha Lohana Centre, on Sunday 27 October, by the artists of the ‘Samarthanam - Sunadha’ – a cultural group comprising vision, hearing and speech challenged youth from Bangalore, India. The performance was unique not simply because of the disabilities associated with the dancers, it was spell binding for its quality of classical dancing, fusion of classical music and choreography. The event was hosted by the Lions Club of London Golders Green under the leadership of Lion Bharatbhai Hindocha who is Trustee of ‘Samarthanam UK’ who with his colleagues presented a riveting show to a 550 strong audience, the Mayor of Harrow Cllr Ajay Maru, Uma Kumaran and Cllr Rekha Shah. 


Media publicity of the event invited the audience “to have a wonderful time and share the vision of breaking the barriers of disabilities and promotion of empowerment.” True to their word the group, accompanied by two local UK school children, delivered their vision that evening! The first performance set the tone of the afternoon with a mesmerizing dance and music performance of the highest possible standard by artists who with severe disabilities. After completing a successful to the USA the group is now touring the UK till mid-November. Who are these people and the group? Let me share with you some vital information about this talented outfit.

‘Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled’, established in Bangalore in 1999, is headed up by Mr Mahantesh GK who is the Founder Trustee of the organisation. Samarthanam supports and inspires disabled people, including those suffering from vision and hearing impairment. The vision of the organisation is to empower its members to become financially independent by training them and give them life skills. Its work is focused around education, empowerment and sustainable development for the people with varied disabilities and those with severely poor economic and social backgrounds.

One of the many projects that Samarthanam runs for the young adults, ‘Sunadha’ is a cultural branch of the trust that encourages and enables the youth to learn and perform various forms of performing arts. These include Indian Classical, Modern Dance, Bollywood, Contemporary and even theatre.  For the last couple of years visually impaired artistes have performed several shows in the US, stunning audiences with their proficiency in Indian classical and folk dances and music. Sunadha dancers have earned much acclaim and are regularly invited to perform at prestigious events like the renowned Hampi Utsav, the Vishwa Kannada Sammelana and Rotary International convention held at Bangkok last May
Sunadha artistes endeavour to bridge the cultural gap and the experiences they gain travelling around the world and meeting people go a long way towards building their confidence and creating opportunities for economic self-sufficiency. Further, each new show contributes to the growing awareness about the abilities of the disabled across nations.

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2nd November 2014