Sankurathri: Indian nominee for CNN Heroes

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Washington, Aug 14 (UNI) On the eve of India's Independence Day, CNN International is focusing on the work of Dr Chandrasekhar Sankurathri, an Indian biologist from Canada, as a tribute to the country and its people.

Dr Sankurathri has been nominated for CNN Heroes, the network's global search for everyday people changing the world.

CNN would feature the Indian medical marvel tomorrow at 1630 hrs and 2130 hrs IST, according to a CNN press release.

CNN Heroes recognises and profiles ordinary people whose work has had an extraordinary impact on the world.

Dr Sankurathri moved to India from Canada after suffering the loss of his wife and two children in a plane crash in 1985.

He quit his job as a biologist in Canada, cashed in his pension, and headed home to India where he believed he could help the most.

In the southern village of Kurtuhu, with every penny he had, Dr Sankurathri built both a school and an eye hospital for the rural population.

Since the school's opening in 1992, more than 1200 students have passed out. Many have gone to high school and college, and not one child has dropped out.

The hospital, which opened a year later in 1993, has provided more than 1,37,000 cataract surgeries (most of them for free) to help combat the country's rampant blindness rate, one of the highest in the world.

The school and hospital, both are a part of Manjari Sankurathri Memorial Foundation, Canada, that he created in his family's honour.

His work with the school and hospital has given him a renewed purpose in life. According to Dr Sankurathri, ''What I do, gives me a lot of satisfaction, I feel I'm very close to my family and that alone gives me a lot of strength.'' The CNN Heroes initiative which was kicked off in 2007 was a great success. More than 7,000 viewers and users nominated ordinary people doing extraordinary things from 93 countries around the world on the CNN website.

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