Srikanth Bolla was born blind into a family of farmers in rural India – and went on to become the first international blind student at MIT, where he studied business management. Post-MIT, Bolla chose to return to India where he set up Bollant Industries in Hyderabad, a company that employs and trains differently-abled individuals to manufacture eco-friendly and compostable packaging. The company has been a recipient of an undisclosed investment funding from Ratan Tata believed to be around $1.3 million.
Srikanth Bolla’s life was never easy. He faced discrimination because of his disability all his life. When he was born blind, the villagers in Sitaramapuram in Andhra Pradesh advised his farmer parents to let him die. His parents, to their credit, paid no heed. At school too, he would often be pushed to the last bench and would not be included in active sports. Yet, this didn’t deter Srikanth, who excelled in studies and topped the Class 10 board exams in his school. At the Intermediate level, when he wanted to opt for Science, the Andhra Pradesh Education Board refused to grant permission. It said that Arts was what the only stream the blind could take up. Srikanth filed a case and, after a six month wait, the Board agreed to let him pursue Science. Srikanth topped his Class 12, securing a 98%.
After graduating from MIT, Srikanth decided to do something about the discriminations faced by the disabled in our country. Giving up corporate opportunities in America, he came back to India and started Samanvai, a non-profit organization in Hyderabad, to provide individualized, need-based and goal-oriented support services to students with multiple disabilities. He promoted Braille literacy, a digital library and a Braille printing press/library to provide tutorial services for such students. Through Samanvai, Srikanth has managed to mentor and nurture over 3,000 students so far.
As a next big step, he decided to look at the issue of employability of the disabled. In 2012, Srikanth started Bollant Industries Pvt. Ltd., with the aim of providing livelihood opportunities to the physically challenged. Today, Bollant employs over 150 disabled individuals and has five manufacturing units. Its annual sales have already crossed Rs. 70 million.
For the future, Srikanth has a vision of building a sustainable company with a workforce comprising 70% people with disabilities. He sure has come a long way in changing people’s perceptions about the capabilities of the differently abled.
In April 2017, Bolla was named by Forbes magazine in its list of 30 under 30 across all of Asia, one of only three Indians in that list.
आपको यह प्रेरणादायक स्टोरी कैसी लगी? आप अपनी प्रतिक्रिया नीचे कमेंट बॉक्स में दे और इस पोस्ट को ज्यादा से ज्यादा शेयर करें।
आपके पास भी यदि कोई प्रेरणादायक कहानी हैं तो “शेयर योर स्टोरी” मे शेयर करें, उसे आपके नाम के साथ पब्लिश किया जायेगा।