Srikanth is no usual boy. He is visually impaired by birth. His neighbors and relatives advised his parents to smother him. But his parents did not relent even though their income is 20,000 INR per year. They decided to bring up him with love and compassion.
During schooling, he was pushed to last bench and neglected. He felt poor not because of lack of money but because lack of friends and loneliness. His parents joined him in special schools for disabled and there he begin to excel. He topped the exams and became an excellent chess and cricket player.
He topped the tenth exams with 95 % and he wanted to choose science stream in 11th but he was denied because of his disability. He didn’t give up and fought a legal battle with the Govt and finally succeeded. He took science stream, worked day and night , got his textbooks converted into audio books and came out with flying colours in 12th with 98 %.
He wrote to IITS and BITS to allow him write their entrance exam but was denied due to his disability. Srikanth didn’t give up. He applied and got admitted with full scholarship to prestigious universities in US – MIT, Stanford, Berkeley, and Carnegie Mellon. He is the first international blind student in MIT.
When he was about to graduate, the question came in his mind – What next? . He gave up the golden opportunity – million dollar job offers. The only thing he wanted to do was come back to India to help the disabled get employment and stand on their own. So with this idea, he returned to India and started vocational , employability skills training to disabled students
He didn’t stop there because he want to provide jobs to disabled too. He came up with idea of sustainable packaging solutions and established Bollant industries. Today, the company is valued at 50 Crores , has branches in 3 states and employs 150 differently abled people.
Entrepreneur bravehearts like the warriors of Paulo Coelho always find one unflinching support, an anchor to keep them afloat. In Srikanth’s case, it is his Co-founder Swarnalatha. “She was his special needs teacher in school. She has been his mentor and guide through all these years. She trains all the employees with disabilities at Bollant thereby creating a strong community where they feel valued,” says Ravi, adding, “Srikanth is a true source of my inspiration. He is not only my young friend and protégé but is also my mentor who teaches me daily that anything is possible if you set your mind to it
When asked what lessons he learnt in life , he says – “Show compassion and make people rich. Include people in your life and remove loneliness, and lastly, do something good; it will come back to you.”