Anga Karunya was set up by a Mr. C S Samuel, who was then Chairman, Brooke Bond India Ltd. Most employees who were around when he set up Anga Karunya Kendra as well as those who joined later but had the opportunity to work with him, have passed away today. He himself passed away in 1999 after a protracted illness.
An old annual report of the organization reveals that Mr. C S Samuel himself was physically disabled from a young age. At that time, there were no treatments or facilities available for him to access and improve upon his condition. This became one of his main motivations to start an organization like Anga Karunya Kendra. However he only got down to doing so much later in life; that too after he witnessed a Jaipur Foot camp in Bangalore and saw first-hand the superb response it got. About 700 physically-disabled people attended for varying needs. This made him realize that the city was very much in need of specialized services for the physically disabled.
So, one of his first moves was to procure land; which he managed to do pretty soon but from the government. The government gave him half of the plot he needed to start; and it is here that the main center still stands today – in an industrial area. (He held a massive fundraising drive to raise funds for the remaining half of the land and the building that needed to built on it). Being part of the industrial area meant that they needed to “manufacture” something. And without too much thought, it was decided to thus start off by manufacturing limbs. Which is how their mission “to enable the disabled” came into place. And till date, the organization has done just that, helping 1,000s of people over the past 25 years.
Before setting up Anga Karunya Kendra, Samuel worked at Hindustan Leever and Brooke Bond. He was a qualified chartered accountant by profession. It was during his stint with Brooke Bond that he was exposed to Mother Teresa and her work. She really inspired him and he always used to admit that she was a compelling influence in his life. Her work also introduced him to the concept of end-of-life care. He witnessed the same at her home for the dying. What appealed to him was that in an impoverished country like India, the ailing and sick in her home were cared for with such personal attention and tenderness. Their hands were held, stomachs fed, hearts filled, pain treated. Dying was not handled as a medical moment but as the spiritual experience that it was.
After his experiences at Mother Teresa’s homes, Samuel founded Samuel the Karunya Trust in 1995. Through the organization, he continued to provide better care for people facing the end of life. He also got involved with Antara, an organization that worked for the well-being of the mentally disabled in Calcutta. Then began the Anga Karunya Kendra chapter in his life.