Dr. Sono and Anant Kumar: leaders who are changing the world

You’ve probably never heard of Dr. Sono Khangharani or Anant Kumar, but they are two truly incredible leaders who have devoted their lives to making the world a better place for the poor in Pakistan and India.

Pakistan’s Dawn paper just wrote a profile of Dr. Sono.  This is the kind of news we don’t get out of Pakistan, and it’s important to hear and remember that everywhere at any time, there are outstanding individuals doing amazing things to make the world a better place.

And just yesterday at the Acumen Fund Investor Gathering we were lucky enough to have Anant Kumar speak to us about his plans to grown LifeSpring Hospitals from 6 to 30 high-quality, low-cost maternal hospitals in India in the next two years.  I wrote about LifeSpring hospitals here on the Acumen Fund blog.

What strikes me most about Dr. Sono and Anant Kumar is their quiet grace, passion, and humility — and their undying respect for each and every person.

4 thoughts on “Dr. Sono and Anant Kumar: leaders who are changing the world

  1. Strange, it seems to be working for me.

    Here’s the link again: http://www.dawn.com/weekly/review/review7.htm

    And here’s the beginning of the article:

    Dr Sono Khangharani battled discrimination, hunger, hardship and grinding poverty to achieve his ambition. Then he gave it all up to go back to his roots and help his community

    “I grew up in Thar. Except for one image, all my childhood images were made up of recurring droughts, malnutrition, misery, lack of education and health care and sheer hard labour for mere survival. My dejection led me to believe that all our efforts are in vain and whatever we do is merely a drop in the ocean.

    “However, the only image that was different came to my rescue. It was of a boy and a girl, undernourished and barefoot, playing joyously in the sand. They were trying to build small houses with pebbles, sand and stones. They failed again and again but they kept trying. I remember the two kids as they were my neighbours. They have grown up but have not given up their struggle,” says Dr Sono Khangharani (known to everyone as Dr Sono).

    Like his neighbours, he has also not given up his struggle and is determined to help improve the lives of the rural poor by building teams and social networks that connect them. His conviction comes from his experience of growing up as an impoverished child in Sindh’s Thar Desert which is amongst the poorest regions of Pakistan where over 80 per cent of the people live in chounras (mud/clay huts) without electricity and running water. They obtain water from a well usually shared by the community and the literacy rate is barely 15 per cent here.

    Dr Sono believes in the power of social mobilisation; that once the rural poor are organised, important changes can come about in Pakistan. He believes that talent and potential must be harnessed through education, training, and diversification of skills.

    Sono Khangharani was six years old in 1960 when he started attending school with his brother in a chounra near Islamkot. As a child, he faced many hardships including discrimination as a Dalit, the lowest caste among Hindus known as the ‘untouchables’. “I had to work extra hard to prove myself because of the caste and class I was coming from,” says Dr Sono. “Poverty is disturbing because it deprives you of choices. You don’t have the freedom to fulfil your dreams” he adds.

    Dr Sono passed his Matric exams in the first division, and he knew he wanted to continue his studies. Unfortunately, the drought in 1974 brought difficult times for his family. His parents could not afford to send him to university; they suggested that he apply for government service or work in a factory.

    However, he had made up his mind to study and saved money working as a labourer in a cotton factory and in January 1975, he went to the Tandojam Agricultural College near Hyderabad to talk to the principal. Admissions were closed at that time but Dr Sono was determined. He explained his position to the principal who agreed to admit him as a student. His natural charm and ability to convince continue to play an important role in his career as well.

    Dr Sono studied agriculture and veterinary sciences and supported himself through scholarships from the university, by giving tuitions to primary students, and by working in a factory. In November 1981, he passed his exams and was soon accepted at a teaching position at Tandojam University….

  2. The page still shows the cell phone article – but using the first paragraph of your comment and Google’s cached-service-thing I found and read the entire article. Inspiring.

    We need to put these people in the spotlight more often – show what man can also be. A quotation from Victor Frankl comes to mind:

    “We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

    Dr. Sono shows the same kind of brilliance, choosing an attitude towards the obstacles on his path that help him shape his own way.

    Now, while I don’t know about the “quite grace” and “humility”, I know – from reading your blog and manifest – that you can join Dr. Sono and Anant Kumar when it comes to “passion”, Sasha. Thanks for the inspiring link.

  3. as its written little bit about him he needs more because of his endles efforts which are being taken for the poor ones,
    now adays he is also serving as CEO of Sind Rural Support Programme & micro drip private(ltd)
    God strenths such persons who realy needs You..

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