In this continuing journey of contributing to the society, Sudha has created a record of sorts as a performing artist reaching out to society through her music and mobilizing funds. Over the last two decades, there has been so much activity in the form of appeals, meetings, due diligence and shortlisting of beneficiaries so that the money is being channelized to the right places. The good work is gaining momentum and there is a great motivation from philanthropists who are seeing the quality of work and service rendered by this world acclaimed musician.

Samudhaaya Foundation, marching towards it’s 20th year of operation, has disbursed funds of over Rs. 5 crores for chosen and noteworthy causes.

Environment and restoration of water bodies

2017 – Project Amruthavarshini: Sudha is of the conviction that music not only heals the mind and body but plays a major role in bringing awareness in safeguarding our losing treasures – the environment! With climate change, manipulation of natural resources, disrespect for the environment and lack of channelizing energies to safeguard the waterbodies, we are moving into an age of complete water starvation. The state of Tamil Nadu in specific, which nurtures Carnatic music and produced some of the greatest legends, is severely afflicted by dwindling water bodies.

 

Sudha is on a major campaign to bring awareness of our lakes and ponds and is working on a project for water conservation, partnering with the Environmentalist Foundation of India. The focus of the project will be in reviving rural ponds in culturally significant locations across South India. Titled ‘Project Amruthavarshini’, after the name of the raga in Carnatic music that is well known to bring rain when sung, the focus of the project will be to identify and restore water bodies that are in the range of 5 to 10 acres.

 

Sudha Ragunathan is supporting EFI with public outreach and awareness on the project, and is the brand ambassador for the cause - promoting it to spread the message on water conservation. She has also composed a song relating to water and conservation. The video with her message and plea for water conservation is being used towards public outreach in schools/universities and other institutions.

 

As part of this grand initiative to protect the environment, she has earmarked an amount of Rs. 14,00,000/- (Rupees fourteen lakhs) for the Environmentalist Foundation of India that is in the process of restoring water bodies in the cultural centres in Tamil Nadu. Of the five that the project covers, two have been executed –the Nandhi Kulam and the Ayyannar Kulam at Tiruvaiyaru that are now awaiting the rains to bloom afresh! Work has commenced in September 2018 at Oothukulam at Tiruvannamalai district.

 

Infrastructural aid for Homes housing destitute children

2018 – Soulfree: Soulfree is working towards providing a state of the art rehabilitation centre that will house women with severe disabilities and whose families face great difficulties in taking care of them. They will also be provided training and skills to ensure that they can use whatever faculties they have to become financially independent. Sudha gave a generous donation of Rs. 1,00,00,000/- (Rupees one crore) towards their infrastructural needs.

 

2017 - Save the Children Home at Kolkata: This Home was built at Thakurpukur to support the destitute children who were affected by the disastrous Bengal Famine of 1943. The Home currently has 150 girls in the age group of 5 to 16 years. They are from different backgrounds - from troubled families, orphans or of single parents who cannot afford to raise them. The building is old, built in the 1940s. The rooms are dilapidated and lacks infrastructure for nursing care/sick room where the children can be treated in isolation.Samudhaaya Foundation contributed Rs.4,64,000/- (Rupees four lakhs and sixty four thousand) for the construction of a dwelling room for sick.

 

2017 - Maithree Special School: Approached by this school for autistic children, Sudha donated an amount of Rs. 10,800/- (Rupees ten thousand eight hundred only) for the welfare of the children.

 

2017 – Vidyasagar: This institution works in the areas of creating awareness in the community on issues related to disability and advocating rights for persons with disabilities. Sudha donated Rs. 3,00,000/- (Rupees three lakhs)towards its building fund.

2016 - Gnanadarshan Seva Foundation: An institution for the visually impaired and blind, Sudha donated Rs.10,000/- (Rupees ten thousand only) towards welfare measures for the children in the home.

 

2015 - Vela Special School: In Villupuram, Tamil Nadu, she came to know about an institution called the that was working to rehabilitate underprivileged children with cognitive deficits and children with hearing and visual impairments. She immediately offered to better the infrastructure of the school and contributed Rs.14,50,000/- (Rupees fourteen lakhs and fifty thousand) towards a construction of a dining hall for the girl’s hostel.

 

2014 - Siri Saradha Sakthi Peetam: With every passing year, her determination and enthusiasm to give all the support she can, to various sections of society seemed to be the driving force for her chosen projects. The unique and noble work of Siri Saradha Sakthi Peetam was spotted by Sudha and she felt that a meaningful mission of spirituality and education needs to be encouraged and a clear action of having a girl’s hostel and laboratories made her raise resources for construction of the same. A donation was made for Rs, 1,50,00,000/- (Rs. One crore and fifty lakhs).

 

2011 – Prema Vasam: Aid was given to the orphanage ‘Prema Vaasam’ for upgradation of infrastructure and a mini bus funded for the children to travel with a financial support of Rs. 20,00,000/- (Rupees twenty lakhs).

 

2010 - The Clarke School for the Deafblind: Sudha firmly believes that all children, regardless of their ability, class, or gender should have all the support they need to succeed. The Clarke School for the Deafblind has ushered a new era of hope by providing vocational training to children with hearing and visual impairments to make them self-reliant and confident in their ability to provide for themselves. Sudha’s donation of Rs. 17,00,000/- (Rupees seventeen lakhs) helped in renovating the school premises that was in need for restoration

 

2008 - Sri Arunodayam: Every child is precious where they are atypical or typical children. The children from Sri Arunodayam received support of Rs. 5,00,000/- (Rupees five lakhs) as donation to build a special children’s play lounge at their Home.

 

Violence against women and children

It is indeed rare for a celebrity to manage her time amidst all the erratic travel and concert schedules to be fully updated on issues of neglect and social ills. Even as she was ascending in her musical career and expanding her reach, she never wasted a moment nor hesitated even for a second to lending her helping hand.

 

2010 – Tulir: Tulir, in Tamil, means the first leaves following a period of adversity - symbolizing beginnings, resilience and resurgence of life. Sudha gave a donation of Rs. 5,00,000/- (Rupees five lakhs) to provide monetary assistance to support child survivors of sexual abuse through psycho-social and legal services. She has been a spokesperson for this cause and flagged off the rally on 15 November, 2009, an activity as part of creating a wider awareness around the World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse.

 

2017 - Bal Va Mahila Chetna Samiti - Another one that distressed her was the violence on the female population in the far away town of Bhilwara in Rajasthan. She issued a donor cheque of Rs. 2,00,000/- (Rupees two lakhs) to Bal Va Mahila Chetna Samiti (Child and Women Welfare Committee) in Rajasthan for the welfare of the women.

 

Mobility aids and support systems

2017 - Muscular Dystrophy Association: Muscular dystrophy is a group of disorders characterized by a progressive loss of muscle mass and consequent loss of strength. The Chennai Chapter of the Muscular Dystrophy Association of India takes care of about 200 socio - economically weaker children. They work in the areas of offering psychological support to patients and parents, dissemination of information on the disease, promoting interaction and communication amongst doctors, patients, parents and scientists. Sudha donated Rs. 12,00,000/- (Rupees twelve lakhs) to the Chennai Chapter for providing wheel chairs and bipap ventilators.

 

2014 - Sukrithi Social Foundation: A donation of Rs. 6,50,000/- (Rupees six lakhs and fifty thousand) was handed over for mobility aids such as walkers, prosthetic limbs, and crutches for differently abled persons.

 

Music for the soul

2011 – Joy of Giving: Under the aegis of Joy of Giving (now known as the Daan Utsav), India’s ‘festival of giving’ celebrated every year between 2 and 8 October, commencing on Gandhi Jayanti, Sudha has reached out to people from different walks of life through her music. Carnatic music is deemed complex and for the cognoscenti, and because of this assumption, lay men and people with no background in music do not seem to get the right exposure to it. Sudha recognized this and sang freely at Senior Citizen’s homes, Government Schools and Government prisons, so that more people a have access to this genre of music and appreciate its beauty. It is seen to be believed – the impact that her music has created by reaching out to this strata of society. Music heals and is the therapy for wounded souls, music is the entry into the beautiful world of art in the eyes of the children!

 

Support for palliative care

2010 - Dean Foundation: If children were her focused attention for philanthropic support, the elders too touched the core of her heart. She felt that the dignity of senior citizens under all circumstances and stages in their life needs to be protected. In 2010 she presented a donor cheque of Rs. 5,00,000/- (Rupees five lakhs) to the Dean Foundation who were engaged in palliative care for under- privileged senior citizens

 

Treatment and surgeries for the underprivileged children

2014 – Cancare Foundation – Having always been moved by patients diagnosed with cancer, in yet another act of charity she donated Rs. 1,00,00,000/- (Rupees one crore) to the Cancare Foundation for attending to the well-being of terminally ill patients and their loved ones.

 

2011 – Ramachandra Medical College Hospital: - There was tremendous support and goodwill expressed towards Samudhaaya Foundation during 2011, so much so that Sudha was able to reach out to lovers of her music and raise an amount of Rs. 20,00,000/- (Rupees twenty lakhs) to support the department of paediatric oncology at Ramachandra Medical hospital for treatment of the under-privileged children.

 

2008 - Sri Ramachandra Medical College Hospital: Realizing that the higher purpose was in ensuring that the needs of children were met, she put forth all of her efforts and with donation from her own funds, along with canvassing, she presented a donor cheque of Rs. 25,00,000/- (Rupees twenty-five lakhs) to Sri Ramachandra Medical College Hospital for attending to needy children diagnosed with heart related ailments. By enabling heart surgeries for 100 children in poverty, Sudha was able to provide them with a new lease of life.

 

2001 – Adyar Cancer Institute : Globally, millions suffer from the much dreaded disease of cancer and in India, for the under privileged, there is a dearth in the medical facilities and special care available to them. Sudha Ragunathan, who has always felt that the society must usher hope and cheer and support cancer patients, reached out with a helping hand through the iconic doctor and healer V. Shantha. This contribution of Rs. 10,00,000/- (Rupees ten lakhs) was used for paediatric oncology care.

 

In memory of her guru Dr. ML Vasanthakumari

2010 – Organ Donation: The occasion was Padma Bhushan awardee Dr. M.L.Vasanthakumari’s 20th death anniversary. Sudha, who launched her Samudhaaya Foundation to give back to society, of whom she is an abundant beneficiary, wanted to do something special and unique, remembering Amma in thanksgiving for all that she meant to her. Says Sudha, “On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of my Guru Padmabhushan Dr.M L Vasanthakumari, what greater ‘dhaanam’ can I think of than organ donation? Through Samudhaaya Foundation, I pledge to work towards bringing awareness to this honorable cause. To initiate this, my family and friends also pledge along with me.” There were 20 registrations on a single day.

 

With her music and by remembering her Guru and mentor through the act of fostering organ donation, Sudha wishes to propagate the message of dignity and charity even in death.

 

2003 – 2005: Amidst her rising popularity and hectic concert schedules, Sudha was quietly but consistently mobilizing resources to donate to more charitable causes. She presented cash awards in memory of her Guru Dr. M.L Vasanthakumari and also supported various other important causes such as the distribution of hearing aids to deaf children

 

Gestures to those afflicted by calamities:

2011 – Thane Cyclone: Whenever nature strikes ruthlessly, the Government is challenged to gear up and provide quick relief to the many people who are affected. Other voluntary organizations have to chip in immediately, since both physical work and fiscal support is urgently needed. When Tamilnadu and its environs were ravaged by the cyclone Thane, Sudha once again contributed Rs. 5,00,000/- (Rupees five lakhs) to the Chief Minister’s Cyclone Relief Fund.

 

2001 – Bhuj Earthquake: When a massive earthquake in Gujarat rendered millions homeless, Sudha donated Rs. 3,25,000/- (Rupees three lakhs twenty-five thousand) to the Chief Minister’s Earthquake Relief Fund.

 

1999 - Orissa Cyclone Paradip: Deeply concerned about the cyclone that ravaged the state of Orissa (now Odisha), Sudha raised awareness and launched a campaign to raise funds and handed over a cheque for Rs. 1,00,000/- (Rupees one lakh) for the Orissa Cyclone Relief Fund.

 

1999 – Kargil Defence Personnel: Her first step through her Samudhaaya Foundation was for the soldiers of her motherland - one that has given her the fulfilment of her vision beginning on a patriotic note. A donation of Rs. 5,00,000/- (Rupees five lakhs) was handed over to the then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Shri M Karunanidhi, towards the Kargil Defence Personnel Relief Fund.