Vanitha Sadana is an institution dedicated to the development of women and children, for eight decades. It was established in 1937 by a group of residents in Mysore City (Karnataka) who were inspired by the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi and ably led by a distinguished and devoted Gandhian couple – Smt. Susheela Bai and Prof. Nagesha Rao. The founders foresaw the imperative of women's development at a time when gender issues were still far away from main stream discourse, and pioneered a local revolution in educating and training women and children in general, and destitute women in particular. Starting off with Hindi and Charkha (Spinning wheel) classes, Vanitha Sadana entered into the fields of adult literacy, vocational education, sports, Arts, Children's library and leadership development.
In the year 1955, Vanitha Sadana was formally registered as a Society and elected a 15-member executive committee to organize its activities.
To further streamline its activities, later in 1998, a Trust titled Smt. Susheela Bai – Sri Nagesha Rao Educational and Charitable Trust (R), was formed and elected nine (9) Trustees which would work in tandem with Vanitha Sadana.
(i) Vanitha Sadana School
Started in 1939 with Nursery section, the school presently has about 500 girls/boys on its rolls from pre-school to 10th standard (equivalent to S.S.L.C.)
The school has won numerous awards and honours at various levels in Education as well as in Sports and Arts. Its alumni who have spread far and wide have excelled in their chosen fields bringing pride to their alma mater. As an aided school of the Karnataka Government, the school has been able to retain well qualified, full-time teachers who have been consistently striving to impart quality education to the children and even financially supporting some of them.
An extraordinary feature of this school is that despite severe financial, infrastructural and other constraints, the school has never compromised on quality and has been striving to provide all-round education to its students in keeping with its stated objective which is- empowering women and educating children.
(ii) Vanitha Sadana Vocational Centre
One of the important objectives of Vanitha Sadana has always been to provide Vocational training to the women in need so that they could stand on their own feet. To begin with Charakha Training was introduced. The success of this programme soon led to the development of an exclusive Vocational Centre with a range of training programmes like tailoring, embroidery, cloth weaving, cloth printing and mat making. Tailoring and embroidery training programmes proved to be a remarkable success as it opened up good career and self employment opportunities to a number of poor women. But with passage of time and due to financial constraints many of these courses were closed. Today two training programmes in Tailoring and Block Printing/Embroidery are running to their full potential.
(iii) Vanitha Sadana Cultural Centre
This Centre was started in 1938 to encourage creative talent and foster interest in culture among women and young girls. Vocal and Instrumental Music, Dance are taught here. The Centre also organizes Seminars and holds performances for promotion of Indian culture. The Centre is recognized by the State Government.
(iv) Vanitha Sadana Children's Book Council
The CBC, an important wing of the Sadana, was founded in 1956 with the objective of establishing a Library of Children's Books and a reading room with audio-visual aids. During these years of existence, the CBC has achieved its objective with distinction. It has published number of educational books and magazines for children, has held book exhibitions and conducted many science workshops and lectures. It has a collection of more than 10,000 books in its library. Today's CBC activities include organizing Dassara and summer camps, conducting training in personality development and leadership. Lately it has added a full time computer education programme to make Sadan's students computer literate.
Thus, it is seen that Vanitha Sadana, in eighty four long years of its existence, has done commendable service in educating thousands of girls and empowering women coming from poorer strata of society, taking the financial burden on itself.
However, if Vanitha Sadana is to continue this good work and provide safe and clean environment to its students, it requires financial support. This support can only come from its alumni and well wishers.