Vasantharatna Foundation for Arts (VRFA) was started by Subhashini Vasanth in the memory of her husband, Col.Vasanth Venugopal, Ashoka Chakra (Posthumously). Her experience as an Infantry Officer’s wife and a martyrs’ widow made her realise that a support system for the widows of armed forces personnel was essential.
While VRFA was launched essentially to liaison between civil agencies, the government, and the next of kin of martyrs, we soon realized that veer naris need so much more than leg-work, and our foundation’s approach soon morphed into a more holistic system of caring for the martyrs’ families.
With this purpose, founders Subhashini Vasanth and Smitha Srinivasan, along with 30 veer naris in Karnataka and their young children, first started Vasantharatna Foundation for Arts in 2007. We have been closely working with them since then, adding families to our growing community as we go along. Today, the VRFA community has over 120 wives and children, with programs starting in Andhra Pradesh, Assam, and Delhi.
We know how it feels to be grappling with the loss of a loved one while trying to figure out how to support our children, stand on our own two feet, and live life the best we can. As a single mother, in India, that is no easy task. We know how veer naris feel and that is why we choose to be the support system they need.
While the army and government provide basic monetary support for the martyr’s family initially, we provide sustained aid so that they never feel abandoned, and encourage them to dream and soar again. We impart in them the strength and skills they require to lead a fulfilling life.
As a renowned Bharatanatyam dancer, Subhashini believes that education and empowerment through the arts is an effective way to reach out to people across the country. We now have 5 programs running to provide a continuous and holistic support system, including financial assistance, counselling, legal assistance, and family welfare activities, for our network of families.
Our work at VRFA cannot be accomplished single-handedly. It takes a whole army of care-givers and professionals from various fields to come together in service to our fellow citizens. We reach out to doctors and counsellors, lawyers and legal aids, teachers and institutions, welfare groups and volunteers to make this happen. Individuals like yourself, who feel the urgency of the situation our veer naris find themselves and their families in and the full weight of sacrifices they have made for a better India.
We know we cannot let them stand alone. While many individuals and socially-conscious organizations are very keen to reach out and make a difference in the lives of these families, they often do not know how to go about it. Vasantharatna Foundation for Arts is here to bridge the gap. There is nothing better than the heart of volunteer, and we can never have too many. If you have a skill, or professional advice and expertise, or just your time to offer, we are glad of it.
Contact us if you or your organization would like to partner with us to bring about change – or if you would like to volunteer with us individually in one of our programs.
Mrs. Subhashini Vasanth
Mrs. Subhashini Vasanth is a renowned Bharatnatyam dancer. She trains young aspirants in the classical art form. She is recognized for her soul stirring performances, is a top grade artist on National Television and empanelled by the Indian Council of Cultural Relations. She is on the committee of M E S Kalavedi-the cultural platform of the MES Institutions.
Shakunthala Bhandarkar , w/o Late. Lt.Col. Ajit Bhandarkar , Shaurya Chakra . Having taught in schools all over India, she has over 20 years of teaching experience and is a counselor. She is currently pursuing her MBA and is passionate about helping martyr's families. She has been part of the Vasantharatna Foundation for Art since its inception.. Presently, she is the Coordinator for the Outbound Learning Camp to be held for all VRFA beneficiaries.
Mrs. Salma Shafeeq Ghori
Salma shafeeq wife of late Major Shafeeq Mahmood Khan Ghori is a montessori trained graduate teacher.She has been part of VRFA from 2013 onwards.Presently she is the project coordinator of 'Gift A Birthday' where in gifts are sent to the wives and children of martyrs.
Smitha Srinivasan is a Trustee of Vasantharatna Foundation. She is a talented Kathak dancer, performing both as a solo artiste and as part of the NADAM ensemble. Smitha has an MBA degree .. She has trekked extensively in the Himalayas, including a trek to the Mt Everest Base Camp (EBC) in 2015. She is featured in the Limca Book of Records for the mother daughter climb to a peak in the Himalayas called Kulu Pumori
Mrs. Lakshmi Subramanian
Lakshmi Subramanian is Manager, Vasantharatna Foundation for Art (VRFA) and takes care of its day to day activities. She has about 13 years of experience in media and advertising and was Manager at KENSRI School for 3 years before joining VRFA. Here, she found an organization which supported the wives and children of Battle Casualties in the Army and provided her an opportunity to contribute her bit to its cause.