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  Your Stay, Their Change – Empowering the Soliga Community

About Gorukana Eco-Wellness Centre

“Gorukana” meaning ‘The Web of Life,’ symbolizes the harmonious bond between the Soligas and their sacred forest. The song “Goru Goruka Gorukana” beautifully encapsulates the deep bond between humanity and nature, portraying this relationship in an enchanting and captivating manner.

In 2010, under the guidance of Padma Shri Dr. H Sudarshan, Vivekananda Girijana Kalyana Kendra (VGKK), a non-profit organization focusing on integrated tribal development, and Karuna Trust, a public charitable trust dedicated to integrated rural development in healthcare, education, and livelihood security, united to establish the VIVEK KARUNA FOUNDATION. Their share mission was aimed to reduce reliance on charitable donations and transition towards self-generated earned income through social entrepreneurial initiatives, threby fostering sustainability and self-sufficiency in their efforts towards community development.

Gorukana Eco Wellness Centre, a Social Enterprise Initiative of Vivek Karuna Foundation, channels all its generated revenue towards education, livelihood security, and empowerment of the Soliga community. This commitment is made alongside biodiversity conservation, devoid of any profit motive, ensuring a holistic approach to sustainability and community development.

Gorukana is dedicated to empowering the Soliga community towards self-reliance. Through initiatives aimed at fostering sustainable livelihoods, members of the Soliga community are trained in hospitality and ayurveda and employed as staff. This approach not only supports their economic independence but also preserves and celebrates their traditional knowledge and expertise.


Dr. H Sudarshan

Dr. H Sudarshan

Managing Trustee, Vivek Karuna Foundation

Dr H Sudarshan’s journey exemplifies dedication and impact in the realm of public health and social development. Starting with a focus on addressing leprosy among the Soliga tribe in BR Hills, his work evolved into a holistic approach aimed at sustainable development for the community. The establishment of VGKK in 1981 marked a pivotal moment, expanding beyond healthcare to encompass various facets of community development.

His contributions extend far beyond Karnataka, impacting regions across India through initiatives focused on health, education, and livelihoods. By leveraging the collaborative efforts of VGKK and Karuna Trust, Dr. Sudarshan has achieved remarkable milestones, including securing land rights for indigenous communities, providing vital healthcare services to millions, and ensuring sustainable livelihoods for thousands.

Dr. Sudarshan’s recognition with Padma Shri in 2000, and Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2014 speaks volumes about his tireless dedication and profound impact on society. These honours are a testament to his unwavering commitment to serving marginalized communities and fostering inclusive development across India. His legacy, marked by his innovative approaches to public health and social welfare, continues to inspire and drive positive change. Through his pioneering efforts, Dr Sudarshan has left a lasting imprint on the landscape of public health and social welfare in India, shaping a brighter and more equitable future for generations to come.

Awards and Accolades

  • Ashoka Fellow, by Ashoka Innovators for Public, USA
  • Parisara (Environment) Award (1993) – the Government of Karnataka
  • RajyotsavaState Award for social work (1984) – Government of Karnataka
  • Right to Livelihood Award (1994) by the Right to Livelihood Foundation, Sweden – “for showing how tribal culture can contribute to a process that secures the basic rights and fundamental needs of indigenous people and conserves their environment.”
  • Padmashree Award for social work (2000) – India‘s fourth highest civilian honours
  • Mother Theresa Memorial Award (2013) for Social Justice
  • Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award, India (2014) by The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship in partnership with the Jubilant Bhartia Foundation
  • Outstanding Achievement Award(2009) by the Public Health Foundation of India
  • Vice-President of the Voluntary Health Association of India, and a member of the Independent Commission on Health in India, the National Commission on Population, the National Nutrition Mission, the National Human Rights Commission, and the Indian Planning Commission’s Steering Group for the development of Scheduled Tribes.
  • As Chairman of the Task Force on Health & Family Welfare, he has brought out a comprehensive report to reform the health system of Karnataka.

As Ombudsman for Health, Education & Social Welfare, Karnataka Lokayukta, he was fighting against corruption and promoting good governance to make the public services reach the poor including the tribal people.

Our Trustees Members

Dr. Jadeyegowda.M

Dr. G. Paran Gowda

Ms. Shahsikala Muniyappa