With Purpose – Projects in India
Entrepreneurship Advancing Education
As Chief Executive Officer of ACTS Group of Institutions—a chain of not-for-profit schools offering an integrated approach to education incorporating Agriculture, Crafts, Trades and (academic) Studies to more than 14,000 underprivileged children in India—Santosh Gnanakan is committed to funding the organization through social enterprise and entrepreneurship.
As a first step towards this goal, Santosh is leveraging his lifelong passion for guitars and forging a partnership with an established elite Swiss guitar maker—Brunner Guitars—to manufacture a new brand of premium quality guitars in India, using indigenous woods and the skills of locally trained craftsmen. The product, Astha Guitars—Guitars of Hope—will be marketed to musicians across Europe, North America and around the world. The profits will be used to support students in need at ACTS institutions.
The project is one of several corporate social responsibility and cause marketing initiatives that International Needs Canada is championing as part of its mission to change lives and transform communities around the world. Lukas Brunner, the visionary entrepreneur who reached the zenith of his craft with the successful creation of Brunner Guitars, is committed to contributing his talents to equip Indian craftsmen with the skills required to make a significant impact on the music industry in the western world as part of his personal legacy towards alleviating poverty and promoting social justice.
The cultural shift from the centuries-old tradition making sitars in India to making world-class guitars is only the beginning of the uniqueness of Astha Guitars. In addition to using Indian Rosewood and Indian Mahogany—some of the best known woods for guitar making—Astha Guitars will be designed to be “climate resistant”,ameliorating a significant challenge for acoustic guitar players everywhere. A state-of-the-art bracing system which improves projection and tonal balance as well as a sound port on the upper body of the guitar will also help to carve a niche for Astha among excellent guitars in the marketplace.
A prototype of the Astha Guitar made its debut at the launch of the 2015 Million Dollar Umoja in Toronto to accolades from experts in both classical and folk guitar performance. Your visit to the newly equipped and fully functional Astha guitar manufacturing facility will serve to further inspire a growing contingent of craftsmen who are aiming to spark a cultural revolution among children seeking an education in India and musicians seeking excellent guitars around the world.
“A small group of thoughtful people can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”
Margaret Mead (1901-1978)