Take Heart was founded by Arthur Tarnowski in 1964 and has since helped thousands of people gain employment or start companies.
Arthur Tarnowski started Take Heart after becoming paralyzed himself in 1958 from Polio. He felt that a person’s dignity and self worth was so closely tied to their ability to work and contribute. He knew that so many disabled people around the world resorted to begging or living off their families due to a lack of opportunity for the handicapped. Dad felt that just because people were disabled it should not mean they are less able to contribute and find their purpose in life.
In 1964 he set out on a 100,000-mile expedition to assess the situation of physically handicapped people and explore local vocational education and rehabilitation solutions. It was on this expedition that he met his best friend, life long mentor and adopted father Baba Amte in Anandwan. Baba was a protégé of Gandhi and became India’s most famous and loved social worker.
Since 1964 Take Heart has supported the MaharogiSewaSamiti or MSS, the foundation created by Baba Amte. Arthur spent every year since 1964 traveling back to India to spend time with Baba and his second family and experimented with all sorts of vocational education projects training handicapped people so that they could gain jobs. Arthur passionately believed that a persons dignity lay in their ability to contribute to their community. He believed that giving people the gift to work gave them a sense of purpose and confidence. It was with this foundation that Take Heart was established 50 years ago with the motto ‘Work Builds, Charity Destroys’ and ‘Give them a chance, not charity’.
Lucian And Sebastian
Brothers Lucian and Sebastian Tarnowski took over the running of Take Heart in 2003. By 2005 Take Heart had raised enough money to build an English language and IT school that specializes in training blind students IT skills that provide them with a job for life. It is amazing to see that a student can 5 to 10x their salary after becoming IT literate. This completely changes the perception of disability in communities.
In 2011 Take Heart set up a hostel that is home to 120 blind and handicapped girls whilst they study in our school. Our latest project is the complete redevelopment of our vocational training centers. We want to approach vocational education holistically and think of the whole individual.
It is amazing to see how people can transform their lives once they have been empowered with practical skills. By helping people to help themselves through education and skills training, rather than just giving them money, Take Heart continues to get maximum bang for its buck on the ground.