Achyut Samanta: Godfather for over 20,000 tribal children

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Hardly any efforts are made for the children of lesser God, but Achyut Samanta who is known as the Godfather for the tribal children is tirelessly working for the upliftment of the tribals by providing them free education.

 

At a time when many individuals and organisations are  busy in projecting  the image of the great nation as hub of corruption, crimes and offences some  really dedicated individuals are also moving consistently on the path suggested by seers and are contributing their maximum for making world a better place to live.

One such silent doer is constantly bringing huge number of underprivileged students to main stream in society. This humble man from Odisha, Achyut Samanta is doing every possible effort to give a better future to the underprivileged students.

Nightmarish childhood of Achyuta Samanta gave him the courage and guts to think differently and to do something for the children of lesser God.

Due to the untimely tragic demise of his father when he was only four was perhaps the beginning of his struggle which  continued till date. The struggle, he started while walking up to the school thinking all the way for creating a better world sans poverty, hunger and ignorance has now been turned into his passion.

The paltry sum of just Rs 5000, he saved from the tuition he gave while still pursuing his Masters in Chemistry and the salary he received being a Lecturer in a city college was that entire he had in 1993.

With an aim to eradicate poverty with education, Samanta came up with a unique model and invested this meagre amount to establish two educational institutes. One he named Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology and the other Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) at Bhubaneswar.

His goal behind establishing KISS was to empower poor tribal children, who were always deprived of quality life. Today KISS has turned to a great social revolution with providing free residential schooling to over 20,000 tribal children from varied tribes of Odisha.

Industrialisation leading to plundering of natural resources was making the lives of these tribes a hell, which moved Samanta, who himself had spent his life in miseries. These innocent tribal children are vulnerable to all sorts of evils and exploitations.

Chosen to live the life of a bachelor, Samanta still dwells in a small rented accommodation in Bhubaneswar and has his own office underneath a tree at KISS campus.

The journey he started from his village Kalarabank reminded him of the dusty roads, unhygienic living conditions and lack of basic amenities. Through his efforts he not only made the village but the whole Panchayat, a cluster of villages, a model one with all provisions of city including a residential High School, a 50 bedded hospital, blacktop roads, electricity and health insurance coverage for all the villagers besides a Post Office, Bank and Police Station.

But the unique persona of Samanta is best illustrated in his relentless efforts for creating a level playing field for the most neglected, unprivileged tribals constituting 8% of country’s 1 billion population living outside the ‘civilized world’, waiting for untimely death either coming to them through deprivation or by denials of basic necessities and marginalization due to their ignorance.

It is an accepted fact that tribals continue to suffer and even after sixty-six years of independence, despite Constitutional safeguards and the numerous welfare measures undertaken by the government. It is not that the planners lack in sincerity but what seems to be lacking is their experience of being poor.

KISS – the largest free residential institution in Asia providing food, accommodation, healthcare, education from Kindergarten to Post Graduation (KG to PG) absolutely free to 20,000 children and the assured employment after completion of studies. Whether it is in studies or in games and sports, these children have proved that given scope they can excel and even outshine others.

They are now being transformed to become the assets of the society instead of liabilities as they were thought to be. KISS successfully put a halt to the menace of tribal children joining the disruptive forces. The perennial problem of dropout has also come down to zero.

The experiment ‘KISS’ has been acclaimed by everyone who visited it. No doubt the hands that would have picked guns to join any disgruntled groups have been given pens.

It is not the individuals alone but several world bodies like ‘Give India’ and ‘UNICEF’ have reposed faith on KISS and its founder Samanta. While the US Government granted 100 scholarships to the students of KISS in its English Access Micro Scholarship Programme the United Nation’s Population Fund (UNFPA) has selected KISS to run its Life Skill Center.

Samanta was short-listed for many prestigious awards including India Business Award – 2009 and the coveted Qatar Foundation Prize. Limca Book of Records has entered KISS in its pages while Samanta has received the prestigious Young EDGE – 2010 award for his pragmatic approach to education.

 

 

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