Beacon Of Hope
“When there is a will, there is always a way—with this mantra I made it my mission to serve and uplift the poor tribals in the backward state like Orissa with strong grit and determination. To attain this task I left no stone unturned to run a world-class learning temple called KIIT University (Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology University). I was among crores of children who was far away from getting the basic amenities”, these are the words uttered in a highly touching and emotive voice by Dr Achyuta Samanta.
Yes, it is certainly true. And why not? India is a great country having a tradition of big personalities, born in villages and studied their textbooks under the moon light. Gandhiji’s “Gaon Chalo Abhiyan” had inspired Dr Samanta to launch the “Jangal Chalo Abhiyan” (Go to the tribal in forests). Every year he visits the far-flung distant tribal villages to fulfil the hope of tribal children. He brings them to Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS), a sister concern of KIIT, where they can turn their and their families’ future with glorious splendour and also that of the country. Dr Samanta says he spends his valuable times with the 10,000 tribal children at KISS to bring out their feelings before the world so that they could realise their dreams. “I have a very deep passion for these children and I want to see all of them to stand tall in the society. My childhood constantly reminds me to serve them, as I myself have truly experienced the pain of poverty”, he explains in an agonising voice. Dr Samanta was in Delhi recently to receive the prestigious “Young EDGE Award” for the year 2010. He received the award at a glittering ceremony, organised at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, on March 4, 2010, from Prof Yashpal and Prof Ramamurthy, Director, National Institute of Advance Studies (NIAS), in the presence of distinguished academicians, education policymakers, planners and national and international jury members of the EDGE forum.
The award is in recognition to his commitment to inclusive growth in the field of education and efforts to provide education to the educationally deprived section. He not only transformed a small ITI into a world-class KIIT University, but also established KISS, a residential tribal institute for 10,000 students.
The Selection Committee described Dr Samanta’s experiments in education as unique and felt that, if replicated, it can address some of the core issues faced by the country in the field of education. The indomitable spirit and distinguished achievements in empowering the poor masses with education has been rewarded for the founder of KIIT and KISS, Dr Achyuta Samanta.
EDGE has been promoting and advocating the need for change since its inception and the successful two editions of the EDGE Conference have inspired and fostered change in several aspects.
Abject poverty, untimely demise of father, widowed mother, making both ends meet, Dr Achyuta Samanta has seen it all. But he withstood the stormy blows that life gave him to rise tall enough to dwarf all circumstances. Setting up KIIT—a world-class university all by himself with less than Rs 5000 in his pocket is now history. Today KIIT is acclaimed worldwide for its quality education and achievements that Dr Samanta has accomplished within a few years of its inception. He
dreamt of a world where poverty would not stand as a hindrance to one’s education. In his efforts, he created a home for children
struggling hard for bread & butter and christened it as KISS. Today KISS houses ten thousand tribal students from all parts of Orissa who are given free education, food and other basic necessities of life.
By Vaishali Tanwar