As the world celebrates 70 years of Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Human Rights Day today, it’s significant to analyze the progress and impending challenges to get a way ahead for Sustainable Development. Human rights activism creates an empowering dimension by the work of civil society in ensuring transparency of the government. Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences is a shining example of Empowerment by realizing dignity for all without any discrimination.
Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) is a pathbreaking educational initiative located in Bhubaneswar, the state capital of Odisha for the tribal children who are provided comprehensive and holistic education for all round development. At present, 30000 children are studying in this one of its kind exclusive tribal University. 20,000 children have passed out from KISS and are well placed. They are the changemakers. KISS had a humble beginning, but it derives it strength from passion and struggle against poverty and deprivation through Education.
KISS believes and upholds the inherent dignity and equal and inalienable rights of every individual. It believes in the right to dignity of each individual. No one can be compared to the other as each one is unique. With this belief very strong, KISS has achieved and seeks to ensure best for each student by giving them their due, bringing inclusivity in Education.
People living in poverty are often trapped because they are excluded from the rest of society, denied a say, and threatened with violence and insecurity. Rights are the key for people to break out of the poverty trap. Put simply, respect for human rights is the basis of the very foundation of KISS.
The students hailing from tribal communities have the right to maintain their culture, tradition and be proud of the heritage in the most modern environment equipped with world class infrastructure. It’s not home away secluded from their culture, it is a home in itself.
KISS provides healthy living conditions – safe water, nutritious food, housing and information, such as sex education as a part of its Life skill programme, that is often absent or limited for people living in slums and informal settlements.
Human Rights as a bedrock at KISS is just not about the basic right to Education. It’s not about one time help out of sympathy . What KISS offers today is the sustainable livelihood to millions of deprived children, directly and indirectly. Many policy interventions have shoved this alienated part of population into mainstream. But, KISS goes a step ahead in establishing Equity and Excellence through the eclectic mix of academic, Co-Curricular and Extra Curricular activities, Life Skills Empowerment, Vocational Training and Sports as a transformation tool.
There is gender parity at KISS. It’s nothing new because it’s the cardinal principle since inception. Today, 60% of the students are girls, which is more than 17000 girls in number. If the girls are empowered, the generation and community gets empowered. KISS as an institution arrests child marriage, Drop out and creates new vistas of employment for the girls which in turn makes them financially independent.
The students of KISS have a voice. They become the global informed citizens of tomorrow. They know their rights and envision to stop the violation of the same in their community by making the fellow members aware of the rights.
Sustainable Development Goals are truly implemented in KISS, through the bed rock of Human Rights. It’s an ideal example of no one is left behind. It addressed the MDG’s with a spot on approach to eliminate poverty and hunger through Quality Education.
In short, Right to education, Cultural rights, Right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, Right to housing, Right to Food, Right to water, Right to sanitation are the basic human rights that KISS ensures for all its students.
Thus, sustainable development at KISS is a lesson for the community to emulate as its very foundation lies in recognising, ensuring and protecting Human Rights and this has worked successfully for last 30 years in a sustainable manner.