Achyuta Samanta, Founder of Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) has been conferred on another international award ‘2013 World of Difference Awards’ by US-based The International Alliance for Women (TIAW). TIAW President, Lisa Kaiser Hickey presented the award to Dr. Samanta at a ceremony in Washington on March 27, 2014 for his work in the field of women’s empowerment. The citation recognizes him as a “Champion of Women’s Economic Empowerment”. Three Indians, including Dr. Samanta, and four persons of Indian origin are among 100 recipients in different categories.
He established a small school for the indigenous Tribal people in the state of Odisha in 1993. It has now grown into the largest residential institute in the world – Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) – for more than 20,000 tribal children providing education, food, accommodation, clothing and health facilities absolutely free. About 50% of the students are girls. Not only this, Dr. Samanta is also promoting women empowerment through education, vocational training and employment opportunity.
A simple equation – ‘poverty creates illiteracy and literacy eradicates poverty’ – has inspired his vision. It motivated him to work relentlessly to create an equitable society without poverty and ignorance by educating girls. He believes that women need to be the fundamental actors of the society, which motivated him to focus on ensuring that girls are educated, who in turn would educate the next generation. KISS has introduced various programs like Life Skill Education in collaboration with UNFPA, vocational training, English Access Microscholarship Programme in collaboration with US Embassy and personality development so that girls can pursue successful careers. Girls from remote tribal districts are pursuing rewarding careers in medicine, sports, economics, etc since they have passed out from KISS.
The TIAW is a global community of economically empowered women across six continents aiming to leverage its reach and resources, creating a global community of economically empowered women.