2017 Aurora Dialogues Open Lecture: Dr. Achyuta Samanta
Eradicating Poverty through Quality Education
“My journey from 'no where' to 'now here' is both astounding and inspiring. Born with the burden of poverty in a non-descript village of Odisha (one of the most backward states of India) and rising to where I stand now has no parallel elsewhere in the world. I have been chasing my dreams of an equitable life ever since my father died when I was only 4 years old. Friends and foes criticized me when I chose the path that angels wouldn’t dare to, for they thought I had been in search of a utopia. I am glad I have been able to create at least an oasis in a vast desert.
At every turn of my early life I encountered hunger and the associated incapacities but I refused to live in the denial and strove for a change. As I grew up I nurtured a vision of a poverty free world and undertook the arduous journey of social work with an aim to transform the lives of the poorest of the poor in the society. Humiliation inflicted by poverty had made me humble and modest but could not deter me from realizing my life’s meaning and purpose which had firmly settled in my soul.
Perhaps I had a tryst with the destiny and the destiny had made definite plans for me. The establishment of a world class university like KIIT, and the creation of KISS (now a home for 25000 children of lesser Gods) starting with all my savings of Rs. 5000 (US$100) pooled as seed money back in 1992, are only a few accomplishments of my life so far. Standing in front of a vast ocean I feel I have collected only a few pebbles and much remains to be done. Therefore my journey continues and every step of mine is a leap forward towards realization of my ultimate dream- a world without hunger, poverty and deprivation.”
Dr. Achyuta Samanta,
Founder of Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) and Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT University)