17th May 2013
One day, in 1969, very early in the morning, about 5.00 A.M. a small boy, about 4 years old, could not understand why all of a sudden members in the family burst into a loud wail and looked crestfallen. Not knowing what to do and what not to do, the child looked inquiringly at the grief stricken faces. Soon he came to realize that his father had died, though the word death was beyond his understanding. His father had died in a tragic train accident leaving seven siblings and the widowed wife behind. The youngest sibling was about a month old and the eldest 17 years. The deceased father was a petty worker in an industry and had left no savings for the 8-member family to survive on.
All the siblings, including the small boy, had to grow up in the midst of severe poverty in a very remote village of Odisha in India. The boy did odd menial jobs here and there voluntarily and helped his widowed mother. The early childhood and fate forced the boy to fend for himself and was thus self-made right from the age of about 5 years.
He gave his mother the solace by wiping her tears and he gave his little sister the comfort of his lap to sleep on. By about 7 years of age the boy was already sharing his hard earned money from his work with classmates. He kept one rupee out of his wage earned for the day just to give tea and snacks to his four friends at a tea shop near the school where they studied. He also helped the village folks and friends by giving his time and energy to fetch groceries and provisions from the nearby market every now and then.
The boy grew up to be a youth in due course. One day, while he was doing his Master’s Programme in Utkal University, Bhubaneswar, he gave away the 300 rupees given to him by his eldest brother for joining the college picnic to one of his friends who had no money and helped the friend to join the picnic while he himself stayed away from it.
After completion of his Master’s Degree in Chemistry, this young man landed himself in a teaching job in a local college. Besides the job he did private tutoring and with the income he supported his needy friends and his poor family members ignoring his own comforts (1987-1997).
This young man soon thought of and ventured to set up two institutions with only Rs. 5000/- (100 USD) in a rented building in 1992-93. Today, while one of these institutions has become the most promising university of the country with 25, 000 students from across the globe, the other institution has become the beauty of the world which nurtures and gives a decent life to 25,000 poor indigenous children of the country providing free education from Kindergarten to Post graduation and professional education with fully free residential and boarding facility.
The small institute that started with only 100 USD in 1992 has been instrumental in giving smiles directly and indirectly to 1 million people by 2013 and looks forward to giving smiles to 10 million people by 2020.
He has also given back to his remote village turning it into a model village having all amenities of a city. He has also greatly contributed towards enriching art, culture, films, literature, spiritualism and many other fields. He has been giving financial assistance every month to around 40 poverty stricken school friends and has given employment to another 40 of his friends in his two institutions.
The same person, after creating so much for the society and people and after achieving so much, lives the simplest-of-the-simple life in a two-room rented house without any personal property and has chosen to remain a bachelor. His only hobby is to bring smiles to faces of thousands of poor children irrespective of caste, creed and religion.
This boy of yester years who has now grown big in stature, gives credit for all of his accomplishments in life to the "Art of Giving", which he had silently learned since his childhood. It has been the ethos of his life.
He passionately believes in the potent of the term “Art of Giving” which ultimately brings peace in the minds of people in the society. He has institutionalized the concept since 17th May 2013.
He is none other than Achyuta Samanta (www.achyutasamanta.com), the visionary social entrepreneur, social worker, educationist and the Founder of KIIT (www.kiit.ac.in) & KISS (www.kiss.ac.in), the KISS Foundation India and the KISS Foundation U.K.
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