Even after years of mental health wellness programmes, availability of public platforms and awareness, most people do not broach the sensitive subject of SUICIDE in the public domain. September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Awareness and prevention are more than recognizing warning signs and which phone number to call for help. We need to talk about it. We need to say the word: “Suicide” more. About 800,000 people die by suicide worldwide every year. 1,39,123 Indians died by suicide in 2019 and the national suicide rate was 10.4 (estimated per lakh of the population). According to The World Health Organization, in India, suicide is an eminent and grave public health issue.Roughly every hour one student commits suicide in India. Not just students, India suffers the suicide burden of numerous women, men and people from weak financial backdrops. Recently, the pandemic has put many people under stress they did not expect and many are already experiencing anxiety about their mental health. Grieving from depression increases the likelihood of someone taking their own life, although not all people who die by suicide suffer from mental illness.It is really important that if a person shares that they are having suicidal tendencies, they are opening a scar. A scar to their past traumas and their current feelings of hopelessness. At that instant, they are at their extreme state of vulnerability. We need to help them by getting experts like therapists and suicide helpline services to reach them. The world is becoming highly capitalistic and cold. We as individuals should unite and help those who need it. Suicide can be prevented and it should be. Every human life matters!The entire Art Of Giving has been, via its community members at KIIT University and KISS Foundation, organizing suicide prevention campaigns. Going to villages, and even in the vicinity of the urban and semi-urban crowd, our members have always encouraged people, especially youngsters to discuss and find solutions. Asking for help doesn’t make us weak it is a symbol of strength because we are giving life a second chance.
Last year has been a tough battle for all of us which continues to be so till now. The world has taken tectonic shifts in sectors of all kind of businesses. But some people helped us survive and fight the pandemic- The healthcare workers.
Word of thanks can’t justify the range of work that the healthcare warriors, who are at the frontline, fighting the war against COVID-19 have achieved for us. Their sacrifices, especially during tough times gone by are boundless.
When businesses, educational institutions and even places of worship were all shut across the country and the globe, doctors, healthcare workers, and medical staff members are leading the battle against COVID-19 from the front. These warriors put their own life at risk to save the lives of others, truly becoming our heroes.
The warriors performed the ultimate “Art of Giving” by risking their own lives and cutting themselves off from their families and friends. In some unfortunate cases, many healthcare workers have even sacrificed their own lives in the line of duty.
But this selflessness could only delay the virus not stop it. The entire Art of Giving community and the country should focus on doing their duty of following COVID19 protocols. Additionally, the government and world leaders can work towards advancement in medical research and technology. Nothing will be a greater tribute to the healthcare workers than this.
Till then, the Art of Giving community will dedicatedly work towards highlight the heroic efforts of some courageous and inspiring doctors from across the globe who lost their lives while saving the lives of COVID-19 patients and contribute whatever we can.
Avinash Khemka, a Cuttack-based industrialist, aided helpless migrants returning home along National Highway after the lockdown was implemented. He was supported by the Cuttack Police and hence provided cooked meals and packaged drinking water since April 16.
Khemka, was moved by the pictures of migrant labourers struggling to get back to their homes. He initially provided at least 1,000 packets of cooked food and packaged drinking water to all those travelling through the National Highway. He also arranged transport for more than 100 distressed migrant workers during the lockdown.
His morning would start at 5.30 am5.30 am with the distribution of 3,000 meals, both cooked and dry, and one litre packaged drinking water on NH- 16 at Bandal near Tangi every day. He has also arranged eight 200 litre drums of drinking water and a 4,500-litre water tanker at the place for workers to brush and wash and refill their jars for their journey’s ahead.
“It was distressing to see on news channels the plight of migrant workers and decided to extend help. I will continue relief distribution till the exodus ends,” said the businessman who claims to have provided food and drinking water to more than 56,000 migrant workers on NH-16 till date.
Indian migrant workers during the COVID-19 pandemic have faced multiple hardships. With factories and workplaces shut down due to the country’s lockdown, millions of migrant workers had to deal with the loss of income, food shortages and uncertainty about their future. Yet people like Khemka gave us hope and showed the world that humanity was beyond the nature of the disaster.
In India, the total number of frontline workers and health care staff infected by coronavirus stands at 15,200. Among them, over 5000 healthcare workers tested positive while on duty. This still hasn’t stopped operators across the country to stop working. The proof is simple- “A study has placed Odisha among the top three states in the country for quality COVID-19 reporting in four categories of availability, accessibility, granularity and privacy.” Odisha has scored high on availing most COVID data on rich visualisation, accuracy in reporting and protection of privacy of citizens while reporting data on the pandemic. The precision in reporting enabled Odisha to make data-driven decisions for better public health. It enabled independent agencies and the public to become aware of the nature of the pandemic.
The study said precision reporting has led to citizens of Odisha becoming more aware and cautious of the spread in their districts and blocks.
Odisha has extended to adhere by WHO’s sub-national broadcasting norms prescribed in its COVID-19 Global Surveillance Guidance. This continued adherence has helped not just the State Government but also Centre in the decision making process for public health matters related to COVID-19.
Thank you to the paramedics, nurses and doctors, overwhelmed and under-resourced even before a public health emergency detonated in your hospitals and ambulances. You lack in equipment and staff, and – with insufficient masks, protective gear or testing – are risking your health to save lives. Also, the entire Art of Giving community would like to thank the cleaners, among the country’s most undervalued and underpaid workers. As it is, you save thousands of lives each year – in hospitals and office blocks – by extinguishing the invisible tormentors of our immune systems.
Act of contribution by the front line workers leads Odisha to become top-quality COVID-19 reporter
The ongoing pandemic has caused tectonic shifts in all sectors of work-life, be it education, health care or sports. The COVID-19 virus has infected millions and has caused chaos across the globe and in India. Though Odisha still falls under the category of states that have managed to control the infection, yet, the virus has stirred up panic.
Dr Achyuta Samanta, the founder of KIIT, KISS and Art of Giving, has always shown extraordinary humanitarian feats in the time of abnormal problems. Be it- doorstep delivery of food, free supply of books, distribution of cooked meals to migrant labours and poverty struck families, feeding stray animals or establishing India’s first COVID Hospital at Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences- Dr Samanta has been on his toes when it comes to serving the society.
Recently, KIIT University has pledged to incentivise and extend aid to the families of the COVID deceased. Dr Achyuta Samanta, KIIT has resolved to provide technical and professional education absolutely free of cost to the children of the COVID deceased. Children of the COVID deceased victims can apply for various mechanical and vocational courses of KIIT-DU, including ITI and Diploma Engineering. Preference for free admission will be given to children belonging from BPL, SC, ST and SCBC categories for two consecutive academic years: 2020-21 and 2021-22. This selfless motion by Dr Samanta makes KIIT the only university in the world to extend such humanitarian gesture to the families of the COVID affected families.
The act of providing free education to COVID deceased families
The Art of Giving community which involves KIIT, KISS foundation and numerous volunteers across the world has been working in unity to get through this deadly virus. Dr Samanta’s vision of Art of Giving, Compassion and Gratitude has come into play in ways which can only be imagined. To briefly cover the points of the work map:
IN THE SECTOR OF HEALTHCARE
· India’s first standalone COVID Hospital with 500 beds and 50 critical care units at Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS) is operational, and the patients are being treated in KIMS. This COVID Hospital is functioning from a block of KIMS with a dedicated team of doctors, nurses, paramedics and housekeeping staff. Recovered patients have praised the efforts of the hospital.
· KISS Balangir & KISS Mayurbhanj are two other KISS Foundation infrastructure and workforce designated as COVID 19 hospitals to serve the people of Odisha.
· A solo COVID 19 hospital has been operational in Kandhamal, which is Dr Samanta’s parliamentary constituency. All these are each 200 bedded hospitals managed by KIMS and round the clock service following WHO and ICMR guidelines.
FOOD & ESSENTIALS SUPPLY
· A team of Art of Giving community is in charge of distributing family survival packets that comprise of essential food items – rice, pulses, cooking oil etc. to disadvantaged people living in slums, needy, poor and children. KISS Foundation has extended the helping hand to villages of some of their student’s native villages.
· KIIT and KISS have reached out to the red-light areas in Bhubaneswar and distributed dry food items. Fifteen districts are covered by KISS till now. At Kandhamal, Dr Samanta’s AOG team is helping all orphanages, nursing homes, and youth clubs/centres with dry groceries – almost 40 of them.
· KIIT and KISS are distributing food and essential items to a people stranded containment areas so that they have no need to venture out and risk themselves and others.
· Another AOG team has been assigned to deliver cooked food to police personnel on duty. Lunch is provided every day to more than 2000 police personnel and other front-line warriors across Odisha’s capital city alongside Puri and Cuttack.
· KISS Foundation and Sakha have joined hands to provide ration and essential items to Transgender Community in Bhubaneswar and Rayagada.
· KIIT and KISS Foundation have been distributing cooked meals to migrant labourers from Bihar who are stuck in Odisha besides taking care of food security and health safety of many Odia migrant labourers stuck in New Delhi, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, West Bengal and Maharashtra.
ADOPTING A VILLAGE:
· KIIT and KISS have adopted two old age homes in Chandragiri – a Tibetan settlement area in Eastern Odisha. KIIT and KISS have provided one-month supply to the Tibetan population in Chandragiri and Padmasambhava Monastery in Jiranga, Odisha. KIMS is supporting a hospital in Jiranga and provided PPE to the healthcare workers.
· KISS Foundation is also distributing feminine hygiene products to women and girls in all the districts of Odisha. Till now, over 1 lakh units have been distributed.
CARE AND ANIMAL AID
· KIIT and KISS Foundation have set up an AOG team to source and distribute fruits, vegetables, biscuits and other food materials to animals in and around the campus– such as monkeys, dogs, cattle. This food distribution to those who are reliant on us happens twice a day.
· KISS Foundation has adopted 140 peacocks managed by an individual in the outskirts of Bhubaneswar.
· KIIT and KISS have Foundation even provided fodder and expenses of two Goshalas run by Matha in Puri.
The students of KISS Foundation are creating awareness on Social Distancing, washing hands and respiratory hygiene in their respective districts. Massive awareness camps have been organised at market places and through door-to-door campaigning on Social Distancing, hand washing and proper usage of masks. 500 volunteers are involved for this purpose, and 220 villages in aspirational districts of Rayagada, Koraput and Malkangiri has been covered. They are also helping the state government in monitoring and administering Quarantine Centers. Our work covers six aspirational Districts of Odisha: Raygada, Malkangiri, Koraput, Kandhamal, Balangir, Gajpati.
· KIIT and KISS Foundation had started its own initiatives way before India declared a national lockdown. All the students in the various schools and University campuses were safely sent back to their homes well ahead of the lockdown. KIIT is the first University to have begun online classes and online examination for 30,000 children. In KISS, the students are in contact through what’s app groups. We are starting their tutoring through a television channel that we run. In a humanitarian motive, KISS is going to supply dry food items and groceries along with the books of the new academic year to all the 30,000 students at their doorsteps.
· A tele-counselling Cell has been set up to provide support for the people experiencing stress during trying times.
· KIIT-Technology Business Incubator (KIIT-TBI) is recognised as a Centre for Augmenting War with COVID-19 Health Crisis (CAWACH) under Department of Science and Technology (DST), GoI, along with similar institutes from IITs & other eminent Universities in India. KIIT-TBI is responsible for implementing this program in East & NE.
COORDINATION & COLLABORATION
· KIIT and KISS are working with the Government of Odisha to provide support in the form of all its available resources – logistics, infrastructure, healthcare, human resources etc. in its various activities at grassroots.
· KISS is also working closely with the American Embassy in the repatriation of American and Indian American personnel who have been stuck in Odisha and other adjoining areas.
· Conducting a survey on behalf of UNDP India on migrant labour for policy-level change
ACHYUTA SAMANTA’S PERSONAL CONTRIBUTION:
· Apart from the massive facilitated by KIIT, KISS Foundation and the AOG community, Dr Samanta has personally given three months’ salary as an MP to CM Relief Fund.
· Staying in connection with people every day through awareness blogs and occasionally giving out video messages and going live.
· Pledged at KIIT and KISS that no one will not terminate any jobs or trim the size of employees. Salaries are given despite the crisis, with a bit of deferment.
· Samanta is personally overseeing that doctors have the best quality PPE, get adequate rest hours and compensation with a five-star facility accommodation while they are giving treatment.
· Through numerous popular magazine and media channel, Samanta’s has found innovative ways of creating awareness, spreading positive stories, reaching out to the unreached via each and every point, personally.
In the times of Corona Crisis, when we have realised that we are on a universal troubled-zone, all of us are fragile but at the same time essential and needed, each of us requires comforting the other, Art of Giving, Compassion and Gratitude plays a vital role.
The work-map of Art of Giving against the Coronavirus crisis
When the entire world is under lockdown, the art of giving founder is doing precisely what it’s creator should do at the moment- Help every living creature within the diaries of the law. Dr Achyuta Samanta travelled to different locations in Odisha on a pick-up truck and fed stray animals with cooked food even as the nation observed the fourth day of lockdown amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The most extensive AOG communities- KIIT University & Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) have decided to distribute food items. The items including green vegetables, daily to stray monkeys inhabiting different places in Bhubaneswar like Khandagiri, Dhauligiri, Shikharchandi hills and area around Nandankanan to help them cope with unprecedented hardship due to COVID-19 outbreak. The two institutions will also provide cooked food daily to other stray animals, including dogs, cows, etc., living in areas from Nalco square to KIIT & KISS campuses in Patia. Dr. Achyuta Samanta, Founder, KIIT & KISS has started the campaign by offering food to monkeys in Shikharchandi hill.
Shortly, a decision has been made to distribute food packets comprising of flattened rice (chuda), sugar and dry food to nearly 40,000 needy and low-income families and daily wage labourers. This food will be explicitly granted to their children, in and around Bhubaneswar City thrice a week for a minimum period of 20 days.
Dr. Samanta, while launching this drive, stated, “KIIT has enough stock of dry food procured for Khelo India Games that can provide nutrition to growing children residing in slum areas”. Further, two staff members of KIIT will be involved in these activities with the assistance of the police.
Note, that the entire drive is being conducted upholding the “social distancing” instructions given by the World Health Organization and the India Govt.
Nothing stops the Art of Giving, Not even a Pandemic- A food distribution programme by Dr Achyuta Samanta
KRITARTH signifies the “Art of Giving” philosophy of Dr Achyuta Samanta, Founder of KIIT. KRITARTH 5.0 constituting a deluge of events such as ROCKET SINGH, KLICK IT, DEVIL’S ADVOCATE, KRITARTH’S GOT TALENT, CANVASSING and KOSTUMBRE, KRITARTH 5.0 was a treasure trove of free-form expressions to behold.
One of the greatest joys in life is the pleasure you can receive from making someone smile. More importantly in a materialistic world that has indulged into greed and selfishness, making someone smile free, stands out in an extremely pure art of giving.
The main attraction of “KRITARTH 5.0” was the kids from Madhurmayee Ashram, Jharpada, where kids of the prisoners stay and study. They had come to watch the marvellous live performances and went back with smiles on their faces. The last day of the ceremony was marked by dance and skit performance on “Million Dollar Smile” by KIIT Students. The students also exhibited a Fashion event for the audience. The event drew to an end with a social night wherein Shrinidhi Ghatate, an eminent singer performed live for the audience.
KRITARTH has been a long-standing community that is devoted to the art of giving and spreading awareness. It’s a campaign of nobility through means of entertaining and enlightening events.
Million Dollar Smile, a KRITARTH 5.0 theme, an Art of Giving philosophy
The largest AOG community of the world lies in the Heartland of the greatest philanthropic temple- KISS Foundation. Celebrating November 7th every year as ‘National Tooth Brushing Day’ KIIT, KISS Foundation, collaborated with Indian Association of Public Health Dentistry(IAPHD) and Colgate Palmolive India Limited to break the Guinness world records for – “most people brushing their teeth simultaneously at a single venue”.
On the occasion of National cancer awareness day, twenty-six thousand KISS Foundation students brushed their teeth together. This humongous feat didn’t just become a new world record but the biggest oral hygiene campaign in a long time. Statistically, 20 per 100000 population are affected by oral cancer which accounts for about 30% of all types of cancer. Over 5 people in India die every hour every day because of oral cancer.
Awareness becomes the step towards bringing about a change. Awareness builds a sense of connection to the problem and the ways we can find a solution to it. We finally become pursers of a healthy future. Oral Hygiene has long been ignored by the people of India despite the widespread damage this has created.
In an aim to ignite the spark of awareness, 26,382 KISS students brushed their teeth. This movement has become a drive towards discussion, debates and talks about oral hygiene and cancer in particular.
KISS breaks historic record, Spreads oral hygiene awareness
In a world that is so embroiled with ignorance and materialistic pleasures that ‘simple living and high thinking’ has become a virtue of the past. In this materialistic world, we all aspire for more- better and bigger houses, comforts and luxury- that only money can buy.
Even though there aren’t many striving towards “selfless giving”, the struggle towards the great revolution of goodness has already started and the name that established it within our country is- “Art of Giving” (AOG). A vision that Prof Achyuta Samata had – to form a prosperous and selfless world. Be it the monumental movement of “Pyaar Bhara Pack” or the magnanimous “Bag of Happiness”, Prof Samanta has ignited the art and more importantly the “thinking” of Giving back.
“Compassion” remains one of the major factors behind the humongous work of Art of Giving. To simply put it, compassion motivates people to go out of their way to help the physical, mental, or emotional pains of another and themselves. To give the act of compassion a wider lens, KIIT University & KISS hosted the 39th World Congress of Poets from 2nd to 6th October at their respective campuses, With the theme of ‘compassion through poetry’. The event brought over 2000 poets from around 82 countries under one roof dedicating and uplifting the compassion which led people to see the depth of Art of Giving that Prof Samanta had envisioned. The five-day event was inaugurated by Odisha Chief Minister Shri Naveen Patnaik and it was concluded with notes of speeches on “compassion” by the Vice president of India Mr Venkaiah Naidu, with the Governor of Odisha, Prof Ganeshi Lal.
The line-up of activities for the event included poetry reading, a book launch, special lectures and talks, book presentation and exploring various sites in Odisha including Kalabhoomi, Sun Temple, Puri and more. Sessions on Wisdom Poetry, Tourism Poetry and Spiritual Poetry will be conducted by high-profile poets and scholars.
This one-of-a-kind event was taken up, conducted and concluded by the Founder of Art of Giving and the president of the 39th World Congress of Poets- Prof Achyuta Samanta and his team KIIT and KISS Foundation.
39th World Congress of poets’ Compassion through Poetry uplifts the vision of Art Of Giving