The word peace holds a huge significance in our lives. One main reason to observe International Day of Peace is to strengthen international ties to solve worldwide problems, including the protection of people. In collaboration with the United Nations, the Art of Giving initiative has set up a range of initiatives to expand the word about a range of themes that are the focus of the International Day of Peace. One of these important motives is the protection of people in their habitats, communities, institutions, and places of work.
Each person in this world merits the right to live a free and secure life without fear, abuse or neglect, irrespective of their age, gender, or ethnicity. The central way in which we can develop the protection of people globally is to reduce violence which is prevalent across the globe. Violence is a threatening problem globally that affects numerous people in society and has a long-term impact on future generations.
Peace doesn’t come cheap. Our ancestors have fought for peace. The best example is Mahatma Gandhi and his ideology. From the beginning, he knew that the world needed a revolution, but this time the revolution had to be non-violent. Never in the history of mankind had there been a revolution that was led by the agenda of non-violence and peace. We as Indians should be proud that we have led the non-violence way. Now it is time to preserve the peace that we have got.
At AOG we promote the idea of anti-bullying, spread messages of love, hope, and respect to create change that will be sustainable for future generations.
‘Art of Giving’ has won second position in the 2021 MacJannet Prize for Global Citizenship by Talloires Network and McJannet Foundation, USA as an exceptional community work and civic engagement initiative by KIIT & KISS under the leadership of Prof. Achyuta Samanta.
The award in second position in the world includes a financial support of $5,000 USD to bolster program activities. Out of nomination from 15 countries, Art of Giving is placed in the second position among the 10 selected finalists from 8 countries. Rhodes University, South Africa and University of Manchester, UK have won the first and third positions respectively.
Art of Giving, a philosophy to spread peace and happiness in the society based on the foundation of compassion and humanitariansm was founded by Prof. Achyuta Samanta in 2013. Since then, it has become an active movement with dynamic campaigns throughout the year and observation of International Day of Art of Giving on 17 May across the globe.
Prof. Achyuta Samanta expressed his happiness on being conferred with this award as it recognises the community work accomplished under the aegis of Art of Giving.
On World Water Day, to tackle the increasing water shortage issue the “Art Of Giving” community members of ”, KIIT UNIVERSITY organised a programme, “Catch the rain.” a campaign by the National Water Mission, Ministry of Jal Sakthi.
Agriculture has been the lifeline for millions of Indian farmers. Today, depleting groundwater levels have become a major problem for both the urban and the rural population. India has been fighting with the rapid depletion of groundwater stores driven by human-caused climate change and over-extraction. India has surfaced as major hotspots of groundwater depletion primarily because of overexploitation for irrigation.
“Catch the rain” the new rainwater harvesting is one of the most sustainable ways of supplementing other water sources. The NSS Team Of KIIT School of Biotechnology collaborated with Bangali Sahi village on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar to outline and build a sustainable and eco-friendly structure for rainwater harvesting. The accumulated rainwater from surfaces on which rain falls will be purified, stored and utilised in various forms. Rainwater Harvesting is unrestricted from any sort of impurity, with relatively less storage cost and no maintenance cost involved except for periodical cleaning. It will help solve a huge problem for the people in this village.
The vision of AOG is towards a sustainable future and “catch the rain” is a step towards that.
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
International Art of Giving Day is being celebrated all over India and 120 countries across the globe spreading over 20000 centers reaching out to 20 million people based on the theme “BAG OF HAPPINESS” in collaboration with UNESCO MGIEP. The concept is “People’s Contribution, People’s Participation” to achieve the motto of “Education for All“.
Bag of Happiness Celebrated Worldwide
On this occasion, the staff members of KIIT Group of Institutions in large numbers were assembled this morning at Campus-7 to observe the International Art of Giving Day. “Though scores of events are celebrated in KIIT Group of Institutions and KISS round the year, this particular event stands apart because of its compassionate nature”, said the Founder of KIIT and KISS, Dr. Achyuta Samanta, who had conceptualized and propounded such a noble concept 6 years ago.
“KISS has been running successfully for the last 27 years on the philosophy of Art of Giving.
Prof. Achyuta Samanta
“We should feel proud of doing great job through Art of Giving. Actually, it is nothing, but love that has been instrumental to make things possible in every walks of our lives. Until and Unless one shares love and affection with fellow beings, Art of Giving can’t be realized in true sense”, opined the founder.
KIIT and KISS have become the biggest platforms to spread the philosophy of Art of Giving across the world. Through the offering of the kit “BAG OF HAPPINESS” to children as token of love and affection, the message of Art of Giving is aptly propagated, added the Founder.
Among the dignitaries, Shri R. N. Dash, Secretary, KIIT & KISS; Prof. Hrushikesha Mohanty, VC, KIIT DU and Prof., Sasmita Samanta, Registrar, KIIT DU were present and spoke on the occasion.
Later on, The Founder flagged off the vehicles carrying relief materials meant for the ‘Fani‘ affected people belong to the coastal districts of Odisha. Earlier in the morning, ‘Art of Giving’ Day was celebrated at KISS Campus amid pomp and grandeur.
20 million Bag of Happiness distributed on International Art of Giving Day 2019