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The King receives Dr Samanta, in the presence of the Prime Minister
and Crown Prince

$1m pledged for educational institutes in India

MANAMA, June 4, 2015

Forty educational institutes targeting underprivileged children will be opened in India by social worker Dr Achyuta Samanta, who yesterday (June 3) received the Isa Award for Service to Humanity from His Majesty King Hamad.

He said 30 branches will be built in his home state Odisha with one named after the late Amir Shaikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa, while one each will be built in the other states, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.

He revealed his plans to utilise the $1 million cash prize at a Press conference following a gala ceremony at the Isa Cultural Centre, where he received the prize and gold medal in the presence of His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa and His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Premier.

Dr Samanta was selected through a unanimous vote by an expert panel representing each continent chaired by Swede Jan Paulsson, while the award's board chairman is Deputy Premier Shaikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa.

The Indian is founder of the Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences and Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology.

He was born into a poor family and had to look after his mother and seven brothers after his father died when he was just four years old.

From the age of just six, he has been contributing to community projects.

“The award money will go towards serving my nation as I have a goal of having 40 institutes for poor children - 30 in my state Odisha with one named after the late Amir and one each in other states,” said Dr Samanta.

“We have already expanded beyond India with plans to open two educational institutions for poor children in Dhaka, Bangladesh and possible expansion to open partnerships with others across the globe to provide education, food, shelter and work to those living in poverty.

“I hope that my work will motivate others who will create other Dr Samantas to carry on the torch.”

His Majesty said Dr Samanta's initiative grew to become one of the biggest in eastern India, offering free state-of-the-art education and accommodation at an independent campus. It involves thousands of children and young people from the poorest families, to become a unique, unprecedented achievement and an example of giving and selflessness.

He also thanked Shaikh Mohammed, who is also the board of trustees chairman of the Isa Award for Service to Humanity, board members and the jury, for their consultative discussions that upheld the criteria of fairness and objectivity.

Award Foundation secretary-general Ali Abdulla Khalifa said candidates for the third edition of the award, which will be given out in 2017, can start applying by visiting www.isaaward.org.

“We still have a bank of qualified candidates that fulfill each criteria from our previous shortlists and will contact research centres and governments to supply us with potential candidates,” he said during the Press conference.

“All of those in our list are excellent, but new entrants could be super and for that we have kept the door for competition open without old submissions being thrown out and in the end the most innovative, beneficial and influential is selected.”

During the ceremony, Shaikh Mohammed highlighted the late Amir's contributions in the fields of politics, economics and social.

Former UN Food and Agriculture Organisation director-general and member of the second edition of the Isa Award for Service to Humanity Dr Jack Diouf also spoke at the ceremony, which featured the screening of a documentary on the life and accomplishments of the laureate and the life of the late Shaikh Isa.

Shaikh Mohammed later hosted a banquet in honour of Dr Samanta.

It was attended by the Deputy Premiers, ministers, senior officials, members of the award's Board of Trustees, jury members and invitees. - TradeArabia News Service




Tags: India | education | institute | Worker | social |

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