Wednesday 23 September 2020

Dr Samanta, 2nd from right, welcomes award officials into his home

Isa Award for Indian activist

MANAMA, May 14, 2015

An Indian social worker will pick up a $1 million cash prize and a gold medal from His Majesty King Hamad of Bahrain next month in recognition of his humanitarian work.

Dr Achyuta Samanta was yesterday (May 13) named as the recipient of this year's Isa Award for Service to Humanity, which was first introduced in 2009, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.

He will collect his award, named after the late Amir Shaikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa, during a special ceremony on June 3.

The recipient of the award is chosen by an expert panel representing each continent chaired by Swede Jan Paulsson, while the board chairman is Deputy Premier Shaikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa.

Dr Achyuta, 50, 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.

"We had numerous applications for institutions, individuals and projects in various humanitarian fields, but we had to shortlist them to three in India and Pakistan," jury committee member Mohamed Benaissa, from Morroco, told a Press conference at Gudaibiya Palace yesterday.

"Despite getting beautiful profiles, we had to make on-field visits despite security and weather challenges.

"There was an African woman, who we had to remove from the list not because she was ineligible, but she won an award for standing against the Ebola epidemic.

"There was a doctor, who died curing people with Ebola and we had him removed because the majority voted that recognition should go to the living.

"Our jury members are from all continents to ensure credibility of selections and there is no religious, colour or sex preferences when reviewing applications.

"We had some institutions applying for work done for Palestinian and Syrian refugees, but that's all governmental-related and we can't accept that."

Benaissa described Dr Samanta as the most worthy candidate because he overcame so many obstacles to help his community.

"He formed an institute for 25,000 orphans, underprivileged and needy children and has a university covering its costs with 20,000 students, while continuing to live in a rented apartment without air-conditioning, just because he still wants to continue feeling being part of the poor community," he said.

"Dr Samanta has qualified as a winner in two categories - social care and educational services - and to us was a distinguishable choice after we saw 50,000 happy hands waving at us.

Award secretary-general Ali Abdulla Khalifa said the choice was made based on strict criteria.

"We needed to make sure and even had a legal advisor with us to ensure the legal aspect of the applicant was documented - and one support member was hit with a virus that left him sick," he said.

"This is an international humanitarian award and its prestige is in its name value. We can't just select people from online documents or pictures. - TradeArabia News Service

Tags: Award | Indian | Worker | Prize | cash | social | Isa |

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