The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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KISS breathes life to lessons

Bhubaneswar, Sept. 6: This would perhaps be the first time that 5,000 indigenous people from Orissa’s interiors would receive neatly-folded envelopes carrying an invitation to reach the state capital and Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS).

KISS, Asia’s largest tribal school and poised to be the world’s largest tribal university, has invited parents of students to witness their schooling process.

“When we started off, it was very difficult to convince parents. Initially, they were suspicious of our ideas and goals. This particular occasion is being organised to help them witness the process of learning and feel happy about their decision (to educate their children). Further, it would help them understand the importance of education in their lives,” said Nihar Das, the project co-ordinator.

The parents would be there from September 29 to 30.

Letters have already been dispatched to the several corners of Orissa informing them about the event. Three members from each family are being invited — preferably parents and a sibling.

At the institute the parents would interact with teachers and attend sensitisation sessions besides communicating with present dignitaries.

“The travel expenses would be immediately reimbursed and free food and stay would be provided. Makeshift tents would be erected with all basic facilities for their stay. We are also thinking of some gifts,” said principal Nitya Nanda Nayak.

KISS, surrounded by lush, green hills, is a free, residential institution, which provides vocational training to students who belong to over two dozen tribes from different parts of Orissa.

“This is the first time we are inviting parents for a meeting of this kind. We are really excited,” said Nayak.

KISS has students from 13 primitive tribes.

These include five from Birhor, 97 from Bondo, 67 from Didayi, Dongria-Kond, Juang, Kharia, Kutia, Lanjia, Lodha. Mankirdia, Paudi Bhuyan, Saura and Chuktia.

“Back home on the hills, there was hardly any facility. Here, we have all that we ever wanted,” sums up Janki Hasta, a Class VII student, hailing from the interiors of Malkangiri.

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