The state of Odisha is characterized by largest number of indigenous population constituting 24 percent of the total population of the state. These communities continue to remain as one of the most marginalised and deprived sections of the society. Realizing the problem behind the sluggish pace of transformation into mainstream society, Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) was founded by Dr. AchyutaSamanta in the year 1993. The institute which started with only 125 tribal students in 1993 has grown remarkably, in all dimensions, to become the only institution in the world providing free education from Kindergarten to Post-Graduation with vocational and extracurricular training, free lodging and boarding, state-of-the-art pedagogy and facilities for more than 25,000 students of tribal origin. The major objective behind the conceptualization of the institute is to empower the indigenous children by free holistic and quality education. The students have earned recognition in academics, vocational capabilities and global recognition in sports.
- Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) since 2015 – the highest recognition to a non-government organization from the United Nations.
- Among top 223 NGOs of the world and 10 best NGOs of India in the prestigious ranking of world NGOs published in 2016 by NGO Advisor, a Geneva-based independent media organization.
- Associated with United Nations Department of Public Information (UNDPI)
- Champion Level-Platinum Certification by Guide Star India for NGO Transparency by GuideStar India. (2016)
- Programmes and activities aligned to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN and proactively working to achieve the goals.
- Expansive self-contained eco-friendly campus for 25,000 students. Facilities at par with any good public school.
- Plans to educate 2,00,000 indigenous (tribal) children over the next decade and in the process of setting up branches in 10 states, with the support of respective state governments, and all 30 districts of Odisha.
- Students are high achievers in academics, co-curricular activities and national and international sports, making it a highly successful model of tribal empowerment through education.
- Tie-ups with many world organizations including UNESCO, UNICEF, UNFPA, and US Federal Government.
- Visited and appreciated by high dignitaries, including Heads of State, Ambassadors, from 70 countries.
- 12 Nobel Laureates have visited the Institute.
- Widely covered in leading national and international media, including The Time, Wall Street Journal, South China Morning Post, Readers’ Digest, Asia Post and Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).
- Two Guinness World Records – ‘The Largest Human Sentence’ and ‘The Longest Human Chain (High Five)’.