Dr. Achyuta Samanta, founder of KISS had always nurtured vision of a world free from hunger, poverty, illiteracy and ignorance because he himself had to go through all these things in his childhood. Untimely demise of his father when he was only four years old plunged the whole family comprising 7 siblings and widow mother into the mire of abject poverty and deprivation. With no fortune to fall back on the family languished in their remote native village in Odisha and would often go without a square meal for days. The grueling experience of his childhood had convinced the young Achyuta Samanta quite early in life that deprivation, poverty, ignorance, and illiteracy kill people from within and further deprive them of livelihood earning skills.
With great hardship and struggle, Achyuta Samanta completed his Masters in Chemistry in 1990 and soon became an academic but deep within his passionate heart cringed to do something to emancipate the poor and the deprived. His passion took him to the tribal hinterland where he traveled extensively and even stayed for days together among the poor and much alienated Juang tribal community in Keonjhar district and the Bhumija and Kolhas of Mayurbhanj district and watched from a very close range how the government and NGO organizations worked in their endeavor to develop the tribal communities.
His first hand practical experience made him realize that lack of education was the sole reason why the tribal were not developing despite tremendous contributions being made by the Government and different NGOs. The tribal had a different lifestyle of their own which had been solely dependent on the forests surrounding their habitat but with gradual deforestation their very survival was at stake. The livelihood earning skills of the mainstream population was totally incomprehensible for them.
Enriched with wisdom derived from experiences of his own life and that from his visits and stays in the tribal hinterland, the young academic Achyuta Samanta, with all his savings that amounted to only Rs 5000/- (100 USD), was prompted to start a small training institute- Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT) in 1992 at Bhubaneswar, the capital city in a rented building. He also set up another institute side by side, the Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) dedicating it especially for the basic education of the tribal children starting with 125 poorest tribal children.
Dr. Achyuta Samanta’s brilliant visionary mind knew right from the start that KIIT would sustain KISS as he himself had neither a fortune of his own to spare nor had any influential backing and banking support. KIIT has been deftly mentored by Dr. Samanta as a result of which it has consistently grown into a self-sufficient educational organization and nurtured the growth of KISS, from pillar to pillar. KIIT provided a sustainable financing and technically enabling model for KISS because living on donations, which would come by sporadically, could not have provided a sustainable source of finance and other resources. Since then both the organizations are prospering impressively.
The success of KISS has attracted the attention of planners and administrators of different governments within the country and abroad calling for replication of KISS in their respective areas. While a branch of KISS, KISS-DELHI, is operating successfully in the National Capital Region of Delhi with the collaboration of the Government of Delhi, plans are in the offing to open branches of KISS in all the thirty districts of the state of Odisha and all the states of India.