Bhubaneswar: For the students of many tribal groups in Odisha, clearing the Class 10 exam is considered a huge achievement. But a little help can bring out the best as it did for Ganeswar Miniaka, who is all set to take admission into one of India`s coveted B-schools.
Miniaka, 20, who belongs to Odisha`s primitive Kandha tribe, has been invited by several prestigious institutions, including Indian Institutes of Management (IIM), after he scored 56.46 percentile in the Common Admission Test (CAT) held in October last year - thanks to his efforts and the support provided to him by a private institution here.
CAT is one of the most rigorous entrance examinations for business administration programmes, and the test score is used by the country`s top B-schools to shortlist applicants for admissions.
"Although I have got six calls including those from IIM-Raipur (Chhattisgarh), Kashipur (Uttarakhand) and Udaipur (Rajasthan), I have decided to join IIM-Triruchiapalli," Miniaka said in an interview.
Miniaka, a resident of Serigumma village in Rayagada district, about 550 km from here, attributes his success to his continuous efforts and the support he received from Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS), which provided him free coaching, study environment and proper care.
Located in Bhubaneswar, KISS is home to around 20,000 tribal children who receive free education from kindergarten (KG) to post-graduate (PG) level and vocational training.
Miniaka was invited by KISS in 2010 to take admission in a three-year degree course after he passed the Class 12 examination with 68 percent marks from a college in the district headquarters town of Rayagada. He cleared the commerce degree programme this year with distinction.
"I used to help my father in agricultural work during my school days. I had never thought I would ever be able to study in a B-school. It has become possible only because of KISS," he said.
Miniaka`s two elder brothers, one of whom has a bachelor`s degree, are engaged in agricultural work. "My future plan is to help poor students of our community, he said.
Tribals constitute about 22 percent of Odisha`s 41 million population. The state is home to 62 ethnic groups and Kandha is the biggest of them all with a population of about 1.4 million. Kandhas are mostly concentrated in five districts -- Kandhamal, Rayagada, Kalahandi, Ganjam and Gajapati.
"KISS has been helping tribal students to pursue their dreams. We would try to enable many more underprivileged tribal children to join IIM and other premier institutions of the country in the coming years," KISS founder Achyuta Samanta said.