Request for public funding for a 5 day conference on 'Education of Youth and Social Transformation'

Kalinga Mitra Trust (KMT)

In 2006, graduates of Nagarjuna Training Institute and other Ambedkarite students began organizing around the issue of education in the western part of Odisha. In 2012, they formed the 'Kalinga Mitra Trust (KMT)', an organization that works with Ambedkarite Buddhist ideology to build a movement for bringing about social and educational transformation in the society.

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KMT works with the mission of mobilizing youth coming from Bahujan (SC, ST, OBC) communities and supporting them to pursue higher education. An important objective of KMT is to create critical, emancipatory, and Ambedkarite consciousness among these youth and building a collective understanding of the process of social transformation. Towards these objectives KMT organizes a variety of activities throughout the year: workshops on the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989, Buddhist retreats and cultural activities, and workshops on Dr. Ambedkar's writings and speeches. KMT also publishes a periodical called 'Nirveda'. It has also played an active part in mobilising masses to fight against caste atrocities on a number of occasions, including the brutal episode of violence and arson in the village of Lathor in Balangir district in 2012. KMT was also instrumental in mobilizing thousands to protest against the rape and murder of Snehalata in 2015. KMT actively promotes all the Bahujan movements taking shape in Western Odisha.

For more than a decade, KMT has been mobilising youth, germinating the seeds of Ambedkarite consciousness amongst them and inspiring them to pursue higher education. Every year, KMT organizes a five-day conference on 'Education, Youth and Social Transformation'. The conference is attended by over four hundred students each year. Several students who have attended this conference are now studying in premier central as well as state universities in India, as well as in universities abroad. Swati Suna is one such KMT member and a successful Dalit girl, who is pursuing her PhD in Sydney University Australia with support from the National Overseas Scholarship of the Govt. of India. Another student, Bibekananda Suna completed his PhD from Jawaharlal Nehru University; he was an active member of UDSF and BAPSA; and has now been appointed as an Assistant Professor. Bansidhar Deep got through the Govt. Aided College of Odisha Higher Education Board; he had also contested for the post of a vice-president in JNUSU elections of 2016. Jitendra Suna is one of the extraordinary emerging student leaders and intellectuals in India, and in 2019 he contested for the post of president in JNUSU election. His dedication to his studies and his struggle stand as powerful symbols of Ambedkarite politics at the national level. There are several other students continuing their Bachelor's, Master's, M. Phil, and PhD and engaging actively in the student politics in universities such as the Hyderabad Central University, TISS Mumbai, JNU, Central University Gujarat, EFLU, Pondicherry Central University, and Gangadhar Meher University, Sambalpur. These students are not only successful in their personal lives, but they support their fellow students, fight for social justice and contribute to the Ambedkarite Buddhist movement as well.

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KMT follows the path of Ambedkar's mantra of 'Educate, Agitate, and Organize'. KMT is one of the rare organizations which are committed to the work of educational development of marginalized communities and social transformation. To organize this grand five-day conference on 'Education, Youth and Social Transformation' from 27th to 31st December 2019, KMT appeals for public donations. KMT requests you to extend your financial support and contribute to the success of this great programme. This year the KMT commits to accommodate eight hundred students for this five-day residential conference. There will be multiple levels of creative activities such as speeches, cultural events, documentary screenings, art exhibition, poetry session, group discussions and presentations. To organize this event, we do not have our own place to host the participants or our own resources. We entirely depend on public donations. We require a corpus of around 8 lakhs to fund this programme. Therefore, we kindly request you to extend your financial support, as well as mobilize students to participate in the conference and contribute towards Ambedkar's mission. This programme would help to deepen conversations on Ambedkar's thoughts on education, democracy, representation, politics of social transformation, need for students politics and so on. Please attend in large numbers.

 Invited Speakers at the Conference

Dr. Raja Sekhar Vundru (IAS)- Author of 'Ambedkar, Gandhi, Patel and Making of Electoral System in India'
Mallepally Laxmaiah- Journalist and founder of 'Centre for Dalit Studies'
Vinod Kumar- founder member of BAPSA
Jitendra Suna- Student leader
Swarna Prabha Barik- Women's rights activist
Julee Naik- Emerging student leader
Santosh Nag- Member of BAPSA at GMU
Bibekananda Suna- Assistant Professor
Bansidhar Deep- Lecturer
Pankaj Naik- Assistant Professor
Dr.Durgeswari Mahanand- Lecturer
Dr.Sidharth Pradhan- Assistant Professor
Bhante Mettananda- Founder of Kalinga Masa Sangha and a well known expert on Buddhism in Odisha


[via Abhayveer Boudh]

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