The First Lady Kenya, Rachel Ruto, E.G.H., was awarded the prestigious KISS Humanitarian Award 2022 at an event in the KISS campus that was graced by the Odisha Governor Prof Ganeshi Lal. The award recognizes her outstanding dedication to humanitarian efforts and her unwavering commitment to improving the lives of the underprivileged and underserved, particularly women, children, and vulnerable communities.
In her acceptance speech, Rachel expressed her gratitude for the warm welcome she received in Bhubaneswar and extended her thanks to the Governor and the Founder of KIIT and KISS Dr. Achyuta Samanta for their hospitality. She emphasized her eagerness to collaborate with institutions like KISS in their shared mission to create a more compassionate and equitable world. The First Lady commended the visionary work of Dr Samanta who has been instrumental in providing free education to over 40,000 underprivileged students.
Mrs. Ruto acknowledged that the award was not just a recognition of her individual efforts but also a tribute to the spirit and resilience of the Kenyan people, especially women. She pledged to continue advocating for women’s well-being, financial inclusion, access to knowledge, and livelihood initiatives through Women Economic Empowerment programs.
The Odisha Governor, in his address, praised the First Lady for her humanitarian efforts and dedication to the betterment of humanity. He commended the work of KISS and its Founder, Dr. Achyuta Samanta, in ensuring that democracy reaches every corner of society.
Dr Samanta, in his speech, greeted the Kenyan First Lady in Swahili and drew parallels between her work and the mission of KISS. He highlighted the significant impact she has made through initiatives like MaMa Doing Good, Women Economic Empowerment, and Environmental and Climate Action. He said both he and the First Lady are united in “purpose and mission” in serving the society even though they are separated by continents, describing her as his sibling, he added.
Among others, the Chancellor of KISS Deemed to be University Satya S. Tripathi; President of KIIT and KISS Saswati Bal; Kenya High Commission in India Willy K. Bett; Vice president of KIIT and KISS Umapada Bose, Secretary R N Das and other senior functionaries from both KIIT and KISS were present on the occasion.
The KISS Humanitarian Award was initiated in 2008 and is conferred annually to recognize and felicitate individuals for their exemplary and distinguished service to humanity across the globe. Notable previous awardees have hailed from five continents and include luminaries such as Madam Edna Bomo Molewa, former premier of the North-western state of South Africa Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, Dr. Ham-Kee-Sun, President of Hanseo University, Mr. Anerood Jugnauth, President of the Republic of Mauritius, Rt. Hon. Lord Justice Nicholas Addison Phillips, President of the Supreme Court of UK, Lyonchhen Jigmiy Thinley, Prime Minister of Bhutan, Madam Albina Du Boisrouvray, Founder FXB International, Switzerland, Ms. Anne Margaret Fagertun Stenhammer, Regional Director of UN Women for South Asia, Ms. Ashley Judd, UNFPA Global Goodwill Ambassador, His Holiness Dalai Lama, Nobel Peace Laureate, Prof Muhammad Yunus.