ISA AWARD LAUREATE
The award Laureate will receive a certificate of merit, and a gold medal, in addition to a prize of US$ one million.
The first award recipient was announced and honoured in a special inaugural ceremony, in May 2013.
The Children’s Cancer Hospital Egypt — popularly known as Hospital 57357 — is the ultimate example of what can be achieved when people work together for the common good.
The hospital is a unique institution. It was built by donations, and even today, continues to operate and to be sustained through donations. Egyptians from all walks of life were inspired by its vision and mission and rallied around the call to set up a state-of-the-art paediatric oncology hospital and thus secure a better future for children with cancer.
The support came not only from Egypt but also from all over the world — particularly from the Arab world. With 320 beds, Hospital 57357 is the largest hospital of its kind in the world, and was modeled on St Jude’s Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee, US. Hospital 57357 was established in 2007 with the goal of providing the best comprehensive family centered quality care and offering a chance for a cure to all children with cancer seeking its services and it would be provided to them — free of charge and without any discrimination!
Since the inception of the 57357 Project, the focus was on how to provide the best comprehensive quality care as well as look for an opportunity for a cure. Hence, the Hospital is constantly offering its patients with a wide range of the most advanced diagnostics and treatment services including chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery, bone marrow transplant, multi-disciplinary clinics, physical rehabilitation, socio-psychological care, palliative care, survivorship care, art therapy and in-house schooling.
Right from the start Hospital 57357 administrators and top management realised that carrying out research in medical and non-medical areas of hospital operations was a pre-requisite to seeing any progress in achieving cure and in securing a better future for children with cancer. Hence the adoption of the most advanced health informatics system by Cerner was a necessary step in this direction and in enabling the complete digitalisation of hospital operations, its acquisition of a strong database, and eventual transformation into a paperless hospital.
The 57357 Project is taking decisive steps to increase the childhood cancer survival rate in Egypt from less than an estimated 40 per cent to an overall 75 - 80 per cent that corresponds to survival rates in many western countries. Furthermore, it is also attempting to create a new system of healthcare where the most advanced treatment and scientific approaches practiced today are used for the benefit of patients.
Presently, after 10 years of operations, the hospital is recording a 72 per cent average over-all survival rates. It is more than a hospital but stands as a leading example for healthcare, a change agent and a comprehensive institution for fighting childhood cancer.
DR. ACHYUTA SAMANTA
Blazing A Trail of Service to Humanity
Achyuta Samanta – the founder of Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences and Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology – was only four years old when his father died, leaving his mother and seven siblings in severe poverty and hardship. Rather than resigning himself to despondency, he took the courageous step at the tender age of six to start working and thus shoulder responsibility for his family’s well being.
This humble beginning laid the foundation for his future career path. In 1992, he took his first steps as a social entrepreneur with the sole purpose of giving high quality education to socially and economically disadvantaged members of society and, thus provide opportunities to help liberate them from poverty.
Dr. Samanta’s journey has been marked by strength and resilience as he established both the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology and the Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences on the bedrock of strong ethical values. Today, the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology is regarded as a world-class university but it was begun with an investment of just Rs 5000. His dream wasto ensure that poverty would never pose a hindrance to anyone’s education. He accelerated efforts to create a slice of heaven on earth, and called it the Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences, which now caters to 25,000 children from the underprivileged tribal community.
Dr. Samanta - A Living Legend
Dr. Samanta is widely described as a living legend because of his own miraculous journey out of poverty but also for his relentless quest to help those languishing in abject poverty, ignorance and neglect. He has indeed braved the adversities of life, and yet took it upon himself to chase the dream of bettering the lives of the socio-economically challenged indigenous tribal community of Odisha. He could have easily appropriated for himself the goodwill, fame and resources that he earned along the way, but instead he chose to invest in creating a better world for the poor and downtrodden. He lives in a rented house, wears simple clothing, cooks his own meals and never fails to wear a contagious smile that reveals a youthful charm despite his 50 years.
Braving poverty and a shattered childhood
Dr. Samanta’s mother underwent a great deal of struggle after the sudden death of her husband left the entire family in abject poverty. She could only manage to provide a dilapidated thatch-roofed house as shelter for her children in the village where they lived. She fed them with rice gruel and wild spinach because that was all she could afford with her meagre earnings. However, this encounter with poverty in his early childhood did not daunt him. He faced the challenges of life with utmost calm, solemnity and unmatched determination to overcome the negativity and pessimism that usually surrounds people who have been betrayed by fate. It would seem nothing short of a miracle for anyone in this situation to even aspire to an education, but that is precisely what happened. As if driven by divine inspiration, he would follow the older boys from the village as they walked to school. Surprised by his willingness to stay in class, the school’s headmaster eventually gave in, thus paving the way for Dr. Samanta’s academic journey from primary school to high school, from high school to college, and from college to university. He eventually earned a Masters degree in Chemistry that landed him a lecturer’s job at a college in Bhubaneswar, the capital city of the eastern state of Odisha.
Destiny's plan unfolds
Life seemed comfortable for the young lecturer, but destiny had other plans. His own experience of poverty throughout his childhood years stirred within him a fervent desire to do something to alleviate the suffering of disadvantaged members of society. Obsessed with the idea that education empowers, he set out to put his plan into action. While pursuing a college education in Puri and a postgraduate education at Utkal University in Bhubaneshwar, he began to augment his paltry scholarship by giving private tuition to students. This simple act of teaching helped him discover the social entrepreneur within. He looked forward to working towards empowering the hapless unemployable young children who failed to succeed academically. In 1992, he got his opportunity; he took his entire savings of Rs 5000 and started an industrial training institute in a rented two-room building in Bhubaneshwar. What followed was no ordinary journey, but a miracle that transformed him into an icon for the academic community.
Planting the seeds of enterprise
The adversities faced during his early childhood planted the seeds of enterprise, while destiny led him to the field of educational entrepreneurship. It was a time when most academic institutes began to show signs of decadence and an inability to meet the challenges of the changing needs of society. Dr. Samanta’s innovative mind gave birth to an educational institution that became a model to emulate. The Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology Group of Institutions became the largest educational conglomerate in the city of Bhubaneshwar. With a total built up area of 7.5 million square feet, the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology boasts some of the finest buildings on 20 independent campuses with state-of-the-art facilities.
Birth of the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology University
The Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology's academic excellence was recognised by the Government of India. In 2004, the Institute became one of the youngest institutions in India to be awarded university status, a feat mentioned in the Limca Book of Records. Today, the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology is considered one of the 15 best universities in India, and it is also ranked as the 4th best self-financed university as per independent surveys. Over the years, the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology has grown to offer a broad range of technical and professional courses. Starting with Engineering, MCA and MBA, the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology has added programmes such as Rural Management, Law, Biotechnology, Medical Sciences, Nursing, Dental Sciences, Fashion Technology, Film and Media Sciences, Sculpture, Humanities, Languages, Yoga and Spiritual studies in just 15 years. Today, over 18,000 students from different parts of India and abroad pursue a range of graduate, post-graduate, doctoral and postdoctoral fellowship programmes. The Institute is distinguished by excellence not only with its architecture but also with the consistent quality of teaching, research and campus placements for graduates over the years. As a result, the National Assessment and Accreditation Council of the United Grants Commission (UGC) and the National Board of Accreditation of the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) have assigned the University with high grades.
Birth of an incredible philanthropic venture: The Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences
The Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology was not Dr. Samanta’s only dream. Around the time that this world-class university was taking shape, Dr. Samanta had already come up with a plan to empower the poor and marginalised indigenous tribal children of the state by providing them with a level playing field. With the conviction that 'illiteracy breeds poverty and literacy eradicates it', he established a small school in 1993. Situated near the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology, the Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences was set up to provide free education and free lodging and boarding facilities to tribal children. This fledgling school has now grown into a mammoth tribal residential school that provides free education from kindergarten to the post-graduate level. The state-of-the-art independent campus serves over 25,000 children and youth from the poorest of the poor indigenous tribal communities, a feat hailed as one of its kind in the world.
Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences: A magic wand for real transformation
Dr. Samanta's vision is to provide quality education and opportunities to the poorest of the poor indigenous tribal children, boosting their all-round development and empowering them with life skills so that they can successfully integrate into the mainstream. Love and care has helped the tribal children to shine in every field, from representing India at international sporting events to excelling in various competitive examinations; the indigenous tribal children have justified Dr. Samanta's firm belief that, given the proper opportunity, they can perform at the same level or even outshine their mainstream contemporaries. The students are doing well academically and have secured 100% results for the past 10 years with no dropouts. They excel at sports, too. A case in point would be the game of rugby towards which the students from the Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences have shown a keen interest. The game is hardly popular amongst the people of the state and a surprising choice for remote dwelling tribal people. Dr. Samanta will no doubt be seen as a strong advocate for tribal education and the pioneer of a new era in which even the most deprived person has the chance to have his or her say.
Achyuta Samanta: Blazing a trail of service to humanity
Dr. Achyuta Samanta is a man of a thousand dreams. He pursues his dreams until he is able to give them a tangible shape. With faith and beliefs strongly rooted on right effort, he works for a genuinely worthy social cause, and success inevitably follows. Anybody who lost their father at the age of four, without a stable income and a number of mouths to feed, would have been pushed to the brink of despair, but that did not prevent Dr. Samanta from achieving the impossible. On the long journey from nursery school to Masters in Chemistry, Dr. Samanta left his mark everywhere. His teachers remember him as a bright student, the village elders remember him as an ever-willing helping hand, and the priests remember him as a devotee who helped in gathering flowers for the deities. Dr. Samanta accumulated blessings for the future, and these enabled him to establish a conglomeration of educational institutions including Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology and Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences. These two institutions have brought glory to him and to his home state of Odisha.
TAN SRI DR JEMILAH MAHMOOD
Married with two children, Dr. Jemilah currently lives in Kuala Lumpur. She has a great passion for music and the arts, and considers scuba diving as her ultimate relaxation.
In 2005, Dr. Jemilah’s efforts led to MERCY Malaysia joining the International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA). A year later, she became ICVA's Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee. As part of her role, Jemilah participated in a number of high-level international conferences, including the Global Humanitarian Platform – which she co-chaired for a year with UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, Sir John Holmes.
At these international conferences and forums, Dr. Jemilah constantly encouraged and challenged western international organisations to approach their work in a more culturally sensitive way, and to invest in local capacity and talent, particularly amongst local personnel and institutions.
Honouring Great Humanitarian Achievements
Her commitment to noble humanitarian issues, her leadership
and her focused vision have helped to save many lives and has improved people’s living conditions in the aftermath of catastrophes in various parts of the world. Dr. Jemilah has proven that an individual can motivate many people to work as a team in the field of humanitarian services. She is an outstanding example of a humanitarian worker, a model of cultural tolerance, and a symbol of women’s influence and power in humanitarian services.
She has played a significant role in instilling the principle of diversifying expertise and in involving local communities, not only in humanitarian action but, more importantly, reducing risks and ensuring communities are left stronger and more able to meet future challenges. Dr. Jemilah also sees the role of the local community and local organisations as crucial in dealing with crises and catastrophes. She also believes that international organisations should not only invest in local capacity development, but also be empowered by local knowledge.
MERCY Malaysia, through Dr. Jemilah’s leadership, has become a model for civil community organisations in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. MERCY Malaysia's success has motivated several organisations in these regions to improve their professionalism and influence.
National and Global Recognition
In recognition of her contribution and dedication to humanitarian work in Malaysia – and for putting the nation on the world map in this sector – the Malaysian government conferred the title of Tan Sri (an honourable title bestowed to less than 500 Malaysians) on Dr. Jemilah. The government recognises her expertise and continues to seek her advice on disaster management and related topics. She is an outstanding teacher with a reservoir of knowledge and experience in coaching, teaching and motivating people to give back to society.
Everything that Dr. Jemilah does is done with passion for service to humanity. She is living proof that women in this part of the world are capable of leading and supporting humanitarian efforts and interacting with influential development bodies.
Awards and Certificates of Appreciation:
Dr. Jemilah's contributions have been recognised both nationally and globally. She has received several awards, including four Royal awards from Malaysia.
In November 2005, Dr. Jemilah was one of the recipients of the ‘Her World Women 2005’ Award. She was also listed among the ‘Ten Most Powerful Women in Malaysia in 2005’.
She received the Gandhi, King, Ikeda Community Builders Prize from Morehouse College USA in 2006, the East Asian Woman’s Award for Peace (Humanitarian Section) from the Philippines in 2003, and an Honorary Doctorate from the International Islamic University in Malaysia in 2007.
In a 2010 Readers Digest survey, she was named the second most trusted person in Malaysia.