First Bonda MLA gets US call; community on cloud nine

Bhubaneswar/Malkangiri: The entire Bonda community in Odisha’s Malkangiri district is on cloud nine after Dambaru Sisa, the 33-year-old BJD MLA from Chitrakonda assembly seat in the district belonging to the particularly vulnerable tribal group (PVTG) has got an invitation from the United States of America (USA) to attend a leadership programme.

Sources said the MLA, the first Bonda a master degree holder, will attend the International Visitor Leadership Programme (IVLP) to be held in the USA in May this year.

The US Consulate General has invited Sisa to attend the prestigious event, which attracts around 5,000 international visitors every year.

The MLA is scheduled to stay in the USA from May 9 to 28, sources added.

Expressing happiness over the invitation, the MLA said, “It is a great moment for us as getting an invitation to go America is indeed a big thing for Bonda tribe. It comes just after a Bonda couple had met prime minister in Delhi on the occasion of Republic Day. I am grateful and humbled that I got a call from the USA to go there and attend a programme there.”

“We are extremely happy as our elder brother is going to America,” said a visibly happy Sania Kirsani.

Bonda couple – Samari Sisa (46) and Dhabalu Sisa (41) – were invited by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the occasion of Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi.

Sisa, a postgraduate in Mathematics, was doing a constable’s job in the CRPF before becoming the first member from the Bonda community to be elected as an MLA.

Bonda tribe, identified as one of the 13 PVTGs in Odisha, are found only in Odisha’s Malkangiri district. teh literacy rate among the Bondas is just 8 per cent.

The International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) is the U.S. Department of State’s premier professional exchange program. Through short-term visits to the United States, current and emerging foreign leaders in a variety of fields experience this country first-hand and cultivate lasting relationships with their American counterparts.

Professional meetings reflect the participants’ professional interests and support the foreign policy goals of the United States.

Each year, nearly 5,000 International Visitors come to the U.S. on the IVLP. More than 200,000 International Visitors have engaged with Americans through the IVLP, including more than 335 current or former Chiefs of State or Heads of Government.