The US embassy selected Bhutal Hansdah and Shantilata Murmu, students of Bhubaneswar-based Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS), to attend the US Cultural Immersion Institute-2014 English Access Micro-Scholarship Programme.
Out of 15 such US programmes run by institutes in India and Pakistan, 65 students from seven institutes of India have been selected to attend the course, including two from the Odisha institute, KISS founder Achyuta Samanta told reporters.
Both students joined KISS in Class 6. Bhutal belongs to the Shantal tribe and is a native of Athapada village in Mayurbhanj district. He has lost his parents, and his siblings are daily-wage labourers.
Shantilata is also from a poor tribal family whose parents are daily-wage labourers in Panchugochhia village in Keonjhar district, he said.
Both students joined the programme three months ago. They were selected for their good performance in English language, he said.
The programme is funded by the US Department of State.
Located in Bhubaneswar, over 20,000 tribal children receive free educational and vocational training from kindergarten to post-graduate level at KISS.