Yes Bank Raises Me­dia Fel­low­ships to 500

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Yu­vraj, a 19-year old youth saw a 66-year old man on a wheel­chair selling in­cense sticks (agar­bathis) on a busy road in Pune to support his par­ents and also part-fund a med­i­cal stu­dent’s ed­u­ca­tion. He picked him as his hero for the film he was do­ing as part of the ‘Yes I’m the Change’ film-mak­ing con­test or­ga­nized by Yes Bank. Con­tes­tants get a sur­prise topic at 6 am and are ex­pected to sub­mit a film on any so­cial topic within 101 hours. The youth’s short movie went on to win the con­test. At the award cer­e­mony, presided over by Amitabh Bachchan, he said it was great meet­ing AB but his ex­pe­ri­ence of meet­ing this elderly gentleman was greater.

Kuljit has taken up an­i­mal res­cue se­ri­ously. He works part time in Delhi and does an­i­mal res­cue rest of the time. He built an app which has 1600 of his friends and youth singing up. Leena in Kolkota works on find­ing miss­ing girls.

These youth rep­re­sent what Yes Foun­da­tion, the so­cial sec­tor arm of Yes Bank, is as­pir­ing to achieve through sev­eral of its out­reach with youth who it thinks are pow­er­ful agents of so­cial change. It’s ‘Yes I’m the Change So­cial Film Fes­ti­val’ has been a roar­ing suc­cess. In 2016, YES! i am the CHANGE en­gaged with over 13 lakh in­di­vid­u­als from 2,500 cities and towns across India and re­ceived a record-break­ing 29,500 so­cial films for the free use of NGOs. “What was started as a thought has be­come a rev­o­lu­tion across India,” Pr­erana Langa, CEO of Yes Foun­da­tion, told Bene­dict Para­manand, in a chat re­cently. She has set up a Change Mak­ers’ Fund to support these ini­tia­tives.

“We fo­cus on stim­u­lat­ing en­trepreneur­ship and in­no­va­tive use of me­dia ini­tia­tives for so­cial trans­for­ma­tion, to en­able India’s in­clu­sive growth,” she added.

Me­dia for So­cial Change

Buoyed by the phe­nom­e­nal suc­cess of the so­cial film ini­tia­tive, the Foun­da­tion launched an­other am­bi­tious ini­tia­tive called ‘Me­dia for So­cial Change Fel­low­ships’ two years ago. In the first year 45 youth were se­lected to un­dergo 8 weeks of in­tense train­ing on var­i­ous sec­tors like work­ing with NGOs, with so­cial me­dia among oth­ers. “We wanted a deeper en­gage­ment with the youth for cre­at­ing more sen­si­tive cit­i­zens, so we launched this fel­low­ship,” Ms Langa said.

This fel­low­ship num­ber rose to 200 in 2017. The plan is to in­crease it to 500 in 2018. The fel­lows get a mod­est fel­low­ship of Rs. 10,000 and other ex­penses. They get a men­tor for each of their projects. “If peo­ple are pas­sion­ate they find their own re­sources. Many of them join NGOs and the cor­po­rate sec­tor thereby en­hanc­ing the qual­ity of their tal­ent pool,” she added.

Yes Bank has been a pioneer in re­spon­si­ble bank­ing. It has con­sis­tently de­nied credit and loans to projects and or­ga­ni­za­tions that harm ecol­ogy. Pr­erana Lamba is a veteran in the so­cial sec­tor. Be­fore join­ing Yes Bank, she was part of the found­ing team of ICICI Foun­da­tion that has done pi­o­neer­ing work with bot­tom of the pyra­mid sec­tors.

Pr­erana Langa, CEO Yes Foun­da­tion

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