Kohima: Hekani Jakhalu Kense, founder of YouthNet, was awarded the prestigious Prerna Award 2021 by Schneider Electric, along with two other awardees. 

The Prerna Award was presented in recognition of the stellar work and commitment made by Kense and the other women recipient in society.

Reacting to the announcement over a virtual ceremony, the lawyer-turned-social entrepreneur said the award comes as a great motivation for the cause that YouthNet has been working for.

“YouthNet has been working on youth empowerment, employment and livelihood through intervention in education sector, skill development and entrepreneurship programme, especially focusing on Made in Nagaland and Made in North East inititives in line with nationwide campaign on Made in India for a self-reliant country,” she said. 

Kense said that YouthNet has been making significant impact by reaching out to over 1 lakh young people. As YouthNet turns 15 this year, she said the award is a wonderful honor to recognise the meaningful yet challenging journey that it has been through. 

“YouthNet has been working on nurturing a generation to be positive, productive, responsible and contributing members of society,” she said. 

Kense had also received the Nari Shakti Puraskar from the President of India in 2018. 

Taking to Twitter, Kense said, “This is a good 15th anniversary gift for YouthNet esp coming 4m a global giant  & responsible company @SchneiderElec . ThankU. We will strive to do better. @olblum @thekiranbedi it was grt listening to u both”. 

Kense is an alumna of Lady Sri Ram College in Delhi, with an LLB from Delhi University and LLM from University of San Francisco, USA. She is also an alumnus of Harvard Kennedy School Executive Education.

She also has a wide spectrum of training and experience at the American University in Washington, DC, Amnesty International, US, and the United Nations headquarters in New York, US.

Realising the immense challenges of youth empowerment and unemployment in India’s Northeast region, she quit her practice as a lawyer and founded YouthNet Nagaland with support from a group of like-minded young professionals.

Under the global Youth Employment Summit (YES) campaign in Egypt, YouthNet was designated as the YES Nagaland Chapter and made serious commitments to engage youth productively and improve the livelihood of the current and future generations. Since its inception in 2006, YouthNet continues to be one of the premier youth organisations in Northeast India.

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