Hekani Jakhalu Kense , US educated lawyer turned social entrepreneur and founder of YouthNet Nagaland gets Nari Shakti Puraskar award from the President of India at Rastrapati Bhavan on International Women’s Day.
Hekani is the lone recipient from the North-east to get the prestigious highest civilian award for women in India.
She is an Alumnus of Lady Sri Ram College, with an LLB from Delhi University and LLM from @University of San Francisco, USA and 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 D.C., Amnesty International, USA and the United Nations Head Quarters in New York, USA.
Realizing the immense challenges of youth empowerment and unemployment in India’s northeast region Hekani quit her practice as a lawyer , and founded YouthNet 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, continues to be one of the premier youth organizations in North-East India
Today, YouthNet’s key milestones includes the recent completion of the 5-Year flagship program “Impact “5000 by 18” with the Government of Nagaland with an aim to reach and impact 5000 local youths by 2018 with the goal of building a healthier and stronger private sector. It successfully reached out to 17, 236 people where over 300 youths were successfully trained and provided jobs and 25 start-ups were mentored to further enhance their enterprise. YouthNet’s operations continue to grow through its following four key establishment infrastructure: Centre of Excellence for Entrepreneurship (CEE), Youth Resource Centre (YRC) in collaboration with Godrej Good and Green to incubate women entrepreneurs in Nagaland, YouthNet’s Nagaland Career and Development Centre (NCDC) to empower young Nagas with the necessary skills required by the public and private sectors. Since its inception in 2012, NCDC has trained over 30,000 students, 3500 job seekers, and more than 1000 professionals. YouthNet’s Nagaland Job Centre (NJC) to bridge the gap between job seekers and employers in the private sector. Since its inception in 2012, NJC has assisted over 1200 candidates. And finally YouthNet’s Made in Nagaland Centre. The three storied establishment hosts over 100 Naga entrepreneurs whose locally produced goods and services are displayed and retailed.
Hekani along with former Indian football Captain Bhaichung Bhutia founded Young Leaders Connect in 2011 a platform to establish a powerful network of young leaders and achievers of the north east, to contribute towards building a vibrant economy, strong government and a common cultural identity.