Hekani Jakhalu Kense gets Nari Shakti Puraskar Award


Hekani Jakhalu Kense, US-educated lawyer turned social entrepreneur and founder of YouthNet Nagaland gets the Nari Shakti Puraskar award from the President of India at Rashtrapati Bhavan on International Women’s Day in 2018.

Hekani Jakhalu is the lone recipient from the northeast 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 the University of San Francisco, USA. Also an Alumnus of Harvard Kennedy School Executive Education. Hekani Jakhalu 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 Jakhalu 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, YouthNet continues to be one of the premier youth organizations in North-East India

Today, YouthNet key milestones include the recent completion of the 5-Year flagship program “Impact 5000 by 18” with the Government of Nagaland intending to reach and impact 5000 local youths by 2018 to build 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 infrastructures:

Centre of Excellence for Entrepreneurship (CEE) & Youth Resource Centre (YRC) in partnership with Godrej Good and Green to incubate women entrepreneurs in Nagaland.

YouthNet’s Career and Development Centre (YCDC) to empower young Nagas with the necessary skills required by the public and private sectors. Since its inception in 2012, YCDC has trained over 30,000 students, 3500 job seekers, and more than 1000 professionals.

YouthNet’s Job Centre (YJC) to bridge the gap between job seekers and employers in the private sector. Since its inception in 2012, YJC has assisted over 2400 candidates.

And finally, YouthNet Made in Nagaland Centre. The three-storied establishment hosts over 100 Naga entrepreneurs whose locally produced goods and services are displayed and retailed.

Hekani Jakhalu along with former Indian football Captain Bhaichung Bhutia founded Young Leaders Connect, now known as North-East Leaders Connect in 2011 as a platform to establish a powerful network of young leaders and achievers of the northeast, to contribute toward building a vibrant economy, strong government and a common cultural identity.

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