In 2007, at one of the Bob the Builder live shows in Singapore were sowed the seed of inspiration to start the YES WE CAN GROUP. “Can we fix it?” was the question he asked as he merrily ran around the city spreading his message of cooperation,community service and conflict resolution. “Yes We Can” they said.Founded by professionals with collective experience of over 50 years at some of leading banks and financial organisations across the globe like the American Express, Barclays, Citibank, Common Wealth and Deutsche Bank, Yes We Can Foundation brings together their insights, entrepreneurship and innovation,to make a measurable impact on the society.The group envisions a world with smart globalisation – a world in which
the benefits of globalisation are more widely shared and the social, economic,environmental challenges of the world are met collectively.
Based on the well-researched United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals, the Yes We Can Foundation picked healthcare and hygiene, primary education and environmental sustainability as their key focus areas. Over a short period of time they have helped improve the life of more than 3000 students through educational reforms, and undertaken various healthcare campaigns starting with deworming of school kids, supported micro enterprises and funded animal welfare projects.
Project Primary Education
They have also been actively involved in many projects to help and improve the state of education in various pockets of India. One of their primary projects is called Hosa Belaku( New light in Kannada.) True to its name Hosa Belaku is the new light for struggling educational institutions. It mainly includes renovating, rebuilding and modernizing the schools at all levels from infrastructure, hygiene and education.When Yes We Can set foot in the the schools from the tiny hamlets of Karnataka they suffered from extremely poor infrastructure, unhygienic conditions leading to unhealthy kids and poor attendance levels which eventually led to poor results.
After sanitizing and renovating the schools, they decided to focus on another pressing issue, that is food. To deal with the situation of the students, they started a private mid day meal program.The collective impact of the above actions was nothing short of magic, as the school has recorded 100% results in the SSLC exams consistently for the last three years. They also used a study on the psychology of colours to select shades which are known to drop blood pressure and reduction in aggressive behaviour, relieve eye fatigue and support the development process. In one such school they were working with (St.Johns Primary and High School) they resurrected the school and bring them out of the financial crisis within a record 11 days! 82 workers including masons, plumbers, electricians, graphic designers, painters, cleaners, water proofing specialists worked 24 hours (in two shifts) to completely overhaul the school in 11 days flat.
The Smile please project is a unique initiative that takes easy-to-use cameras into communities and teach underprivileged children how to use them. Working in liaison with schools, the foundation’s aim is to encourage and assist the children to create a visual documentary of their environment.Through the years the children have also come up with many heart touching photos like a drunk father beating them up or the sorry state of bathrooms without doors. This step will help identify the most immediate and domestic problems of the kids and try to find solution to them.The project also encourages children to use this otherwise hard-to-come by equipment,and instills in them a sense of responsibility and strengthens their self-confidence.
Healthcare, hygiene and deworming.
Across the world, 600 million school-age children are at the risk of being infected with parasitic worms. World Without Worms, Canada has recently joined hands with volunteers of Yes We Can Foundation to start its new Chapter in Malleswaram, Bangalore. It was started by the four Nahar siblings aged between 5 to 13, who have been appointed as India Ambassadors for World Without Worms (WWW). The Research and Awareness Program on Deworming at several schools across the country and have positively impacted more than 1200 school students.
Animal Welfare and Rights
Members of Yes We Can Foundation for the last sixteen years have associated with various Animal Welfare and Animal Rights organisations like PeTA, CUPA, PFA, BWC and ARF. Every year the foundation has been adopting animal shelters, which would take care of cute little puppies, dogs, tortured bullocks and abused monkeys among others.Akash Nahar, one of the Directors of Yes We Can Foundation has been nominated for the sixth VMAA National Awards for his contribution towards Animal Welfare and Animal Rights.
Other initiatives and the path ahead
The foundation is also working towards reaching out and helping promising, early -stage ideas and innovations. An impact investment company, Yes We Can Social Venture Fund proposes to promote sustained economic development by supporting high-impact social entrepreneurs in emerging markets through mentorship, strategic advice and access to capital.
They have also launched a project to promote women entrepreneurship. As the first step towards the economic liberation of house wives they have launched a brand of home made pickles and chutneys called Fulwa. All the ingredients are locally sourced from small-time women entrepreneurs and it has only women employees.
In conclusion the Yes We Can foundation is seeking tangible results for children, students and families living in urban poverty.They have a long term vision and dream of making a contribution that will outlive them. With a clear focus on child health and development, they march ahead.
Akash ends it on a realistic yet motivational note when he says…
Will we always succeed? No.
But we’ll always learn from our mistakes,and we’ll always shoot high.
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