INK in the blood

Have an inspiring tale to tell? Apply to the Ink Fellows programme, your life may change dramatically, says Gauri Rane

Updated: Feb 11, 2014, 16:43 PM IST

Have an inspiring tale to tell? Apply to the Ink Fellows programme, your life may change dramatically, says Gauri Rane

When he was 11, Vicky Roy ran away from home and became a rag picker for sustenance, till Salam Balak Trust, an NGO, which works for rehabilitation of street children, rescued him. This was the turning point of his life. He found his calling when he got an opportunity to assist British photographer, Dixie Benjamin. In 2012 he earned the INK or Innovation and Knowledge fellowship and at the subsequent conference, he got a chance to share his story with some of the world’s most inspiring thinkers and doers. The incident catapulted him to a different height. Today he has earned himself a MIT Media Lab scholarship to pursue a course in photography.

“We want to help people like Roy to achieve their dreams,” says Lakshmi Pratury, INK’s host and curator. The fellowship is open to all. There is only criterion. “The applicant should have the passion to drive his/ her dream into a reality,” says Pratury.

Every year, the organization receives 700 to 800 applications from all over the globe. The applicants include everyone from an engineer to architect and an artist to physician. Through this process, the organization identifies a multi-disciplinary group of 20 young path-breakers, who will have the potential to change the society.

The selected fellows are invited to attend an all expense paid INK conference where they are mentored to take their ideas forward. The INK conference was an offshoot of TEDIndia, a one-time conference that was hosted in 2009 to expand TED’s reach in Asia, and gives an opportunity to its fellows to interact with the best brains in the world. “It is their chance to collaborate with attendees from across the world,” explains Pratury.
The fellows are coached on how to present themselves and their ideas to venture capitalists; they are exposed to resourceful people and moreover they become a part of the INK community. “Innovations and ideas range from building a academic institute to creating acres of forests amidst a concrete jungle, or collaborations of music and art.”

Since it`s inception, the conference has annually hosted a multi-disciplinary gathering of global pioneers to inspire its chosen but unsung heroes. Speakers have included big names like film director James Cameron, new-age guru Deepak Chopra and Simpson’s creator Matt Groening. The focus of the conference however, has now moved from mere inspiration to serve as a Launchpad for ideas and innovations. “In a way, we accelerate the ideas of our fellows and help to turn them into a reality,” informs Pratury.
“The selection is purely based on the applicants power to impress us with his/ her story,” informs Pratury. Incase of Roy, for instance, the clinching factor wasn`t his rags to riches story, but his strife to become what he is today. There have been instances, says Pratury where the applicants have asked for help to fill in the application forms as they were not even literate. “All you ought to have is an inspiring story and innovative ideas to share with us and we will provide you a platform to transform your ideas into a reality,” concludes Pratury.


Eligibility: 18 to 40 years

Application deadline: March 30, 2014

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