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INK in the blood

Tuesday, 11 February 2014 - 6:00am IST | Agency: DNA
Have an inspiring tale to tell? Applying to the Ink Fellows programme, may change your life dramatically, says Gauri Rane

When he was 11, Vicky Roy ran away from home and became a rag pickerfor sustenance, till Salam Balak Trust, an NGO, which works forrehabilitation of street children, rescued him. This was the turningpoint of his life. He found his calling when he got an opportunity toassist British photographer, Dixie Benjamin. In 2012 he earned theINK or Innovation and Knowledge fellowship and at the subsequentconference, he got a chance to share his story with some of theworld's most inspiring thinkers and doers. The incident catapultedhim to a different height. Today he has earned himself a MIT MediaLab scholarship to pursue a course in photography. "We want to help people like Roy to achieve their dreams," saysLakshmi Pratury, INK's host and curator. The fellowship is open toall. There is only criterion. "The applicant should have thepassion to drive his/ her dream into a reality," says Pratury. Every year, the organization receives 700 to 800 applications fromall over the globe. The applicants include everyone from an engineerto architect and an artist to physician. Through this process, theorganization identifies a multi-disciplinary group of 20 youngpath-breakers, who will have the potential to change the society.The selected fellows are invited to attend an all expense paid INKconference where they are mentored to take their ideas forward. TheINK conference was an offshoot of TEDIndia, a one-time conferencethat was hosted in 2009 to expand TED's reach in Asia, and gives anopportunity to its fellows to interact with the best brains in theworld. "It is their chance to collaborate with attendees fromacross the world," explains Pratury. The fellows are coached on how to present themselves and their ideasto venture capitalists; they are exposed to resourceful people andmoreover they become a part of the INK community. "Innovations andideas range from building a academic institute to creating acres offorests amidst a concrete jungle, or collaborations of music andart."Since it's inception, the conference has annually hosted amulti-disciplinary gathering of global pioneers to inspire its chosenbut unsung heroes. Speakers have included big names like filmdirector James Cameron, new-age guru Deepak Chopra and Simpson'screator Matt Groening. The focus of the conference however, has nowmoved from mere inspiration to serve as a Launchpad for ideas andinnovations. "In a way, we accelerate the ideas of our fellows andhelp to turn them into a reality," informs Pratury.

"The selection is purely based on the applicants power to impressus with his/ her story," informs Pratury. Incase of Roy, forinstance, the clinching factor wasn't his rags to riches story, buthis strife to become what he is today. There have been instances,says Pratury where the applicants have asked for help to fill in theapplication forms as they were not even literate. "All you ought tohave is an inspiring story and innovative ideas to share with us andwe will provide you a platform to transform your ideas into areality," concludes Pratury.

Eligibility: 18 to 40 years
Application deadline: March 30, 2014
Details on: http://www.inktalks.com/fellows/apply

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