Instagram encourages youth to express themselves meaningfully

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16 Jul 19
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Instagram encourages youth to express themselves meaningfully


Partnering YLAC India, Instagram launches the Counter Speech Fellowship in Hyderabad

Instagram, in association with Young Leaders for Active Citizenship (YLAC), today launched its flagship youth program - the Counter Speech Fellowship today. The fellowship gets launched in Hyderabad for the first time and is a part of Instagram’s efforts to be the safest and kindest platform for teens to express themselves.

The Counter Speech Fellowship engages creative teens to use the power of visual storytelling to start meaningful conversations on issues that are important to young citizens around the world. The program is built around the idea of using arts for positive expression and advocacy, and is designed as an incubator for the future generation of leaders and activists. In 2019, the fellowship will be launched in Kolkata, Guwahati and Hyderabad and will focus on six themes - bullying, diversity, mental wellbeing, body positivity, gender equality and sustainability.

At the launch, Tara Bedi, Public Policy and Community Outreach Manager, Instagram, India, commented, “For so many teens, Instagram is their favourite space for expressing themselves and sharing their passions and interests. We feel it is our responsibility to ensure they have a safe and comfortable experience while doing so. The Counter Speech Fellowship is a way for us to facilitate positive conversations on issues that matter to teens, a safe space to voice their concerns and advocate for change.”

In the words of Aparajita Bharti, Co-Founder, YLAC India, “We believe in encouraging young people to lead the change needed in our society and therein lies our partnership with Instagram, which is the hub of all teen expression today. Through this fellowship, we are grooming the next generation of leaders to use their voice on social media to be a force for good and create communities of support around them. Many of our Counter Speech Alumni are now leading advocacy campaigns in their schools, colleges and communities around the issues that they feel passionately about. ”

The fellowship was launched in 2017 and expanded to Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata in 2018. 180 teen leaders have graduated from the fellowship so far across these cities. Through the two months of the fellowship, the fellows will be tasked with posting content on Instagram around the identified themes, and will participate in workshops featuring mentors like Ayesha Syeda from Fire Fly community. All content will be posted on Instagram using the hashtag #CounterSpeechYLAC

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