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Happiness evangelist

EducationWorld July 2023 | EducationWorld People
-Paromita Sengupta (Bengaluru)

Kochhar (left) & Chawla: top level global endorsement

Yogesh Kochhar, an arts and business management postgrad of Punjab University and the American Graduate University (Miami), and Harvansh Chawla, an alum of Delhi University and a Supreme Court lawyer of 25 years standing, are co-founders of the YOL (YourOneLife) Foundation, Dharamshala (YOLF, estb.2019). Following five years of deep research the foundation has developed a mobile app (YOL), a Happiness Program, which can dramatically improve students’ socio-emotional, happiness and intelligence quotients. YOL enables them to control and calibrate their usage of distracting social media swamped with information overload.

The YOL Happiness Program has received top-level global endorsement. The not-for-profit YOLF has Prof. Phoebe Koundouri, Chair of the UN SDG-Europe and a member of the Evaluation Committee of the Nobel Foundation; Dr. Saamdu Chetri, founding former executive director, Gross National Happiness Centre, Bhutan, and Prof. Philip Kotler, Distinguished Professor of Marketing of the Kellogg School of Management, Illinois (USA), on its Board of Advisors and Validators.

Newspeg. Since the app was launched in early 2022, it has also been endorsed by Prof. Anil Sahasrabudhe, former chairman of AICTE, and is receiving “the serious attention” of Dr. Padmakali Banerji, Vice Chancellor of Sir Padampat Singhania University, Udaipur; Prof. J.P. Pandey, Vice Chancellor of Abdul Kalam Tech University, Lucknow; and Prof. R. Velraj, Vice Chancellor of Anna University, Chennai. According to Kochhar, these institutions are all set to introduce the YOL Happiness Program as a 2/4 credits course blended with a major. It will be accessible on customised apps acquired and owned by these institutions, in the new academic year 2023-24 beginning this month.

History. After graduating from Punjab University and American Graduate University, Miami, Kochhar acquired over three decades of corporate experience with several blue-chip companies in India (Tata Tea, Essar, Microsoft India), the UK and UAE before a chance encounter in 2013 with American psychiatrist-author Harold Bloomfield made him aware of the urgency of finding a solution for young social media addicts incrementally becoming “devoid of purpose, objectives and destination”.

Following this epiphany, he quit corporate life to take an entirely different path. Together with Chawla, he promoted the Dharamshala-based YOL Foundation in 2019. “Our goal was to develop an app-based YOL Happiness Program that would enable children and youth to reclaim their minds from the digital social media ocean in which they are adrift. With a six-member team of highly qualified designers, we have developed the YOL Happiness Program App which enables people to measure the time they spend on social media leisure apps Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat etc — and suggests ways and means to cut back and engage in creative learning,” says Kochhar, also a member of the World Happiness Foundation, Florida (USA).

After the formal launch of YOL in early 2022, Yogi and his team made a presentation to then AICTE chairman Prof. Anil Sahasrabudhe, who immediately resonated with its objectives, stating that it will “rescue the mind on the same phone that stole it.”

Direct talk. “The app not only measures time spent on leisure social media, it also advises subscribers to enhance their happiness quotient by adapting, adopting and integrating 12 important components of their lives — family, health, friends, wallet, documents, outings, conscience, commitments, ambition, confessions, dilemmas, inhibitions — facilitating their recovery from digital addiction. With AICTE’s approval, YOL can now be introduced by any university/college as a credit course. In addition, the YOL app serves a very useful national purpose. It is alarming to think that the minds of our children and youth are being recolonised, herded and traded by Western media companies like Facebook which has one billion subscribers in India,” says Kochhar.

Future plans. Not ones to rest on their laurels, the duo has drawn up a blueprint to build YOLF into a global enterprise with a subscriber base exceeding Facebook’s over the next four years. “YOL is a gamified app and will soon issue tokens against its usage. These tokens will then become redeemable against goods and services of various commercial companies anxious to reach users of the app,” explains Chawla.

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