YCF was launched on 31 May 2011 on the birthday of its chairman Shri C L Gowda.
YCF began its journey with a collaboration with Vanastree, a community-centric seed collective from Malnad dedicated to the protection and promotion of forest biodiversity through the conservation of seeds. With their help, YCF started conducting Green Living Expeditions (GLE) to encourage children to engage and connect with the natural world around them. This initiative was part of a larger plan to create opportunities for participants, particularly children, to connect with the world around them and draw insights from actual experiences. As part of GLE, YCF conducted multiple programmes that included activities such as farming, bird-watching, kitchen gardening and interactions with local communities, accentuating ecological consciousness.
YCF collaborated with the fashion designer and collage/drawing artist Dijana Zoradana Elfadivo, who was in India as part of a Goethe-Institut Max Mueller Bhavan fellowship for artists to initiate a dialogue with adivasi tribal students from the Children’s College in Magge Village, Mysore District, about their textile identity. Her workshop with the students resulted in an exhibition titled “How the elephants were—the children from the village here and now.”
YCF worked on an arts education project with the local community children of Halasuru to explore the artistry and history of their neighbourhood which was getting eroded with the construction of the metro railway line, titled Halasuru Traverses. YCF engaged with the predominantly Tamil students of a local government school that had been in Halasuru since 1873 but had been steadily losing its patronage to private schools. The students wrote down their local histories, weaving personal stories into the larger narrative and they were introduced to traditional form of leather puppets followed by training them in the needed skills to digitally fabricate leather puppets using technology. Their work resulted in a public showcase of the students' production..
YCF launched Ooota Aata Paata Koota (OAPK), a community fridge and storage space on the ground floor of the Halasuru Metro Station with the support of Herman Miller Cares, the CSR arm of the luxury furniture brand Herman Miller. OAPK allowed for the community sharing of good quality food, toys, clothes, books, etc.
YCF started Project 101 Ways, an initiative to encourage students to develop an aptitude for problem solving.As the name suggests, it was to encourage students to understand that there are more than many ways to solve a problem. For Eg: a garbage problem dealt by an environmentalist to a technology innovator as opposed to an artist is different and what better way than this project process to help the student recognise his/her interest and abilities. Project 101 Ways incorporated tinkering with a wide variety of materials and equipment so students could work with their hands and develop their own solutions for problems they encountered along the way thus promoting a STEM mindset.
YCF launched its Janayatri programme, an employment and empowerment initiative that reached out to women, particularly those who were single parents. Through Janayatri YCF began by training low income women to drive so that they could provide last mile connectivity to passengers who used the metro. This initiative diversified to include providing last mile logistics services to big online corporations. From a team of 6 drivers, this initiative has grown to a team of 60+ drivers, comprising of both men and women from marginalised communities who work as delivery associates for Amazon
YCF partnered with IBM, Quest Alliance to spearhead their STEM for Girls (SFG) programme in Karnataka. YCF has created a network of facilitators working across 67 schools in 11 districts to disseminate the core objectives of this programme—to encourage adolescent students, particularly girls, to develop a 21st century mindset and pursue STEM career pathways. In order to do this, YCF connected these students with the knowledge, tools and skills required to communicate better, think critically and develop digital fluency to prepare them for the careers and workplaces of the future. SFG is an ongoing programme.
YCF partnered with Intel to disseminate a curriculum, titled AI for Schools, on artificial intelligence for school students in four government schools--Shri Chennakeshava High School and Karnataka Public School, Uttarahalli in Bangalore Rural district and Adarsha Vidhyalaya and Government High School Darshanapur in Yadgir district. Led by a team of four facilitators and two coordinators, this programme focussed on teaching students the basic concepts of artificial intelligence towards inspiring them to come up with their own AI-inspired solutions for the problems they were witnessing in the cities and towns they came from.
YCF celebrated its tenth anniversary with a two-day conference with workshops and talks by experts such as Sandeep Anirudhan, Dr. S Sreekant, professor Sreedhara Murthy and Ajit Andagere, concluding with a light music performance by Vishwas Vasishta and Shlaghya Vasista.