Gen Y and finding meaning in work: 21 year old engineering student distributes solar lights in India

By Bhavani Prakash

During my interactions with senior managers in various companies, I often hear the comment, “Gen Y wants to do things that are meaningful.”

Time Magazine in 2007 wrote in “What Gen Y Really Wants” For these new 20-something workers, the line between work and home doesn’t really exist. They just want to spend their time in meaningful and useful ways, no matter where they are.

Ximena Prugue Courtesy: TreeHugger

Here’s a recent example of how a 21 year old mechanical engineer from Miami, Florida wants to solve the problem of rural lighting in India.  Before her venture into India, Ximena Prugue, had no prior knowledge of the country, let alone the challenges of infrastructure there, fundraising or procedural hassles in setting up a nonprofit organisation.

Undaunted, she set up the NGO, Giving the Green Light and with a grant from Clinton Global Initiative,  travelled to India and distributed solar flashlights in its villages. She also won the 2011 UNEP/TreeHugger blogging competition on the effects of deforestation in India.

Ximena Prague perceives the lack of electricity to be a key impediment for rural people in India to come out of poverty. According to Giving the Green Light:

“Kerosene is responsible for 244 million tons of CO2 released into the atmosphere each year. Simply replacing one kerosene lamp with a solar-powered lamp can save 1 ton of CO2 over five years. By replacing kerosene lamps with 10,000 solar-powered lamps, we will be saving 2,000 tons of CO2 over a year alone. Without the toxic fumes from kerosene, families will be healthier, more productive, and therefore, prosperous.”

Giving the Green Light: India 2011 from Ximena Prugue on Vimeo.

Prugue says in the Grist article featuring her:

“...I want to be the type of engineer that designs products that you can implement into developing countries to solve all sorts of problems.”

“It doesn’t come easy. It definitely doesn’t come easy,” she says. “But if you work hard and you are really doing it with genuine good intentions — you’re not doing it because you just want to put it on your resume and get into a good college — it will come. It will happen. I believe in positive energy, and that that energy will come back to you, and all the karma will work out. And I really hope that other young people try to change the world too, because I feel that that is where the change is going to come from.”

Now that’s a bit of solid advice for Gen Y!

 

About the writer:

Bhavani Prakash is a recruiter, writer, trainer, speaker and coach in the environmental/sustainability sector. She was an ex-finance/economics professional who has gravitated towards the sustainability domain in which she finds much meaning and purpose. She is the Founder of Green Collar Asia.com, a resource website for green professionals and also the public advocacy website Eco WALK the Talk.com

To contact Green Collar Asia, please see Contact Us

 

 

Further links you may be interested in: 

The Weekend Leader: Two IITians sowing change in Bihar’s farmlands

Comments

  1. Thanks for the mention! :)

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  1. […] who say ‘this is the kind of work that I want to be doing.’  We know that particularly in Gen Y, people are looking for meaning, and they are not just about money. So as we look to the future and consider, “Where are the […]

  2. […] who say ‘this is the kind of work that I want to be doing.’  We know that particularly in Gen Y, people are looking for meaning, and they are not just about money. So as we look to the future and consider, “Where are the […]

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