Ximena Prugue was outraged when she learned that a) 20 percent of the global population suffered from energy poverty and b) solar lanterns could be had for just $10 each. When she approached her sociology professor with these facts, he presented her with a simple solution: “Why don’t you do something about it?”
Prugue took that challenge and her nonprofit, Giving the Green Light, was born. At TEDxFIU this past November, she explained how a seemingly daunting task – get solar lanterns into the hands of those without access to electricity – was actually simple, though not necessarily easy.
She secured funding for the lights, found a local organization to partner with in India, and raised money for travel. In March 2011, Prugue and her best friend traveled to India and distributed 250 solar flashlights in three rural villages.
“Solar power won’t solve the world’s energy poverty problems,” Prugue admits, “but it’s a step in the right direction.”
Prugue is taking time off from the nonprofit to finish her studies, but she’s not done with it yet. The electrical engineering major has found a problem she’s passionate about – and she plans to solve it, and many others.
Watch her full TEDxFIU talk below:
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