The Pollinate Energy Fellowship Program has been an integral part of our development and growth since our launch in 2012, and in May of 2019, we will reach a milestone of 50 Programs delivered across India! Our global Fellowship Alumni community is over 500 strong spread across 5 continents, and as we approach our 50th Program we will be featuring some reflective blogs authored by some of our Alumni.
Our first contributor is Naomi Hudson.
In November 2016 I attended the Pollinate Energy Fellowship Program, in Lucknow, India. Going into it I think the main question I wanted answering was should I do a Masters, specifically one focusing on the environment and sustainability. Little did I know at the time that it would solve many more questions, as well as bringing me to where I am now in life.
I had been to India a couple of times before, but Lucknow was a city I had never been too. So although there wasn’t really the culture shock, there was definitely excitement mixed with apprehension when I first arrived. While I had met the five other international fellows and the two city-leaders on Skype, it was actually the first time I was going to meet them!! Luckily it went swimmingly, and for the next 4 weeks, we spent pretty much every living moment with one another. This might sound terrible to some, but it was actually phenomenal. I think that was one of the first things I realised while I was over there. Although we had different backgrounds, culturally and educationally, we had similar interests, so, conversations and friendships just developed and formed very easily.
For the next four weeks, we worked with the local Indian fellows, conducting surveys within the communities. Due to Lucknow being the newest city for Pollinate Energy to develop, we were still assessing which communities would be ideal to sell Pollinate Energy’s products in. For us, that was incredible as we had direct exposure to Pollinate Energy potential clients and the way they lived. The language barrier was obviously a challenge for us international fellows, but through body language, gesture and having the local fellows, we were able to interact. One day we even played cricket with a group of the kids, which was phenomenal! This just reinforced that no matter what language or culture you come from; you can always engage and put a smile on someone’s face.
By the time the program was coming to an end, I had already answered my initial question, whether I wanted to do a Masters. The answer was yes, but that wasn’t the largest takeaway. I think the entire experience confirmed to me that when I do enter the workforce, I want to be making a positive impact. Whether this is through working with another social enterprise, or ensuring that whatever I do will either help the environment or society to become a better place.
Two years on and I’m now in my last year of my Masters, which I must admit is a mixture of excitement but also apprehension. I’m studying a Masters of Environments, focusing specifically on sustainable business and food systems. The Master’s environment is very similar to the fellowship program, where the students come from varying backgrounds and want to have a positive impact or solve one of the growing issues the world faces.
It’s a great environment to thrive in, with people expressing their own personal experiences and opinions, but enabling these to be challenged in a positive manner. Although, I still don’t know entirely know what I want to do when I’ve finished studying I think one very important thing that Pollinate Energy has taught is whatever you do, do it with purpose and with an open mind.