Pauline Laravoire
Y - East

January 2021

Creating a sustainable ecosystem in Eastern India

- An interview with Ms. Pauline Laravoire, Founder of Y-East

Pauline Laravoire has always been dedicated towards creating positive social and environmental impact in her life. She believed that in order to create any meaningful change, she sought it important to be part of a network that was focusing on impact. After travelling the world and deciding that she wanted to finally take initiative, she found herself in Kolkata, India, where she is now the Founder of Y-East. The concept of Y-East is an aggregating platform for these existing NGOs and non-profit organisations dedicated towards the field of sustainability and the SDGs. The intention of Y-East is to connect such organisations and see the best practices they are doing in order to create collaborative opportunities between them.

“In your lifetime, you will get to work for a total of 80,000 hours, give or take. This is a huge amount of time! I decided to direct and dedicate most of this time towards creating positive social impact.”

Here is a recent video on Y-East’s #5secondswhy campaign:

The organization currently has two local chapters, one in Kolkata and the other in Darjeeling. They have set up offline and online tools for budding organisations and NGOs to meet-up, collaborate and share ideas. Y-East has also undertaken numerous projects that have an direct social impact. These include 'The River Rangers' and 'MyTreeBute'. Their intention is to primarily focus on SDG 17, partnerships. 

The challenges Pauline has faced is both at a personal and a professional level. On the professional front, there was the challenge of creating a community by itself. In order to engage a set of organisations that have their own habits, characteristics and individual agendas, it is important to convey what your community is giving to them. Only this way, one can make strong connections and partnerships. On the personal level, there was the challenge of language and cultural relevance. While she is still starting to gain a grasp of the Hindi and Bengali, Pauline realizes the importance of language as a tool to communicate and interact with a community of people she is trying to build.

Y-East have also recently launched an E-learning platform where they create and upload courses related to sustainability. This is with the intention to deliver on one of their core goals; providing quality education. Pauline dreams that Y-East would one day expand to other regions of India, such as the North, West and Southern.

“In this decade of action (2020 to 2030), we have to gather masses to move faster and accelerate the process of advocacy and impact for sustainability.”

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Pauline’s advice to the youth and future social entrepreneurs and innovators is to always take pieces of advice with a pinch of salt. A piece of advice from an individual doesn’t mean that it’s a norm that it applies to you. You have to have to listen to your own heart and follow what you believe is best for yourself. Her peers thought that she was a little too crazy to move to India and start a new life there. However, she invites and strongly advises everyone to find their own adventure.

Click here, to visit the Y-East website and learn more about their partnerships, projects and the ecosystem they have built. Feel free to reach out to Y-East at contact@y-east.org for collaborative opportunities.