Indian youth-turned-mentor creates a ripple of empowerment
Nearly every day, Indian engineering student Lalitha Gade rides a public bus between home and college. The bus navigates through snarls of notoriously congested and dangerous traffic. If she is delayed—a common scenario—the 20-year-old’s mother calls. It’s no wonder that her mother worries. According to the World Health Organization, well over 200,000 people died in road accidents in India in a recent year, partly because of the country’s horrendous traffic.
“But in the case of school children, they don't carry mobile phones to school for their parents to check in on them,” Lalitha says. Enter TrackYaan, the app Lalitha created that allows parents to keep tabs on the location of their child’s bus—and put the brakes on worrying. Lalitha developed the tracker—from refining the concept to presenting to Microsoft executives and finally launching the free app—as part of her year-long engagement with the Women in Software Engineering (WISE) mentoring program. WISE is hosted by Microsoft India in collaboration with the youth career accelerator TalentSprint, and helps young women, especially those from rural backgrounds, develop the confidence and skills to succeed in the tech industry.
Once she began the mentorship program, she recognized the opportunity (and responsibility) to lift up others by sharing what she learned in WISE mentoring. The ripple effect she’s creating through peer coaching is empowering other young women to power positive change in their communities and their own lives.
Women in Software Engineering Mentoring