EmpowHER Cohort learns different unconventional skills from MakerKT (EmpowHER Diaries)

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Kathmandu, July 2, 2016: MakerKT, an organization working on sparking a maker culture among Nepali women and helping them learn various unconventional skills, trained the cohort of EmpowHER girls this Saturday to make lamps and developed the confidence in them to work with electricity.

Empowerment can happen in many ways. This particular EmpowHER session with Maker KT was conducted to design LED lamps from scratch, pushing the participants beyond their comfort zone imbuing new skill sets and learning. Exploring what we do not know and learning new thing is always a confidence booster, and at the end of session, we saw the faces of the participants glow in confidence like the bright lamps they made.

Ms. Priya Joshi, the founder and trainer at MakerKT, and her team conducted the session. Maker KT has actively been working to spark a maker culture among Nepali women so that they are empowered by the awareness of their abilities, eager to create things on their own and undaunted by the prospect of tool use.

As part of the session, the girls first sketched and designed the model of the lamp they were going to make. On the basis of that design, they made prototypes to check if it would really work. And, based on these prototypes, they proceeded to make the final product using the tools including scissors, cardboard, glue, soldering iron, LED strip lights, battery, and switch among others.

The programme taught the cohort to visualize and experience the whole process of designing and making of a lamp. “They had one idea while thinking and conceptualizing the project. But as they made prototypes, they checked if their design works or not and improving the work by making samples under the Think Make Lay Improve (TMLI) concept,” explained Joshi.

They made the connection of the LED Strip to the battery via wires (attached to Battery cap) and LED strip was lit in the process. They also got to learn about how a switch works in an electric circuit. Above all, the girls worked hard with sweating and hurrying to finish everything within the allocated timeframe.

A participant in the programme shared how her father was the only person working on such technical stuffs at her home and how she kept fearing seeing these objects, developing a feeling that electricity, wires and such objects shouldn’t be touched. “But, after working on the same for the whole day, the thought and fear is now gone. Now I feel like getting more trainings like this and be able to fix the stuffs on my own in my house,” she added.

Ms. Joshi, the instructor for the programme shares that girls in our society have never been encouraged to touch and work with wires and batteries. “Instead, fear has been input into their mind that they might get electric shocks in the process. But, in today’s session, they experienced the process,” she said. “In this session, they learnt about how to solder, the thing they had probably never done before and developed a thought that soldering is an easy work unlike what they used to believe earlier. Today’s session tends to develop a feeling in them that they can now proceed further like drilling and other works.”

“When you realize that something you believed hard and complicated to be so simple, it develops a feeling into you to realize that you can do many other things too. It takes all your fear out. Doing things you never thought to be possible instills new energy in you,” Joshi further said.

The process taught the girls with Do It Yourself (DIY) concept.

In the end of the session, instructor Joshi discussed with the girls about MakerKT Principle; WWW (what went well this time) and EBI (even better it the next time).

Moreover, the day also saw a session on professional etiquette conducted by Amuda Mishra, the initiator of the programme EmpowHER; the session taught the girls about the professionalism and corporate turnaround.

Pic. The cohort of girls busy making the lamps
Pic. The cohort of girls busy making the lamps

The programme was organized as part of the 14-weeks long training session of EmpowHER and was fifth in the series. Started in the year 2015 with a belief that empowered women will empower society as a whole, the programme provides a platform for women to exude their ideas, exercise leadership, and contribute as an effective member to the community. EmpowHER seeks to ensure that the aspiring women leaders will be exposed to innovative learning through various trainings in leadership, networking, mentorship, and designing and implementing projects that help other marginalized women ultimately create a society where all the women are empowered.

Photos Courtesy: Ujyalo Foundation

By Basanta Kumar Dhakal

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