What really impressed me when I met Saroj Maharjan was his enthusiasm when he was talking about his job and his involvement in developer communities in Nepal. I also learned from him that shaking your head means “yes” for Nepalese, which can lead to very strange and funny things if you are not aware of that.
I don’t know what Nepal makes you think of, but for me before going there it was synonyme of trekking, mountains, and a rather poor country. When I was talking about my project to meet tech communities in Asia, and in Nepal especially, almost everybody asked me: “really? But, are there developers there????”.
Indeed there are! And today I want you to meet Saroj, the first contact I had before heading to Kathmandu, and the first developer I met after I arrived there. He is a software engineer, an entrepreneur and a very active member of the Nepalese tech scene.
Binita Shrestha is currently studying for a bachelor degree in engineering in Information Technology and Software in Kathmandu, Nepal, with a particular interest for Android development.
But that is not all, after noticing a very low representation of women in technology and science she went on to found the group Women In STEM Nepal, to encourage and promote young girls in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
We met during a STEM event where I was invited to share my experience in tech with a panel of participants. Hard to not see that this woman is a natural leader, and an inspiring woman. Besides, she won a award from EmpowHER 2015 as a “Young Aspiring Woman Leaders!“, for her involvement in Girls in STEM.
She is making her dreams come true, and In my eyes she represents an example to follow for all students and a role model for all women in tech.
During my stay in Kuala Lumpur I met the team behind Women Who Code KL an international initiative dedicated to inspiring women to excel in technology careers.
We had dinner in a nice Malay restaurant, a perfect place to discover Malaysian food, share our experiences as developers and talk about the IT ecosystem in Malaysia and France.
I let you discover below some insights about IT with Lydia, Jecelyn and Chee, all Malaysian software developers working in Kuala Lumpur.
I am not really a big fan of facebook, but I must admit that this tool turns out to be very useful for my trip to meet new people and stay in touch! So no surprise here, the first contact I had with Rojina Bajracharya, was thanks to Facebook. After chatting on fb, she spontaneously invited me in her family in Bhaktapur to celebrate Christmas. That is how on Christmas eve, I met with Rojina, a node.js developer at Zyoba Labs. In addition to being generous and always enthusiastic, Rojina impressed me by her involvement in Nepal to encourage women in programming. She is indeed one of the co-founder of the community Girls in Technology. And her passion and involvement have not gone unnoticed, since she won a Toptal scholarship for women developers.
Finding developers communities in Malaysia was not so easy, and especially women communities. There are some, like Women Who Code, Rails Girls and also Gorgeous Geeks. So I was very happy to meet Jellene.
I met Jellene, a Ruby developer living in Petaling Jaya near Kuala Lumpur, at the bar of my youth hostel in KL. I didn’t know what to expect, since even after exchanging a few emails before my arrival in Malaysia, her avatar on gmail and twitter was a kind of pixelized woman warrior, out of video games from the 80’s.
In real life, Jellene doesn’t carry any weapons and armor but she is the kind of woman who definitively inspires you: determined, involved and passionate, but also an artist and musician in a band. A nowadays woman warrior.