In honor of International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we were inspired to share the story of a group of Teach For Nepal alumni who are working to encourage girls’ interest in and excitement about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) subjects and potential careers. In response to stark statistics both globally and locally about the underrepresentation of women in STEM-related fields, Astha Khatri, Milan Kumar Sardar Tharu, Shina Shrestha, and Richa Neupane were motivated to introduce more female students to hands-on experiences with science and technology and expand their thinking about future career paths.
Building on the success of Udeshya: Girls in STEM, a three-day workshop that they piloted in July, the four alumni organized a week-long residential STEM “bootcamp” in Kathmandu this fall. Developed in partnership with UNESCO and with the support of several Teach For Nepal partner schools, Udeshya II brought together 20 girls aged 10-15 from schools across six districts outside of the capital for an immersive STEM skill-building and leadership development experience.
The week began with a focus on the girls getting to know each other and make connections between their own lives and the world beyond their communities. The alumni planned games and activities to build the students’ comfort with one another and confidence in voicing their ideas and opinions. Teach For Nepal's Science Curriculum Development Manager Hom B Thapa, who is also an alumnus, worked closely with the team to design science and technology learning experiences that were both informative and fun. Over the course of the seven days, the girls observed STEM professionals in action at two community- and civic-minded technology initiatives; gained new skills in internet research and email communication; experimented with circuit boards, robotics, and other technologies; and considered how science can help solve real-world problems.