Teaching basic computer skills to women in Nepal

May 25, 2024

Mastering the laptop: In our report from Nepal, we show how we teach young women important computer skills for their job applications and internships as part of the Akasha Traineeship.

The young women of the third Akasha Traineeship cohort have already covered most of their 10-month orientation program. In the last months, they have learned a lot about job orientation, health, societal and environmental topics with growing confidence to become change-makers in their communities.   

As part of the job orientation, an intensive computer literacy course helps the students gain basic computer skills, including Microsoft Word proficiency, CV and cover letter writing. 

For some of the students, it is the first time working with a computer. Starting out with some unrealistic expectations and some misunderstandings, the course wasn’t devoid of funny moments and surprises, which we are happy to share with you in this blog.

Having successfully finished this course, the students are now ready to send out their first CVs and cover letters to apply for an internship, which is the next step of the Akasha Traineeship.

Using a laptop for the first time

This year’s students are the youngest group of Trainees so far. All students are 17-18 years old. Due to this, most do not speak English fluently yet. For most of them, the course was also the first opportunity to ever use a laptop.

The lack of experience however didn’t stop them to have high hopes for the program. When the students were asked about their expectations and desired learning outcomes, they also mentioned “programming an app” and “hacking”.

Luckily, we agreed to start with something a bit simpler: the first goal for everyone would be to create a CV and cover letter. Additionally, we would also learn how to write professional emails.

Overcoming challenges, embracing success

The course started with the students learning how to use the hardware of a laptop, how to navigate a Windows system, and how to create files and folders. Afterwards we immediately dove into MS Word, where some of them typed in English for the first time. The students were quite shy in the beginning but opened a lot and gained more confidence throughout the course. They became very interactive and asked a lot of questions. On the way to their final CV and cover letters, one or the other challenge had to be mastered: Despite energy supply in Nepal having stabilized a lot throughout the last years, every now and then power blackouts disturbed the class. But with a bit of improvisation, this was easily overcome.

What also presented some struggles in the beginning was that schools in Nepal rarely teach pupils how to analyze or to draw their own conclusions. So, when first starting to work on the CV, the students were asked to find a template. This resulted in the “hobbies” being listed first and almost everyone having the same soft skills such as “mass communication” or “teaching skills”. Therefore, some work was necessary to find out and highlight their true strengths to make their CV unique and attractive.

The biggest challenge for the students altogether was to express their motivation for a certain position or company at the start of the cover letter. It needed many sensitive questions to get to the point where they understood their inner drive to apply for this position. But once the motivation became clear, it was great to see the enthusiasm and inspiration start radiating from the students.

As the course was held in English, some translations were needed from a teaching assistant who once graduated from the Traineeship herself. But the language barrier also created some funny moments. For example, when words like “passionate” or “emperor” were used in the application when actually “patient” and “empowering” were meant.

Inspiring Change: Voices from the Cohort

All in all, the students were very inspired by the course. They had been surprised about the importance of putting thought into an individualized document and mentioned that what they had learned was very useful for their future life. Hear some students express their gratitude and learnings from the course:
“Your insights and advice have been incredibly valuable, and I am grateful for your generosity in sharing your time and knowledge with us.” [Aakriti R.]
“Computer class is very enjoyful for us. We learnt how to create files and CV, how to write cover letter. Computer class is very useful for us.” [Karuna BK]
With CVs and cover letters in their hands, the next phase for the students involves securing an internship aligned with their interests and career aspirations. For most of the students, this will be their first time sending an application and gaining work experience in a professional setting.

Join us in empowering young women in Nepal

While this cohort is soon about to finish their Traineeship and to embark on their next step in life, the fourth year of the program will welcome new students. With only 54 Euros, you can provide a month’s scholarship for one student – with 540 Euros the whole Traineeship program can be offered for free for one woman from a marginalized background.

We are happy if you decide to support the transformation of young women’s lives through the Freedom of Choice Education Fund.

Thank you! Dhanyabad!