#MakerKT wants 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
In most parts of the world there are numerous things that girls are discouraged from doing. Using tools are among those things. Girls grow up assuming that these are things they are not able to do but the moment they pick up and use the very tool they were told they were incapable of using something special happens: their preconceived notions crumble and a new self-realisation dawns.
It is moments like these they also begin to challenge other notions of what a keti (girl) has been told she cannot do. They begin to realise that they are capable of more than what they thought and what culture dictates of them. This is what makes the simple acts of making and tinkering such powerful tools for female activism and empowerment.
Thus it is important to spark this maker culture among Nepali girls. Teach them to make, to question, to ask ‘why’/‘how come’. To tinker and to play is a revolutionary act. It cultivates in them a belief in their own abilities and opens their eyes to possibilities. But there are also practical results. This change in attitude, combined with the skills in tools use, promotes entrepreneurship. These are changes that we have witnessed in the programs we have conducted.
The community of girls who ‘make’ also provides a novel way of association among Nepali girls. By offering a new social circle – that is not bound by the same cultural conventions as family, friends and school – we provide ketis an environment to teach each other the tools and tactics of affecting change. It is inevitable that each new keti will arrive limited by the existing stereotype of Nepali keti. But past history indicates they will leave changed.
Seeing other girls making stuff and tinkering around will inspire other girls to do the same and be empowered by their own capability. With the growing community of empowered, independent ketis, we are excited by the potential societal, economic and political impact these maker ketis will create in Nepal!
Who is a ‘maker’?
There’s a cultural hierarchy globally about what ‘making’ is and who is an actual ‘maker’. Only using power tools to make things, traditionally masculine activities, are usually perceived as actual ‘making’. But at #MakerKT, a ‘maker’ is anyone who makes something. Instead of being a passive consumer or user, they create and build.
By this definition, even our mothers, grandmothers and the generations of women before are also ‘makers’. They made us dresses and knitted us sweaters. They made jams and pickled aachar and decorated the living room with pillow covers and detailed crochet doilies. This kind of making for us is as important as making cupboards, mobile apps or metal grills. It’s an empowering feeling, this reclamation of the ‘maker’ concept. Add to that the rush you get after you first use a power tool, and you feel pretty much invincible.