Maker Keti: From Kathmandu to Dhading

 Gunjan spreads the #MakerKT spirit in Dhading and help them realise their inner Maker Keti

To expose yourself to learning new skills can be exciting, but at the same time can make you vulnerable and take you out of your comfort zone as well. During the electrical workshop, my second #MakerKT session, I remember being very anxious imagining my electric circuit to be faulty. Even after repeatedly experimenting with other tools and mediums, this feeling wouldn’t naturally dissipate. It was when I saw Sahani and Sushmita working together and supporting one another that made me remember the #MakerKT spirit in each one of us.

This made me go back to the vivid memory of the first #MakerKT session a year ago that I won’t forget: Vintuna would repeatedly encourage me not give up on my bookshelf and Kabita would help me use the hand saw when it got really difficult. This encouragement and support that Maker Ketis provide each other and the camaraderie that develops during the sessions is one of the most special aspect of #MakerKT. This is how a Maker Keti is truly empowered. When each supports one another and all grow together for a bigger purpose, then म सक्षम छु, हामी सक्षम छौ।

I hadn’t truly understood the mountains I’d been carrying inside me until I learnt to climb them during the #MakerKT sessions. The journey of transforming from a Keti to a Maker Keti has been one of the most empowering experiences for me. The built-in intimidation I had with experimenting with physical tools and mediums for creation and exploration gradually evaporated and I, strikingly, metamorphosed. The most important value that I still hold on to very dearly though, is the #MakerKT spirit that I carry with me wherever I go, spreading the can-do attitude however I can.

Post the #MakerKT workshops, I’ve had a very special experience in Dhading where I had a special encounter with the Maker Keti in me.

I work in the field of education which requires me to travel various districts of Nepal for teacher training programs. During one such teacher training program in Dhading, teacher of community schools were being trained to make their own big books with their original stories (mostly one liners and quite short for that matter). Two female teachers from Deurali Primary School decided to make a book about making things. The initial list they had of things that could be “made” were making watches and tables. They couldn’t, somehow, go beyond these ideas. So as we started discussing I asked them what they could’ve missed. I asked them again, hinting a little, of things they could’ve missed, things that require much effort but go unnoticed!

The teachers then discussed that cooking food, stitching clothes, repairing bicycles easily tops their lists. This slowly triggered a conversation about how things that women specifically do are just “done” and never really seen as a set of skills that develops over time. It was very powerful for me to witness how happy they were to see this their book complete. However I was happiest to have had a conversation with them regarding how cooking, stitching as well as repairing things were equally skillful tasks that requires so much hard work and effort. It was definitely something they had been thinking about but didn’t have a space and time to vocalize it.

This really made me think of the importance of decentralizing workshops like #MakerKT and taking them to other districts of Nepal too. The women there require such workshops! It would be more important for them as it would empower them in various levels either to just fix things at home or transforming skills into enterprises. This is not just about learning skills but also creating that space too. A group women coming together triggers conversations and creates a safe space for sharing experiences too. Such a space alone would be very powerful to create so that women, through their stories and experiences can also support and empower each other.

So it is not just a small group of ” सक्षम हामी” but a “हामी सबै सक्षम” dream that can be a reality. Perhaps this is the next step for #MakerKT?



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