WOW | People

Women to watch-2016

Sonika Manandhar

Computer Engineer, Microsoft Innovation Center Nepal / Founder, Gwahali for differently-abled people.

women-to-watch-Sonika-Manandhar

The hunger to keep innovating motivates Sonika Manandhar every day as she works to empower vision impaired individuals through her organisation, Gwahali. With a “JUST DO IT” attitude, Sonika has used much of her skills as Software Developer in Microsoft Education Nepal to run a computer lab for 10 visually challenged children partnering with NIBDA. Her organisation also helped 700 plus families of differently-abled people with sanitation and medical kit post earthquake.
Currently busy managing a project called SPARSHA which aims to make 10 visually challenged women economically independent through knitting skills, Sonika hopes to take her organisation Gwahali to greater heights in the future.

I am proud to be woman because…

We are pillars of strength and support to ourselves and the people around us.

women-to-watch-Sonika-Manandhar1Most significant barrier to female leadership

I do not believe that any challenges are unique to only women. We are at that stage of time where women and men both share similar challenges as well as opportunities. But then, there always is this hard situation for working women to keep balance between family and work life especially for those who are married. Managing time to get everything done can be a challenge. Out of my experience, not being taken seriously can be a significant barrier; well this also applies to the age factor and not just gender.

Woman of inspiration

My mother not only taught me to live an independent life but also showed me the path and gave me the environment to get to this point in my life. Next is Pushpa Basnet, CNN Hero. I love her dedication and commitment to ensure that no child grows up behind prison bars.

Biggest challenge for the next generation women

I think the biggest challenge would be time management in the fast paced life to find balance between family and career.

One act of change…

Vision Through Technology Lab. It has change people’s perception towards visually challenged individuals. People who usually cannot imagine a visually impaired person using computers can now witness how fluent and excellent they can be in computer skills, maybe even better than a sighted person. Well, the lab has made a positive impact to visually challenged children who are getting trained there. Hopefully, some will pursue their career in Information Technology (IT) and will rock the world with their brilliant digital skills.

Best advice you have ever been given

Be confident and stay focused.

Best part of being a woman…

The BEST part of being a woman is that we CREATE.