Dreaming the Dreams of Others!

A story of a dreamer is always an intriguing one when the story leads to aspiring changes in the world. Pratikshya Pandey is one of such dreamers who dreams for her society, her country and the whole world which stands upon the foundations of stereotypes.

Pratikshya Pandey, Founder and CEO, Smart Cheli

Electronics and Communications Engineer by profession and CEO of Smart Cheli, Pratikshya Pandey is one of the youngest aspiring social entrepreneurs in Nepal with national and international recognition. She is currently invested in her projects at Smart Cheli that aim to provide technical knowledge and skills among young girls in Nepal. Introduced as a “Female Led Social Enterprise”, Smart Cheli is an organization founded by Pratikshya in 2020 that aspires to create gender balance in STEM. They are currently bringing in young girls aged 10–19 to STEM through mentorship and training programs.

We have initiated SMART CHELI to decrease the prevailing gender gap in the STEM field in Nepal. Our aim is to enhance critical thinking, cultivate imaginations and develop problem-solving skills among young girls so that it would become easier for them to get an exposure in Technology and Technology-based sectors,” she says.

She has received international recognition for being a mentor in the “1000 girls, 1000 futures” program of New York Academy of Science. She has also been recognized by the Power of Radiance Awards in 2020 for her contribution towards girls education. Her organization Smart Cheli was also shortlisted for Top 5 Global Initiatives for “Inspiring Women in Science Award” under Sciences Outreach Category in Nature Research Award.

Smart Cheli was shortlisted for Top 5 Global Initiatives for “Inspiring Women in Science Award” under Sciences Outreach Category in Nature Research Award.

Her success story as an entrepreneur and an engineer is an inspiring one to many young girls. But what’s more inspiring is her journey to being what she is today, and it all starts from her childhood, which was colored, not with colors but with numbers.

“I have always been passionate about Mathematics since my early childhood. I have always loved Logics and Calculations; it makes me feel lively.”

Despite her passion for Maths, she still had her doubts regarding career choices during high school. However, a bit of exploration and constant family support made her realize her potential that led her to start a career in engineering.

Like every girl at an engineering college, Pratikshya’s undergrad started with a FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). The dominance of male peers affected her during her initial days and she could not run at her regular pace among the crowd. But it didn’t take her long to carry herself up to becoming what she has always been, and that’s when she started cultivating the idea of inspiring young girls at an early age to develop technical skills.

“One of the biggest inspirations for me to start Smart Cheli was my own journey at an engineering college. Yes, we do the same things that boys do but how we are judged upon our gender on the basis of Boys:Girls ratio at engineering colleges is very sensitive and it’s high time we start addressing this issue from its root.”

Pratikshya believes that while we are all trying to change these gender-based stereotypes, we only see women trying to mend the system whereas we’re leaving men out of the equation, which is an integral part that needs to be addressed from their young age itself. “We will see a significant change only when we have both men and women standing up for the same issue at the same time with the same mentality and the same background.”

She has always been a strong personality endorsing women’s empowerment in actions. She shares the story of her journey at her organization as the biggest success of her life:

“During our first mentorship cohort at Smart Cheli, we started with the basics of digital literacy. We first started with a few public schools where a lot of girls even feared turning on the computers. Today, the same girls do a lot of computations, know all the fundamentals, and some can even write computer programs!. Seeing these girls having fun and thriving in their learning journey gives me the biggest joy and feels like the biggest achievement of my life.”

Pratikshya is a dreamer who dreams the dreams of others and that’s what makes her different from everybody else. Despite all her successes, she still considers herself a naïve learner exploring herself and the world around her every moment to find what irks her and wake up every day with a solution to those problems.

She is definitely a woman who inspires every other person around her. NWiC is proud to share this story and we believe that it helps you believe in yourself today and every day.

This article was written by Ojashwi Sharma, a member of Nepali Women in Computing for Nepali Women in Computing — CELEBRATE.

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Nepali Women in Computing

Nepali Women in Computing

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Nepali Women in Computing (NWiC) is one of AnitaB Systers Affinity Groups and was founded in November 2019 to support Nepali women in tech.