Gunakeshari Pradhan Manandhar, a former Director of Nepal Telecom also Nepal’s first female computer engineer, served the nation for 30 years working as a computer engineer in Nepal Telecom.
One of the inspiring women from Nepal recalls her simple childhood in Tahiti, Bhaktapur. She has always been driven by her passion to work in the technical field. Early in her career, her realization that she had to pursue something she’s keen about got her into the field of Computing.
Studying in Abroad
After finishing her SLC, she joined architecture engineering at Pulchowk Engineering Campus. Though it was not the domain of her interest, she continued to work harder, but one thing she was sure of was that she didn’t enjoy what she was learning. She later decided to join IAC (+2). Meanwhile, she earned a Master’s Scholarship in Science and Computer Engineering in USSR, Ukraine. She was the only female among the other eight men. When she flew to Ukraine for her higher study, she was awaited by a different world, a different culture, people, lifestyles, and many more. But one thing that kept her going was her faith in herself and a passion for learning new things. Studying in Ukraine taught her to live a financially independent life, she learned to manage her basic needs with the financial aid provided by the college to the scholarship holder. She enjoyed her learning and gave her best to pursue her dream.
Returning Back to Nepal & Telecom
After graduating from the USSR, she returned to Nepal where she went to the National Computer Center for a work interview with one of her fellow graduates. They waited for an hour to be called by the GM, and when they were tired of waiting, they decided to visit their seniors who were working at Nepal Telecom. When they entered the office, they were asked by the receptionist who they were. After learning they’re Ukrainian computer graduates, she instantly insisted they should reach their GM. They were offered to work in the company after their meeting with the GM, and they joined the company the next day. They were the first company to work on a microcomputer, and her team developed a computerized billing system. They faced some criticism from the locals when they launched the software in the market, saying manual work was more effective than a computer. But they knew what they were doing, they worked in the system constantly and now we can see the result. They also introduced the prepaid system, which was the turning point for the Nepalese technological voyage, when she was promoted to the Director. Many of us are familiar with the endless line of people in the Telecom office waiting for their turn. Yes, she was one of the people who enabled customization of the communication system today.
Guna Keshari Pradhan is also the president of Women in Information Technology, a non-profit organization that seeks to promote and encourage women in technical fields. She is an advisor in the CAN Committee Women in IT organization. She is also an executive member of CAN and Chairperson of CAN Committee ICT for Rural Development. Being retired, she is actively involved in various campaigns and engages with many young crowds. She finds joy in encouraging new people in IT. She and her team are visiting various schools and colleges teaching about how technology is made for everyone regardless of gender.
“You have to have that courage to stand for your passion, don’t just wait for someone to talk for you and your work, you need to learn how to promote yourself.” – Gunakeshari Pradhan Manandhar, Nepal’s First Female Computer Engineer.
About the Author
Trija Thebe is a final-year student of Bsc Hons Computing in Itahari International College at Sundar Dulari, Morang. An intern in the IT Department at her college. She has her keen interest in Web Designing. Besides this, she is also interested in business and entrepreneurship. She believes sharing one’s knowledge and experience to another is a key to change society.
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