Spotlight on a 2011 LEADer, Menuka: “Women LEAD gave a new direction to my life”

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Written by Bidushi Adhikari, Women LEAD Intern.

Menuka Gurung is one of the many examples of women who attribute much of their treasured experiences and goal realization to Women LEAD. Menuka currently studies Management with an emphasis on International Business at the Webster University in Thailand.

“I want to study international business and social work in the future because I want to become a social entrepreneur in the future,” she says. Menuka was a part of the Social Entrepreneur Group in 2011 of Women LEAD. “Starting my own business is my dream,” she says, “and doing social work is a passion I gained from Women LEAD.”

Menuka described herself to be a little money-minded early in high school. However, joining Women LEAD gave her a sense of community service and solidified the direction she wanted to take in life. She says, “And after joining Women LEAD I realized that there are things beyond money. Claire came all the way from the States for the development of women in Nepal. And I just felt like this is my country, and I should be doing something for it too. I became more conscious about my society. Women LEAD gave a new direction to my life.”

Through the various training programs that Menuka attended, she acquired a wide range of skills and personal characteristics, like “time management, public speaking, listening, more confidence, optimism, mentoring, and even empathy,” that have been useful to her. As leadership is the focus of much of the training that goes on at Women LEAD, Menuka now feels that “I can take any leadership position because of Women LEAD. I was given responsibility. People there trust you and give you opportunity to grow and learn from mistakes. People at Women LEAD thought that I was very positive, although I never felt that. During my gap year I tried to think positive about life, and now I feel a lot more optimistic.” With confidence, she adds, “I know how to set my goals and how to achieve them.”

After attending the training programs, Menuka worked as a paid intern, 25 hours a week, representing Women LEAD in various events, helping to recruit members for the training programs, and writing for the blog. Throughout her internship, Menuka appreciated the kind of support the staff at Women Lead gave her, describing them as “professionals at times and friends at times. They welcome you with sweet smiles, and you get the feeling of family while you work there.” She added, “Now I know that if I have any problems, I can rely on Claire N. and Claire C.”

Menuka says that her high school became as enjoyable as it was because of Women LEAD. She says some of her happiest memories are from the time she spent there. “When I was a fellow social entrepreneur at Women LEAD, we decided to make frames and sell them in the closing ceremony of a school leadership program. We had less manpower than we expected, so I was the only one selling them. Most of my friends were busy with other things, and I asked my other friends to help. People thought I couldn’t make it, but I did! After all the effort, we succeeded!”

Menuka is happy with the kind of work Women LEAD has done, but she says that Women LEAD gets lots of suggestions about how they could be training Bachelor students too. “I think we should try to make it bigger by extending our program with other groups too. And if we could do other activities outside the Kathmandu Valley, it would be really good.” After University, Menuka does plan to come back to Nepal, and if possible, be a part of Women LEAD once more!

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