TechWomen, an initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, aims to empower, connect, and support the next generation of women leaders in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The organization works with women from Africa, Central and South Asia, and the Middle East — providing them with the access and opportunity needed to advance their careers, pursue their dreams, and inspire women and girls in their communities. Through mentorship and exchange, TechWomen strengthens participants’ professional capacity, increases mutual understanding between key networks of professionals, and expands girls’ interest in STEM careers by exposing them to female role models.
This past March, 109 leaders from Africa, Central and South Asia, and the Middle East traveled to the San Francisco Bay Area for the 11th year of TechWomen’s professional mentorship and exchange program. While most of the participants’ time was spent working with their host companies, TechWomen also provides its leaders with the opportunity to engage with local initiatives and contribute to Bay Area communities.
In years past, CTN hosted TechWomen volunteers to help with digital literacy training events at our partner locations. This year, we were thrilled to reconnect with TechWomen to have some of their participants work with CTN learners at the Downtown Senior Center. Throughout the event, TechWomen’s leaders assisted older adults with tech and digital device–related support. Below, Madeeha Khan — one of TechWomen’s Emerging Leaders from Pakistan — shares her volunteer experience.
“There are some days in life which leave a long-lasting impact, which you can only feel and then you want to convey it to the world. During my TechWomen 2022 journey, I also had such a day — Volunteer Day at the Community Tech Network.
TechWomen offered us three options to volunteer, and I decided to go for Community Tech Network. My reason was to connect the legacy of the pre-millennial generation with technology, bridge the gap for them to walk into present times with ease, and be tech-savvy with no burden. I also wanted to learn how life could be when we had basic apps only and how pre-millennial generations cope with it.
Luckily, I connected with Mr. DY, a 79-year-old man with a young heart. He was full of travel stories — what an amazing life he has lived — and now he is enjoying his retirement time in San Francisco. DY is dealing with dementia, and he forgot the password for his emails. I was honored to help him reset his email password. I wrote it on a paper with some key hints for DY to remember. Also, I wrote the whole activity as a letter for DY so that it is easy for him to recall the passwords in the future, without compromising his email security. DY also asked me to teach him how to use the Viber app, and how to send multimedia texts.
Thank you, DY, for sharing your life journey with me. It was an amazing learning experience. Once again, thanks to TechWomen and Community Tech Network for honoring us with volunteer day.”
Many thanks to Madeeha and TechWomen for supporting the local San Francisco community with CTN!