In this edition, we feature Sunita Rai, a content marketer originally from a remote village in the hills of Nepal. Sunita’s journey to academic and professional success, with help from the WordPress community, will inspire many.
A strong desire to acquire knowledge
Schools first opened in Sunita’s village in the late 1970s, but most locals, including her parents, had neither the funds nor opportunities to complete their education. Over the years, they realized that an education could open doors for their children. Sunita’s parents vowed to ensure she received a full education, no matter the costs or hardships.
Her father worked as a seasonal laborer in India and ensured Sunita and her siblings could go to school with the proper supplies. Her mother cared for everything at home, both the family and the farm. Money was scarce, but determination was abundant.
To finish high school, Sunita moved in with her aunt in a nearby city. After graduation, she worked as a teacher. One of the biggest challenges was speaking and writing in English, a requirement for her first job teaching at a private English-language school. Her own education had used Nepali as the language of instruction. Fortunately, she enjoyed writing in English and became more fluent with practice. She discovered that she would always want a career where she could continue learning.
On top of a demanding teaching schedule, Sunita continued her studies at a college affiliated with Tribhuvan University. She knew that doing both would be difficult, but she wanted to be able to support her family while pursuing ambitious life and career goals. Earning a bachelor’s degree was a hugely motivating achievement that inspired her to begin a master’s degree in sociology.
Teaching for more than five years had been a full-time commitment, with hours of extra work at home. Preparing lessons, grading assignments, and handling exams made it difficult for her to find the time needed for her own studies. Sunita decided she needed more time for her coursework, so she left her teaching job and sought work that would allow her to focus on her studies while still earning money.
From teaching to writing to WordPress
After an extensive search, Sunita landed a content writing job at a successful WordPress development firm in Nepal. Her salary as a content writer wasn’t high, but it grew steadily over time. She would later gain some supplementary freelance work after presenting at a WordCamp. She was able to help support her family as she grew in her career, and now she could do more.
I’m fortunate to have had the education that gave me the capacity to aspire, get into a WordPress job, meet people from around the world, and tell my story!
Early in her career, especially in her early days with WordPress, Sunita benefited from the support of excellent mentors who played pivotal roles in her career development, nurturing her skills in content writing, SEO, and general confidence. Now, she has mentored other content writers and advocates for mentoring programs.
Sunita has engaged in WordCamps, sharing her wealth of knowledge and experiences. Her first WordCamp was WordCamp Nepal 2015, a pivotal moment where she connected with WordPress enthusiasts from various Nepalese and international companies. She experienced a welcoming environment that inspired her to become involved in the WordPress community.
At WordCamp Kathmandu in 2016, Sunita delivered a talk on SEO Copywriting for WordPress, marking a significant milestone in her journey. She later joined a panel discussion titled “Girls in WordPress – Story, Experience, Opportunity, and Career” at WordCamp Biratnagar 2018.
Most recently, Sunita helped organize speakers at WordCamp Kathmandu 2022 and 2023, and also spoke outside her home country at WordCamp Asia 2023 and WordCamp Sylhet, Bangladesh 2023. These events and her talks, helped her grow stronger connections within the global WordPress community and encourage more women speakers.
Translating WordPress and empowering others
Reading and writing in your own language is powerful. For Sunita, translation is crucial in bridging gaps and granting access to those with limited platforms to express and share their passions. When she discovered that she could translate WordPress into Nepali, she joined the many other volunteers on the Polyglots team.
“Translating WordPress to Nepali means empowering my people to access the freedom that WordPress provides.”
Sunita emphasizes that coding skills are not a prerequisite for contribution: “The potential impact you can have on the WordPress community is enormous, across areas from local meetups and WordCamps to testing and translating.”
She highlights her own experience as a potential path for others. “WordPress has had a profound impact on my life… the freedom to work on my own time, to be financially independent, and to overcome my inferiority complex.”
Her advice to anyone getting started with WordPress: “Get involved in the WordPress community and contribute as early as possible. By participating, you will better understand the project and its people, so you can advocate WordPress in a better way. It will offer you a sense of satisfaction or meaning as well as success in your career.”
Share the stories
Help share these open source contributor stories and grow the community. Meet more WordPressers in the People of WordPress series, or continue your own WordPress journey at Learn.WordPress.org
Thanks to Sunita Rai for sharing about her adventures in WordPress, and to Abha Thakor, Nalini Thakor, Pooja Derashri, Meher Bala, Nicholas Garofalo, Chloe Bringmann, Maja Loncar and Mary Baum for interviews, editorial, images, and reviews.
This People of WordPress feature is inspired by an essay originally published on HeroPress.com, a community initiative created by Topher DeRosia. It highlights people in the WordPress community who have overcome barriers and whose stories might otherwise go unheard. #HeroPress
Original source: https://wordpress.org/news/2024/02/people-of-wordpress-sunita-rai/