NetHope Academy Haiti – Graduate of the Internship program 2010/2011 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Lisa Obranovich (left) with Emmanuella Stimphat
Emmanuella graduated in March 2011 from the NetHope Academy Internship Program in Haiti and is now working as an IT professional for a non-profit organization in Haiti. Her story was featured in a video about NetHope Academy. Watch the video »
“Emmanuella Stimphat is one of a few special women I’ve come to know through the NetHope Academy program in Haiti. She may not yet know it, but she is a real role model for thousands of young Haitian women,” says Lisa Obranovich, Project Manager for NetHope Academy Haiti. Lisa met Emmanuella in 2011 and was so impressed by Emmanuella, that she wrote the following profile.
“Emmanuella grew up with her five brothers and sisters in a Port-au-Prince neighborhood called Bourdon. She was a quick learner and loved school. Her parents and siblings encouraged her to explore a career in technology. They saw it as a natural extension of the graphic design work she loved doing. Emmanuella would often ask her friends to send her pictures of their loved ones so she could create collages for them. She enjoyed this so much that she started a small business that generated a few orders a week.
After high school many Haitian girls attend a secretarial school. Emmanuella considered this option, but then decided to pursue a computer science degree at a top university, the Ecole Supérieure d´Infotronique d´Haïti.
In January 2010 a magnitude 7 earthquake shook Haiti. Emmanuella’s family’s home crumbled and her mother was severely injured. Her mother never recovered from her injuries and died only two weeks after the earthquake. Emmanuella’s school, Ecole Supérieure d´Infotronique d´Haïti, was destroyed in the quake and the semester abruptly came to an end. To escape the chaos and dire living conditions, Emmanuella and the rest of her family went to stay with an aunt in Florida.
Emmanuella missed her country, and decided it was time to return home in June 2010. While she still was not able to continue her Masters studies, another opportunity caught her interest upon her return to Haiti – the NetHope Academy Internship Program. Emmanuella was immediately drawn to this six month IT training program and filled out an online application to participate. The top 80 out of 300 applicants were invited to take a technical assessment and to interviews with IT managers working at some of the world’s largest humanitarian organizations. Only 36 people were selected to fill paid internship slots in 14 NGO IT departments. Emmanuella was one of the few female candidates who scored well and who came highly recommended by her interviewer as someone who would, “be perfect for the program.” Overcoming long odds, Emmanuella was accepted into this coveted program.
Emmanuella is now working for Save the Children’s IT department in Port au Prince and embraces every day of her real world IT experience. At first, people in the office were shocked at how young she appeared to be and told her they weren’t used to having a women help with their technical problems. It didn’t take long for her colleagues to realize that despite appearances, Emmanuella has no problem resolving their computer and printer issues. Emmanuella knew it was important to build her colleagues’ trust right away and always volunteers to solve any problems that come up. The staff has made her feel welcome from day one, and she loves to laugh and share lunch with them every day. Emmanuella summed it up best when she said, “I think they love me here. I love them too.”
Emmanuella is now working for Inveneo, an NGO in Port-au-Prince.
Emmanuella doesn’t want to stop here. She is studying for her Windows 7 certification which she hopes to achieve after her graduation from the internship program. She comes into the office on Saturdays to get a tutorial from her coworker who is taking the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) course. Emmanuella feels inspired to share her knowledge and looks forward to getting involved with a program to help younger girls learn more about the world of IT.
Emmanuella is confident and driven. I have faith that she will reach her goal of becoming an IT Manager five years from now. She is just one example of what young women in Haiti can achieve when given the opportunity. Thanks to Microsoft, Cisco, Accenture and Voila Foundation, Emmanuella and others like her are getting a chance.”
After her graduation from the NetHope Academy Internship program, Emmanuella started working for Inveneo, a non profit social enterprise whose mission is to connect and empower rural and underserved communities in the developing world with information and communications technologies.
Written by Lisa Obradovich – 1/12/2011