My Mozilla Story !

I'm writing this on the 27th of Feb '16. Two years ago from today, there were three people in a university named, Sir MVIT. Two guys and a girl.

Open source enthusiasts, all of them. They found out about this new happening thing called the "Firefox Student Ambassadors" programme. " Wow !", they thought. "Ambassador" was sure a fancy term for a student ;) Within no time they registered and followed the next steps and set up a club in their campus. A few months later, both the guys graduate and pass out of the campus. The club's sole responsibility now rested upon this short, little "girl". Initially, she thought, "It's not my cup of tea to bring up this club, I want some guy to help me out". But she remained silent for a while and let the club's inactivity prevail !

Being the tech and open source lover she was, it was hard for her to let go of the club, that too, the only reason for it being, there was no one else, but her ! She regularly used to attend many technical conferences and hackathons and had this keen eye towards the women behind these kinds of tech events, be it the speaker, organising lead or anyone else. She was really inspired by all of those people and finally understood, that it's just a matter of how we think and where we position ourselves in the society.

She made up her mind to start off at one point. Although, there were a lot of obstacles in her way, like, being ignored or not being taken seriously by the management of the campus just because she was a female and they did not trust females with handling such big tasks. She overcame all these by giving stern examples and laying out her perfectly planned goals towards open source and the change she wished to bring in the minds of the students of the campus, especially girls !

There she was, 6 months later, hosting a maker party in her very own campus. :) She invited a rep from her region, Jafar Muhammed to host the session. Success ! The audience did three cheers at the end of the session, probably because they learnt a lot from it.

She also used to constantly ask for help, to a spread out base of other Mozillians, some reps, some FSAs and some anonymous people from the far away coast on an IRC. (I have a strong feeling that she also bugged a few of them). Nevertheless, she figured her way to the the contribution pathways and how she could help spread the word and teach the open web to her fellow students.

After the successful maker party, there were already a bunch of other people in the campus, inspired and motivated to contribute to the open source giant, Mozilla. All this added up to her successful setting up of the club and she could recruit 15 other people to form the core team of mentors from the campus, who could then guide other enthusiasts in the college ! She then made a teaching kit for others like her, who were finding out ways to introduce open source and the club to other students in the campus. This can be found here.

Added to her excitement was her selection to the Leadership Summit at Singapore. "I can't believe my eyes", she said, as she scrolled through the congratulatory mail for the 4th time ! It was her first trip abroad and alone, she had just got her passport done in a very recent past, after all. Again, being a girl, she had to convince her parents to let her go and that she would be safe. Being the most encouraging parents ever, and having the ability to understand the little talent she had and that the summit would only make it better, they let her go !

Back from the summit, she was ever more determined. She had chosen the Campus Campaign track. She repeated most of the sessions with her fellow club members, back home. She considers her role as a participation leader seriously and strives to learn more every day.

There were many other Mozillians along her way, both men and women, who inspired her, Vineel, Galaxy, Jafar, Diwanshi, Vnisha, Shivika, Santosh, Harsha, Akshay, Abhiram, Kritika, Jyothsna, and many many others, the list goes infinite.

She's currently working on making an inspirational video along with her club members through which the essence of open source could reach out to many more people ! Alongside, she and her club members are hosting a hand-on session on git, which is the first step to contribute to MDN. Someday, she wishes to be part of Mozilla Tech speakers programme and use her words to impact the lives of the people around the world !

Being a girl, and also, short, she was ignored/not taken seriously by many. But, she understood, through her journey, that it was important to make her intentions and plans clear, to all those people who wondered.

If you have the skill, you're are worth all the help/ guidance/ praise, no matter if you are "just" a girl, as many would say it. Believe me, the world has changed in the way women are perceived. It's only you, being the woman/girl you are, who needs to realise it. But remember when you're stuck, asking for help, helps :)

I'm a girl and this is my story,
Srushtika Neelakantam
FSA | WoMoz | Mozillian

Find everything about me and Mozilla here.