“I want to help tell the good stuff: the stories that are lost, the stories we only tell our best friends, the stories that make us laugh and cry,” - Kirsten Bergstrom
The passing of her grandmother, and the book When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice by world-renowned author Terry Tempest Williams inspired 48-year-old Kirsten Bergstrom to put up Nushu Voices, a website that shares stories of anonymous women from all over the world.
Nushu is a secret script developed by Chinese women from Jiangyong County in Hunan, China. It was used by Lao Tongs (best friends/soul sisters) whether to talk about their emotional pains or to celebrate their most precious moments.
“The author identities are [kept] secret. You won't know who is writing and other voices will often be used for podcasts. The authors could [be] anyone: your neighbor, a friend of mine, or a famous writer. Secrets are tantalizing and in rare supply in an era of social media and relentless self-promotion. Stories hold the spotlight at Nushu Voices,” said Kirsten.
She thought of building the website in 2012, however, her technical knowledge on website development was fairly limited. Hiring a developer was also a challenge since she didn’t have the budget to pay for the amount that local developers quoted her. Having more important things on her plate during that time caused her to put the Nushu Voices project on hold.
To fund the project, Kirsten turned to Indiegogo to get people onboard.
After five years of planning, dreaming, and hoping, she had enough money to have the website built. Instead of hiring local web developers, she followed her friend’s advice and hired from Freelancer.com.
The two most essential features Kirsten required for development were the story submission and the podcast since these two will carry the heart of the website -- the stories. To help sustain Nushu Voices, she also needed the donation and the subscription sections.
“Within minutes, I had multiple experienced developers to choose from,” added Kirsten. Out of the several bids she received, she went with Gujarat, India-based website developer MaliJB.
“I chose her for a combination of reasons: her reviews were good, her bid price was affordable but, most importantly, she was responsive and she listened to what I had to say. She was honest in her answers about her experience and skill set. I felt confident my project was in good hands. I enjoyed working with her.”
Once they agreed on the price (US$540) and the Freelancer Milestones were all set, MaliJB began working on the project.
“Kirsten was quite sure with what she wanted, I followed exactly as per her instruction and added in some creativity of my own,” said MaliJB. “This project involved the use of Wordpress CMS, a field I am very much familiar with.”
“Building the ‘story submission’ section was a bit tricky since it required a specific text format and it had very specific terms and conditions, although, the good communication between Kirsten and I, on every aspect of the project scope, helped me achieve her desired results.”
Two weeks later, Kirsten received her website and was very pleased. “After five years of dreaming, I had a live website in just two weeks. I am glad I went with Freelancer and with MaliJB,” she said.
Now equipped with a modernized medium of communicating to the world, Kirsten is ready to start hearing and sharing the stories of women from all walks of life.
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