Although my resume is fairly decent, I must admit some apprehension that my skills would be transferable to the needs of SIRC. There was no need for my apprehension, SIRC www.sirc.org.np is a very well-run organization ably managed by Esha and her team, and supported by its dynamic board. Their dreams for SIRC are huge, but they have come so far since setting out to provide SCI (spinal cord injury) rehabilitation services to the people of Nepal. In just a short 12 years, they have gone from an idea to a superb clinic providing rehabilitation to just under 1,200 people during this period. The clinic is run just like a business, and the growth and operations have been guided by many organizations including Stephen Muldoon of Livability Ireland www.livability.ie. The Irish are everywhere, aren’t they?
My first task was to read a myriad of documents, papers and other materials to familiarize myself with SIRC etc. That took me about a week. The 2014-2018 Strategic Plan was finalized in the weeks before my arrival, and I have been tasked with making headway on two of the objectives.
The first in relation to building awareness of SIRC through networking/communication and the all-important fundraising to cover ongoing operating costs of the clinic, much needed equipment and tools, modification of patients homes as well as the establishment of a Poor Patient Fund.
The second objective is to strengthen human resource development for SIRC staff, specifically implementing a performance management system. As a reminder, I am only here 5 months so there is much to do! But they are an able team and with a few additions, it all might come off before I leave end April 2014.
Fortunately, I have been able to track down two Kathmandu universities with MBA programs who include internships as part of their programs. One set of interns will be available in the 3rd week in February and the other set will be available in June. The plan is to hire two interns both in February and June. The interns starting in February will be coached and mentored by me and we should be able to pull off two fundraising events plus get the awareness campaign underway by the time I leave. I’ll prepare a bunch of work for the June interns and they will be overseen by Esha and her team.
On Sunday, Esha and I are meeting with the Fundraising Committee primarily made up of board members. In the past week I have prepared a presentation that outlines what I believe are the deliverables associated with the objectives from the strategic plan. It’s this we will present and seek their further ideas and approval. Later that day we’ll meet the website guy afterwards to lay out the additional features we need implemented on the website. So it is all go, albeit at a slower pace which I am grateful for – I am enjoying this work and am very much convinced I can add value here.
I spent the last two hours with Prajwal who is SIRC’s CBR guy (community based rehabilitation). He showed me some recent photos and movies of home modifications he has organized. Home modifications are critical to the improvement of the quality of life of the patient in their home setting, and in some instances, allows the patient to contribute to the household in a tangible way. Very inspiring and it reminds me of the value of the work I am doing. I’ll touch more on this in another post for sure.
Yesterday, Esha and I visited Sable, a factory run by a Nepali whose sister is married to (you guessed it) an Irish guy – they live in Co Meath. Told you we are everywhere! With Livability Ireland’s guidance, SIRC secured funding from Lloyds Bank to enhance the vocational training program (VT) for SIRC patients, with the aim for the patient to earn an income from a ‘real’ job during and once they leave the clinic.
Sable manufactures bags, wallets, iPad holders etc using recycled inner tubes from truck wheels as well as cow’s leather. They also have a 30-man silver jewelry-making operation and a department that also makes cotton clothing. They primarily distribute and sell their products to the German market.
Sable are open to outsourcing much of the preparatory work and due to the Livability Ireland connection, are happy to work with SIRC. Most of this work can be done by those in wheelchairs and without specialized tools so it’s an ideal partnership. The SIRC facility has the space to accommodate this work.
We worked out the logistics behind a training program, delivery of the raw materials and collection of the products, as well as the all-important payment per completed piece. With the Lloyds funding, a Project Officer can be hired to expand this concept so when patients return home, they can continue to complete this work and get paid.
A really worthwhile program and something that makes a clear difference to the lives of patients. It was really neat to play a small part in getting this program up and running.
As you can see, there is lots afoot at SIRC, I don’t know how Esha keeps track of everything plus being a mother to a 4-year old and a 6-month old – pretty impressive. Let’s hope I can be as impressive as Esha and the team!
I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in now that the planning portion is nearing the end. It’s where I am most comfortable, rolling up my sleeves.