Expertise on it’s way

On a whiteboard in the SIRC admin offices, I have pulled together a list of items that we hope to achieve by the time I depart at the end of April 2014.  There are five categories of items:  Awareness, Management, Fundraising, Communication and Vocational Training Program.  Within these five categories I have a list of twenty-seven unique deliverables.  Have I lost anyone yet? That’s a heck of a lot of work to get through and although I am known for taking on far too much, even I recognized I could not do all of this on my own.  So I reached out and sought help (is that another first for me?).

Today three MBA students from the prestigious ACE School of Management in Kathmandu, have accepted a 10-week internship with SIRC.   I am thrilled!  Their first day is this Sunday and I will start with reviewing the 2014-2018 Strategic Plan with them, and the subsequent deliverables that we have committed to the Board to complete by the time I leave.  After that, we get the sleeves rolled up, start on the organization of the upcoming SIRC Golf Tournament (March 15th) and use these young folks to revise our website and FB page to try to increase traffic to it.   That’s the top two deliverables this week, 25 more deliverables to go.

To assist with the coaching of these energetic young interns, the PHNIC-ers in the reading audience will recognize Karen Hilton’s name as Project Manager from the Integration Program.  Karen, happily for SIRC, will spend two weeks at the beginning of April volunteering with us ….. perfect timing to assist with another fundraiser, the Gala Dinner and Silent Auction on April 4th as well as celebrating SIRC’s 12th Anniversary celebrations on April 7th.  I’m fortunate (and relieved) to have another pair of (seasoned) hands to make sure we complete everything we said we would complete, and also make the next ten weeks the best possible experience for the MBA interns.

You may also remember me putting a “shout-out” for any expertise in alternative heating systems.  Well, the Irish came through for me again.  My friend and fellow Corkonian Brian Fitzgibbon (based in Vancouver) reached out to his brother Kevin Fitzgibbon – an engineer at Nimbus CIT in Cork City to see if he could be of any assistance.  After a brief email exchange, Kevin thinks he can assist us with the initial assessment of the SIRC facility and make some recommendations.  So now the Kathmandu based engineer involved in the building of the SIRC facility here in Bhainsepati in 2008 is providing Kevin with a whack-load of information so that Kevin can get started.

Don’t you just love that, with the help of technology, it’s easy for two engineers on different continents, to easily work together?  Thanks to Brian and to Kevin for stepping up – there may well be a heating system installed in the wards and therapy rooms at SIRC by next winter!  Woo hoo!

About Kate Coffey

After 30 or so years in the investment management industry, 2013 saw me turn my life up-side-down, making my way first to Nepal, then Bangladesh during that first ‘year away’. The year took me on a journey I did not expect, had me fall in love with Nepal and its people, and become inspired at the work of Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Centre (SIRC) located in Bhainsepati - 2 hours east of Kathmandu in the Saanga foothills. Since 2014, I have returned to SIRC numerous times, working closely with the folks there in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquakes. In Bangladesh I marvelled at the strength and resilience of marginalized women who have the courage and audacity to break the rules and make a better life for themselves and their children through microfinance programs with BRAC. 2016-2017 saw me embark on a totally new experience in Sri Lanka, a place I never would have chosen to end up in. It’s the 40C+ heat, big humidity and tropical snakes & animals that scared me! But I ended up love love loving! my time there, working with predominantly Tamil small business owners in remote villages in north and east of the country, trying their best to recover their businesses and the lives of their employees, after decades of a civil war. My time in Sri Lanka made me realize my hard-earned business skills and experience can really be put to good use! The work the BIZ+ team and I did there ended up earning me International Volunteer of the Year Award in December 2017, presented on Capitol Hill, Washington DC no less. I am currently home on Bowen Island, in the west coast of Canada, shoring up my finances before I head off to who knows where, for my next expert volunteer assignment. This blog initially started out as a travelogue of sorts to keep friends and family worldwide updated while I was off on my travels in 2013-2014. Since then it has morphed into a life story of the many places I have lived and worked and of the wonderful people I have met along the way. I hope you enjoy.
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10 Responses to Expertise on it’s way

  1. Grace Coffey says:

    Well done Kevin and Brian! Sounds like it will be a very busy time Kate but you’ll have plenty of support – looking forward to hearing the next instalment. Go on the Rebels!!!

  2. Grace Coffey says:

    P.s. All proud Corkonians will be familiar with the term “Rebels” as Cork was given the name of the “Rebel City” in times of yore – hope that explains my salutation!!

    • Kate Coffey says:

      Now there is many a Canadian understanding where my feisty-ness comes from. And now that we are cheering ……Up Munster for the Heineken Cup and Up Ireland for the Grand Slam – Feb 22nd Ireland vs England – there’s even a contingent watching the rugby closely in Banepa!

  3. Katherine says:

    You leave my head spinning, Kate! Having a warm therapy room will be added motivation to go to therapy. Good work!

  4. jgedye says:

    what’s the full list of 25? j

    Sent from Samsung Mobile

  5. Tonya says:

    Wow, that sounds like you are making great progress! Congratulations on your great work so far and in awe of the difference you are making (and remember, you are, even when it feels like its just a drop in the bucket. )

    • Kate Coffey says:

      You are too kind Tonya. If you find yourself in Nepal in the coming months, SIRC could certainly use your communication expertise!

      • Tonya says:

        I would love that! I have been feeling like my brain is atrophying 🙂 . However I don’t think we will be in Nepal until after the summer, but who knows? Our plans are pretty fluid. So exciting that you are going to work with BRAC too

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