International Wheelchair Day a success!

What a momentous day, the rain held off and we even got some sun yesterday morning, before the deluge of rain in the afternoon. The gods were looking out for us for sure. It was the biggest Wheelchair Day event ever in Kathmandu, with over 400 participants and 143 registered wheelchair users – wow! While the rally hit the streets complete with policy escort, I stayed behind to man the video camera to capture the two artists at work on their canvases.  The large acrylic work is by Sanjaya Bantawa and the smaller fine detail piece of art is by Nowang Tshering. Sanjaya’s piece will be sold at his upcoming solo exhibition, whilst Nowang’s piece will be auctioned at the upcoming SIRC Gala Dinner and Silent Auction event on April 4th. Check out some photos of the celebration on FB, courtesy of  Cecile Knapp and myself. The media turns out in spades which we were delighted with.  I’ll update this post once the articles appear online. Congrats to Prakash Shrestha, SIRC Administrative Director and to Cecile Knapp, SIRC Volunteer from Austria who specially came to Nepal for 10 days to assist with the organization of the event.  And many thanks to the SIRC staff who worked their day off, bringing over 20 patients from SIRC – no mean feat to get fragile patients and their wheelchairs on the staff bus for a 1.5 hour journey.

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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