Nepal Earthquake – Tuesday April 28 evening update

Lots of activity today with SIRC in Nepal, Bangladesh and Canada.

Dipesh is SIRC’s Administration Director and he is leading a team of SCI specialists to transfer spinal cord injured patients from the acute care hospitals to SIRC.  You see, not everyone has the skills to transfer an already fragile patient – any wrong move and further damage to the spine could occur.  Having SIRC’s team of specialists handle the patient transfer gives the patient a better chance of some sort of mobility in the long run.  Dipesh and team transferred 10 patients to SIRC today.  I can barely imagine the work it takes SIRC to transfer and intake these patients.

Note:  SIRC has three or four ambulances, donated a few years ago by India and Pakistan.

SIRC's team transporting a patient to the SIRC facility.

SIRC’s team transporting a patient to the SIRC facility.

SIRC is now starting to receive new SCI patients daily.  Fortunately the three SCI specialists – Dr Raju, Dr Jas and social worker Sheela have been busy finalizing their plans in Dhaka.  It’s been an interesting learning experience for me, following their review of disaster aid protocols, developing lists and lists of medications (so so many!) and identifying the medical supplies and equipment they are purchasing in Dhaka, and bringing with them to SIRC.  Dependent on the availability of flights and being able to land at Kathmandu Airport, they will arrive anywhere between April 29 and  May 1.  SIRC can’t wait for their arrival.  Their timing is perfect.

The Rick Hansen Institute here in Vancouver are also supporting our work.  The organization posted a link to Drs Peter Wing and Claire Weeks blog.  Check it out here.  We are happy to have any and all awareness of the needs of spinal cord injured Nepalese and SIRC’s role in the provision of rehabilitation.

With significant help from Maggie & Stephen Muldoon of Livability Ireland, a fundraising campaign was launched in the UK, seeking donations for the onslaught of SCI patients expected at SIRC.  Thanks to Stephen and Maggie for their undying commitment to SIRC.  And to Big Gives for their quick set-up of our fundraising page.  Check it out – SIRC’s donation page on Big Gives.  Please share share share with your networks in the UK, Ireland and across mainland Europe!

For the Canadians who are patiently waiting to donate, we are currently providing content to a Canadian registered charity who can issue you with tax receipts and who will qualify for the matching donation program that the Canadian Government have committed to (with some conditions which I will spell out when we launch).  Please bear with us as we finalize this!

Peter and Claire continue to hit their vast SCI network across Canada and the world, advocating for SIRC and also providing guidance to the SIRC medical staff on the ground.  Being a business person, I am useless on that front but happily I am getting stuck into preparation of the paperwork required to meet the prerequisites of funding agencies.  Who knew the day would come when I would be happy to be doing paperwork?!

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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