Whazzup at SIRC these days?

I tell ya, I have never known an organization to be juggling so many things so effectively with such limited resources.  SIRC continues to move me with their resourcefulness and strong work ethic.  I suspect this is one of the key reasons why so many of their global SCI colleagues have traveled to Bhainsepati since the two large earthquakes hit Nepal on April 25th and May 12th respectively.

SIRC’s global SCI colleagues have hailed from across the world, including Bangladesh, Thailand, Malaysia, United States, United Kingdom, Italy, Canada and (last but not least) Ireland.  All come with specialized SCI skills and their sleeves rolled up to get stuck in and do the work, and provide hands on training to the ever-growing SIRC team.  SIRC is forever grateful.

Recently, one of the Mercy Malaysia teams were featured on Malaysia’s national TV station where they were interviewed and filmed caring for patients.  It’s a short but good clip, check it out here.

  • Of particular note at the 1min 40secs mark, tells the story of a 24-year old who suffered SCI injuries, and who recently gave birth to a baby girl.
  • For those of you reading my blog over the past 1.5 years, you may recognize Nikita Kayastha at the 2min mark (left-hand side) who is translating for members of the Mercy Malaysia team.
  • And at the 3min mark is the indomitable Esha, gracious as ever.

You’ll have read about Direct Relief’s recent and very generous funding of SIRC to the tune of US$300,000.  Incredible eh?!  We are not stopping there, we have other funding-related activities underway, and together with SCI policy work Esha and SIRC are doing with Nepal’s Ministry of Health & Population, it was time for Stephen Muldoon of Livability International to return to Nepal to share his strategy and operational expertise with Esha and team.  Stephen arrived on Wednesday so I’ll be getting an update from him in the next week or so.

Kanak Mani Dixit, co-founder of SIRC has deemed Stephen to be an Earthquake Warrior. The story is ….. Stephen had barely spent a day in Nepal when the 2nd earthquake on May 12 shook the ground underneath their feet.  As he arrived on Wednesday, there were two pretty strong aftershocks throughout the Kathmandu Valley, one registering as a 4.6 magnitude.  These were not reported in western media but they were strong enough and different enough to other aftershocks, to send people running from their homes in fear.  I could not help but question if the landing of the Earthquake Warrior in Kathmandu had any hand in the magnitude of Wednesday’s aftershock. 😉

But seriously, the experts say there is a significant future risk of sizable earthquakes in Western Nepal and along the NW border of India, likely affecting Delhi with a population of 17 million.  I tell you, having spent time in Delhi, I don’t think I would fancy being there during a large quake. Check out the BBC’s recent report on their findings.

In addition to the continued good work of Dr Christine Groves and Dr. Bishwa, SIRC has welcomed some additional medical expertise with the return of Dr Raju and his wife Sheela from Dhaka, as well as Dr Renee Maschke, Medical Director of the Spinal Cord Injury Unit in Perugia, Italy.  Peter Wing and Claire Weeks have been having a rather busy summer, but once they get home, will be writing up some updates from Dr Raju, Sheela and Dr Renee on their blog.  Keep a close eye for updates there.

As mentioned earlier, the medical and rehabilitation side of SIRC is getting great support from their global SCI colleagues.  The Administration side of SIRC is overwhelmed somewhat with the demands of running a facility that has quadrupled in size within a matter of months as well as setting up the systems, processes and reporting that increased funding and new partnerships calls for.  In recognition of these additional demands, the Administration team will be strengthened by a number of new hires.

The following was an advert that was published in Himalayan Times (7/29/2015).  If there are any readers who are Nepalese and would like to work with SIRC, please apply!

SIRC Vacancies Himalayan Times

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.
This entry was posted in Nepal and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s