Dr Stan and his inspired work

You’ll remember me writing about clinical psychologist Dr Stan and his work at SIRC when he visited there less than 6 weeks after the earthquakes in June of this year.  Well, Dr Stan was back at SIRC for a week-long visit, continuing his work with coaching and training SIRC staff, and running more sessions with the patients.

He writes:  “Getting to work each day is an adventure but a great time of camaraderie. The Director of Social Work picks me up on his motorcycle at the hotel each morning and takes me to the bus. The process is repeated at the end of the day. The Spinal Cord center has their own bus that brings about 50 or 60 employees on a one hour ride back and forth to the Centre.

Although the roads are generally “good”, I am told they were closed this summer during the monsoons due to mud slides. (We probably shouldn’t be taking selfies on a motorcycle given how bad the roads are). And, as my sister will point out to me, I still don’t have a helmet.”

Dr Stan and Suresh

Dr Stan and Suresh

He also writes: “In most developing countries, the notion of providing counseling and education on sexuality and SCI is simply unheard of. Yet, my experience has been that this is a universal topic that people want information about after an injury. Relationships, sexuality and fertility are essential components in the quality of life for most people regardless of disability or not.

I am proud to say that SIRC recognizes this fact and integrates sexuality education and counseling into the rehabilitation program for all patients.

This picture is a sexuality discussion group that we ran earlier this week. It got people talking and sharing about the issue. Most importantly, it reinforced the fact that your sexual and relationship life doesn’t end after an injury.

Group session at SIRC

Group session at SIRC

By the way, it adds an interesting little twist when you don’t speak the language and all the little spicy details about sex need to get interpreted through a female staff member, who thankfully is also a psychologist.”

Dr Stan left Nepal day before yesterday and headed for India where last night, he was presented with a Life Time Achievement Award by the Ministry of Health, Government of India in recognition of his superb work.

Being congratulated on receiving his award

Being congratulated on receiving his award

Dr Stan describes himself as being “taken completely by surprise” and ‘blown away” with the award, and remains “completely speechless today”.

Congratulations Dr Stan!

Photo credits:  Dr Stan Ducharme

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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