14th Annual ASCoN Conference, Kathmandu

Forgive me for my tardy report on the 14th Annual ASCoN Conference, held here in Kathmandu December 3rd to 5th, 2015.  Between sporadic internet connections, it was a week of much to do and a grant application deadline in the middle of it all.  The conference consumed SIRC but the reality is, the patients still needed care and therapy, and their family members/caretakers needed our support – I thought the SIRC staff juggled all of their responsibilities splendidly.

So who is ASCoN?  The Asian Spinal Cord Network (ASCoN) was initiated in 2001 following a meeting of regional experts during the International Conference on Spinal Cord Lesion Management hosted by the Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP), Bangladesh.  ASCoN has 75 member organizations in 18 countries across Asia.  Each year, one of its members hosted the regional conference and this year it was Nepal and SIRC’s 3rd time to host the event.

2015 brought many challenges for SIRC, with the two large earthquakes in April and May 2015 respectively, but also the border blockade and subsequent fuel restrictions that have been ongoing now for 3.5 months.  Hats off to the organizing committee for making the conference happen!

The conference itself was opened by none other than the newly appointed President of Nepal:  H.E. Bidhya Devi Bhandari. We were very fortunate to have her attend, to receive our gifts and then to speak on her empathy for those with SCI and the importance of providing healthcare as well as rebuilding Nepal in the wake of the earthquakes.  Here are a few pictures for you.

Waiting for the president

From left, SIRC Board members – Meera, Arvind, Kumudini and Shanta, as well as Stephen from Livability, Prof. Wyndaele President of ISCoS and Nepal’s Minister of Health & Population …. awaiting the arrival of Her Excellency

DSC_0129 (1024x681)

President of Nepal: H.E. Bidhya Devi Bhandari lighting the panas (oil lamp) to officially open the conference

DSC_0143 (1024x681)

Opening ceremony speeches by Esha Thapa Dhungana, Executive Director SISN

DSC_0149 (1024x681)

Sonika, SIRC’s Peer Counsellor presenting Her Excellency with a copy of the newly published Patient Stories book.

DSC_0152 (1024x681)

Dr Chabbra of India, presenting Her Excellency with a copy of the newly published ISCoS Textbook on Comprehensive Management of Spinal Cord Injuries

DSC_0167 (1024x681)

Her Excellency presenting Valerie Taylor of CRP Bangladesh, with the ASCoN Star Award in recognition of her hard work and dedication to those with spinal cord injuries everywhere. Well deserved Valerie!!

DSC_0196 (1024x681)

Sonika, yet again presenting Her Excellency with a basket of artisanal products made by patients & ex-patients of SIRC.

DSC_0217 (1024x681)

Esha and Maggie looking pretty please with how the conference was going!

participants main hall

Conference participants at one of the many sessions

end of conference

An end of conference photo, we are all relieved and look pretty darn pleased with ourselves! A team effort for sure – Jai SIRC!

Thank you to the conference’s Key Sponsors:  Livability, UK Aid, Direct Relief, Spirit and Himalayan Bank.

More posts to follow on some of the sessions,, the people and of course the Gala Dinner ….. man do these ASCoN folks know how to party!!

About Kate Coffey

After 25+ years in the investment management industry, I packed in my job and spent 2014 living and working in Nepal and Bangladesh, and visited some other places in between. It took me on a journey I did not expect, had me fall in love with Nepal and it's people, and become inspired at the work of Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Centre (SIRC) located 2 hours east of Kathmandu in the Sanga foothills. Since 2014, I have continued my warm relationship with SIRC and worked closely with my friends there in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquakes to date. 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 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