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