Valerie Taylor – an inspiration

One can’t really speak of the paralysed in Asia without mentioning Valerie.  She is known as the Mother Theresa of  the paralysed and rightly so.

Valerie photo

This is a typical picture of Valerie – always smiling, being attentive and truly listening to what you have to say.

Valerie Taylor is a British born physiotherapist and philanthropist, living in  Dhaka, Bangladesh since the late 1960s.  She is the founder and driving personality behind Dhaka’s Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP).  Founded in 1979 in response to the desperate need for services for spinal injured patients, CRP focuses on a holistic approach to rehabilitation, recognising that all aspects of the rehabilitation process are vital for its success.   CRP has now developed into an internationally respected organisation with a 100-bed hospital, exercise & sports area and offers vocational training programmes to women and the paralysed to improve opportunities for generating an income.

Being the driving force behind CRP, you will not be surprised to hear Valerie has been awarded an O.B.E. (Order of the British Empire for her outstanding efforts providing holistic treatment for the paralysed) and also the “Shadhinota Dibosh Podok”, the highest civilian award of Bangladesh.

So it was no surprise to everyone else (but an unexpected surprise for Valerie!), for her to be awarded the 2015 ASCoN Star Award at the recent ASCoN conference here in Kathmandu.  Presented by none other than Nepal’s newly appointed President, Her Excellency Bidhya Devi Bhandari.

Valerie received a standing ovation while receiving the award.  I would not expect any less.

A very proud moment for CRP-Bangladesh I am sure.

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.

What would the world be without connections?  Listen to this:

  1. Valerie and CRP-Bangladesh have been of significant influence to SIRC when Kanak Mani Dixit and the other SIRC Board Members were first planning the initiation of SIRC some 14 years ago.  Valerie provided much advice and guidance to the Board when SIRC was but in it’s infancy.
  2. And secondly, Stephen & Maggie Muldoon of Livability International have worked for decades with Valerie and her team at CRP-Bangladesh and leveraged their experiences to the benefit of SIRC.

How fortunate SIRC is to have such high caliber supporters.

As for me, I felt rather honoured to meet the esteemed Valerie Taylor for the first time this year, and to spend a good long time talking to her about her work and in particular, the income-generation programs CRP now offers.

Me and Valerie Taylor

Valerie sharing her wisdom with me at ASCoN 2015

Her gentle quiet nature impressed me no end, as did her dedication to those she serves, her good heart and readiness to share her story and those of others.  I felt I was in the presence of greatness.  And I was.

Congratulations Valerie!

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.
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4 Responses to Valerie Taylor – an inspiration

  1. Renée says:

    thank you Kate for this sensible blog for/about Valerie. When I first met her last year in Bangla Desh she absolutely hit my heart just by the extraordinary and humble way she meets people, and her life work merits all awards… I am grateful to have met her

  2. Kazi Shoyeb says:

    You are cordially welcome at CRP.

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