I got to know Rishi Ram Dhakal when I first worked at SIRC at the end of 2013. He’s an impressive guy. As a migrant work in Malaysia and like many other Nepali men, Rishi worked in a factory with heavy duty machinery and sent money home to his family in Nepal. While at work, Rishi took a fall and ended up with a spinal cord injury in his early twenties.
After repatriation and treatment in Kathmandu, Rishi spent six months at SIRC receiving SCI rehabilitation and care. Life muchly improved for Rishi after his rehabilitation and he soon married much to his delight. In 2009, he was hired as one of the initial members of the Peer Counselling team at SIRC and he, along with Sonika and Shiva, set the standard for peer counselling at SIRC since.
In addition to his work as a Peer Counsellor, Rishi is a strong advocate for those with spinal cord injuries and has lead the creation of the Nepal SCI Sports Association, as well as the SCI Network in Nepal in 2015. I told you, he is an impressive guy!
The aim of SCI Network is to:
- Learn and share relevant learning by connecting with SCI networks of different countries;
- Build a strong database and generate reliable statistics through research and data collection, and use them to raise awareness among general public and stakeholders;
- Support students with SCI in their endeavor to gain education in supporting and accessible environment;
- Provide peer support and disseminate relevant information to persons with SCI around the country; and
- Advocate and lobby government and relevant stakeholders for accessible environment in the sector of education, employment, health and recreation.
A few months back, the need for an accessible hostel was identified, primarily for young students with SCI to ensure their continued education. Through personal donations from SCI Network’s board members, a building in Jorpati, Kathmandu has been rented and five students have recently moved into the hostel. The plan over time is to expand the hostel to house up to 50 students at any time.
Check out this 4 mins clip to hear about the hostel, as told by Rishi and a few of the students. If you are interested in donating at all, just contact me and I can take any cash donations with me when I move to Nepal for one year in July.
Well done Rishi and team!! You sure are making a huge difference in these young person’s lives.
The following are extracts from SCI Network’s proposal that provides profiles of each student before they became a resident of the hostel. Each person has a unique story on how they got to where they find themselves today.