Ram’s story

I have known Ram Bahadur Tamang since I first worked at SIRC in 2013, his strength and determination continue to inspire me.

Ram’s young life has been a pretty rough one.  At the tender age of 14, he worked in a carpet factory where he was beaten regularly and lost the use of his right eye in an accident on the factory floor.  He returned home and married at the age of 17 and then worked for 3 years as a coolie, carrying vegetables and laying bricks – back breaking work.  On a short break with friends to Khasa, the bus they were travelling in crashed and ended up in the river.  Ram suffered an injury to his spine which left him a paraplegic.  Soon after surgery at Dhulikhel Hospital, Ram arrived at SIRC for a few months of rehabilitation.  Later, SIRC hired Ram as a Vocational Trainer, a role he continues to thrive at today.

Ram soon realised his life was not over just because of his spinal cord injury, it was just going to be different.  He disliked the disgust with which the Nepalis viewed any form of disability, and wanted to show the general public, as well as other wheelchair users, that life can be good and joyful and that he could do anything he wanted to do.  That included a 350km wheelchair yaatra (journey) from Namobudda to Lumbini.

The yaatra was made possible with funding from Rosalind Russell and her US friends, as well as the SIRC Board and a fundraiser we ran in Kathmandu just before he, along with his support team Prajwal and Binod left on what ended up being a 26 day journey through the challenging roads and mountains of Nepal, ending in the lowlands of Lumbini – the birthplace of Buddha.

The Media Team for the Yaatra with the infamous Ram. we were honoured to work with such an inspiring guy.

The team that worked behind the scenes for Ram’s Wheelchair Yaatra:  Binay (l), me (c) Nikita (r) with the inspiring Ram.  Missing from the picture but no less part of the team – Rozina & Aarjit.  Photo Credit Kate Coffey, April 2014

Now, I know many of you followed Ram’s Wheelchair Yaatra, day by day back in April 2014 (see here for an account of his arrival in Lumbini) and will also know Ram wrote a  song telling his life story before and after his accident, cautioning his listeners to the causes of SCIs and how his life is changed but for the better..  This song has been used as the background to document the life and times of Ram’s remarkable life and the marvelous work he does at SIRC, not only as a Vocational Trainer,  but also how supportive and encouraging he is of all patients as they go through their therapy.

I give you this video, produced by a talented team:  Arsin Shrestha, Chandra Man Dongol, Pramila Shrestha, Ram Kumar KC and Tekendra Shah.

As Ram sings his song, we are shown a slice of life at SIRC, his work as a Vocational Trainer and many ways he supports and motivates others  with SCIs through kind words and empathy, as well as his love of sport.  What is not shown here is his deep love of music and his newly formed band SIRCUS.  But that story is for another day!

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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4 Responses to Ram’s story

  1. Keshar pakhrin says:

    God has an awesome way of turning difficult journeys into beautiful destinations! Where have you seen this happen in ours life?
    my unkel also heppand same case ram nows about my unkel I respect both🌹🌹💞💞💞
    Have a good journey ram i am yours kindly vhatij keshar pakhrin

  2. Peter Wing says:

    Hi Kate – I did not find a link for the video…

  3. Oops! The link came through – great video, and the music is lovely to hear after our time away from Nepal.
    Could Nikita perhaps do a translation for subtitles? We would love to circulate the story. Say Namaste please to Ram – and the others – from Claire and Peter!

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