In addition to the generosity of Bowen Island’s small community, I have to call out two individuals who have been supporting the education of a number of children in Nepal for some time now. Children whose parents have been economically weakened by one of their parents suffering a spinal cord injury, thereby reducing the income coming into the household. More often than not, feeding the family and putting a roof over their heads takes priority over sending children to school.
Government schools are free, but the uniforms, books, stationery and tiffin (lunch) must be paid for. Children must come to school in their uniform and with a full set of books, otherwise they are not allowed attend. This rule must make sense to someone, it does not to me!
Per child, uniforms cost Nrs. 5000 per year, books and stationery another Nrs. 4000 per year, and daily tiffin for the school year costs Nrs. 4,800. All in, the total equates to approximately $200 USD per child per year. Not a lot of money by Canadian standards, but far too much for an improverished family, particularly if there is more than one child (there invariably is).
You can see why this donation is so important, and makes a heck of a difference to the lives of these children. Education is the key to ensuring the children struggle a little less in their adult lives, as compared to their parents. I don’t think I need to convince anyone of the value of education.
If you travel frequently on Peter’s Bus or are on Cormorant Marine’s water taxi service from Horseshoe Bay to Snug Cove, you may have spied Cathy Bruce, knitting profusely while engaging in banter and much laughter with her fellow commuters. I so enjoyed my daily commute with Cathy over the past 18 months and we have become fast friends because of it.
Cathy (recently retired from the Bench) together with her husband Bill Kitchen (also a retired judge) gave me another donation on my return to Nepal this summer, and I knew exactly who do ask to help me ensure the money was allocated to the children who needed it most.
Thanks to SIRC ‘s Community-based Rehab Coordinator, Prajwal Ghimire, he was immediately able to suggest three families (7 children) who would benefit from Cathy and Bill’s donation.
All three families live in Dolakha, an area badly hit with the first earthquake on April 25th, 2015, and was the epicenter of the May 12th 2015 earthquake with a magnitude of 7.3. This gives you an appreciation of the hardship these families have suffered, and continue to suffer. To read more about Dolakha and the impact of last year’s earthquakes, click here.
The following are the stories of these three families, written by Prajwal, and reproduced with the individuals’ kind permission.
Tika Bahadur Pandey: As a farmer, Tika Pandey’s life was going on well until he sustained Spinal Cord Injury due to fall from electric pole while he was fixing the wire. Mr. Pandey spent three months at Spinal Centre for comprehensive rehabilitation. He has good realization on life after SCI. He needs wheelchair for his mobility.
His living standard deteriorated after the accident and the pain even worsened due to the collapsed house by the massive earthquake. Three of his four children are school-going age and the whole family are thrilled to receive this funding, allowing the three kids to attend school for the coming year.
Bishnu Khadka: Bishnu Khadka was a laborer at one of the marble companies in Kathmandu. Life was going on well for the Khadka family until Bishnu sustained Spinal Cord Injury due to compression by heavy load while working at his job. Mr. Khadka spent six months at Spinal Centre for comprehensive rehabilitation. He needs wheelchair for his mobility.
His house collapsed on the massive earthquake last year and they also are living in a temporary shelter made of tin whilst waiting for the Government to distribute rebuild monies. with this donation, Mr. Khadka has two little kids in his home who will continue to go to nearby government school.
Shambhu Khadka: As a laborer, Shambhu Khadka was working at one of the shops in Sikkim, India. He came to his home one day for a holiday. One day before the massive earthquake took place, he fell from tree while collecting fodder for his cattle and sustained spinal cord injury. Mr. Khadka spent four months at Spinal Centre for comprehensive rehabilitation. He needs crutch for his mobility.
His house collapsed by massive earthquake and this family are living in a bamboo and mud wall structure as their temporary home. With this donation, Mr. Khadka has two little kids in his home who go to nearby government school.
Cathy and Bill, the three families, Prajwal, SIRC and I greatly appreciate your generosity to these families, who will remember your great kindness forever. You just can’t imagine the difference you are making.