Thank You for a Remarkable Evening

Last night, just under 60 Bowen Islanders turned up at the Annex to hear the story of my year in Sri Lanka, devour some delicious food and donate generously to the SCI Practice Home in Kathmandu, Nepal, raising over $4,500, allowing THREE children with spinal cord injuries to continue their education.  Thank you to the generous souls of Bowen Island!

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As is always the case, these kinds of events do not happen on their own.  Heart-felt thanks to my team of volunteers:  Rob S, Rob G, Judi Robyn, Muriel, Gail, Shannon, Doris, Marcel, Jlonka, Jen, Phil, Marysia for a stellar job, to Claire Leverton for poster design, to the Bowen Island Undercurrent for their online promotion, to BIAC for promotion and ticket sales, and to BIPL for rental of the Annex.  Thanks too for discounts from Paul Rickett and Fresh St Market which helped reduce my costs.

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And to all those of you who donated generously and who bought tickets, raffle tickets, chutneys and spice mixes.  Thank you.  Know you have made a huge difference to these children in Nepal.

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 the past two years, my work in Nepal has expanded to the Bo M. Karlsson Foundation www.bomkarlsson.com and the Spinal Cord Injured Network Nepal. 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 the 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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8 Responses to Thank You for a Remarkable Evening

  1. Mick Canning says:

    Well done, Kate. A superb enterprise!

  2. Mick Canning says:

    Kate – just a wild shot here, but one of my blogging friends is a Nepali who has been awarded a place for an MSc in the European Forestry program, which is a double degree Erasmus Mundus Masters degree course, in Finland. Among 119 applicants worldwide, he came 20th and got an acceptance letter to study at the University of Eastern Finland.

    And the bad news is that – they awarded the Erasmus Mundus scholarships for top 17 applications only this year.

    He is not looking for donations, but has asked me if i know of any organizations or charities that fund international students. Just a website link.

    I don’t suppose you might have come across any?

    • Kate Coffey says:

      Hmm, let me think about this. What age is he? Circumstances (I am wondering if he would qualify for something as a minority. Sorry for the delay in replying, been away up North for Easter.

      • Mick Canning says:

        Hi Kate. He’s a youngster, but I don’t know his actual age. I would imagine he’s somewhere around 20, but that’s a guess.

      • Kate Coffey says:

        Unfortunately I could not find many scholarships for Finland universities. It looks like they only recently introduced tuition fees so are probably not as mature with provision of scholarships as other countries. Looks like these are the only scholarships offered by the Finnish government http://www.scholars4dev.com/13615/tuition-free-universities-scholarships-in-finland-international-students/.
        Trying to find scholarships by iNGOs in Nepal is like trying to find a needle in a haystack! He is also not female. My only suggestion is to contact his undergrad university for some info on scholarship providers with specific focus in forestry or his ethnic group (for example some programs are specific to Sherpa or Tamang etc). UEF could also direct him to other scholarships too. Looks like the charging of tuition fees by Finnish universities has eaten up more of the Erasmus fund than usual unfortunately. Sorry I can’t be of more help.

      • Mick Canning says:

        Hi Kate. Thanks awfully for taking the time to research this. It’s possible that one of those avenues might be of use to him, so I’ll copy and paste all of this and send it to him. I suspect that money is tight everywhere at the moment, but you never know! All the best, Mick

  3. Pingback: School’s back! In Nepal at least | Bowen to Bangladesh

  4. Pingback: Blog SCI Nepal | Spinal Cord Injury Collaboration | Nepal

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