It’s been two months since the Remarkable Year in Sri Lanka fundraiser raised C$5,000 to benefit children with spinal cord injuries (SCI) in Nepal. A mix of countries I know but the story I had to tell was about my time in northern Sri Lanka working with small, family-run businesses in the Tamil community. Nepal continues to be my soul-home though, I have a strong connection to the resilience of Nepalis and in particular with people living with SCI, hence raising funds for the kids with SCI in Nepal.
The hostel is run by the Spinal Cord Injured Network Nepal, an organization created in 2016 by Rishi Dhakal and friends, in response to the increasing need for kids with SCI, to have a safe place to stay while attending school.
I’ve been to visit the hostel in Jorpati in the outskirts of Kathmandu a few times and wrote about it way back in 2016. Check out that blog post here. The hostel has basic accommodation, spotlessly clean and well cared for by a hired Didi – a local lady who cooks and cleans for the children, and gets them off to school in the morning. Didi actually means Older Sister in the Nepali language. I think it is fitting that the lady that cares for them is indeed like their older sister in their home away from home.
The Spinal Cord Injured Network Nepal board members are also very active at the hostel, helping the kids with homework and projects, enhancing their English language skills, public speaking skills (Nepal’s future advocates for SCI!) and bringing them along to a variety of sports activities: swimming, table tennis, basketball, cricket and wheelchair road racing. They lead very active and stimulating lives, don’t they?
It’s not hard to believe there is a wait list of about 11 kids who want to attend school. The hostel needs to be expanded to accommodate more children … but that’s a whole other story!
Out of many deserving kids, Sumit (15), Sidhant (12), Subash (15) and Bandana (10) are the ones who are benefiting from the donations of Bowen Islanders (C$5,000) in combination with a contribution towards expenses (C$1,800) from their respective families. Money sure stretches far in Nepal.
This is Sumit, Sidhant and Subash’s second year living at the hostel. Easy to tell they are happy and healthy in this photo below, ready for the new school year.
And then there is Bandana from Mugu in Western Nepal who only arrived at the hostel this week. She had a long way to travel and needed a hospital stay to manage a pressure sore before being healthy enough to attend school. Look how happy she is upon arrival at the hostel!
Keshav Thapa who is the Program Coordinator of Spinal Cord Injured Network Nepal, sent me some background on the children and how they have ended up at the hostel. These are the children’s stories (unedited).
Thank you Bowen Island, for your continued support in all the volunteer work I do, and the support you provide me time and time again. In particular I would like to thank Ann Ramsey and a cadre of Anonymous donors (you know who you are!) for your generous donations. Thank you too to those who contributed in many ways at the fundraiser.
Your generosity has given hope to the possibility of a bright future for Sumit, Sidhant, Subash and Bandana.
Budget detailing how the money is being spent is below: