All’s well in Jorpati

Keshav is great for keeping me up to date on the goings on at the SCI Hostel.  Here are the latest stories.  Everyone is well and happy as you can see!

Hanging out at the Hostel

A day’s outing with Didi to the local temple

The students were also invited as special guests to the local Teej party put on by their neighbours in Jorpati.  Teej is an annual festival that especially celebrates women where the colour red is worn as a sign of love.  I’ve attended a few of these parties in the past and they are full of singing, dancing and general hilarity – it’s a blast!  These ladies not only partied, they also donated food and  Nr 2,000 to the Hostel – very generous!

Earlier in the month, the newly acquired ground-floor apartment closeby to the existing Hostel, was renovated to provide a ramp at the front door as well as accessible showering and toilet facilities.

The second hostel is finished and received it’s first two students!

Keshav, Rishi and the board members have also been busy raising the profile of the SCI Hostel.  Recently, they had a visit from the Deputy Mayor, the Inspector General of Nepal Police and the Senior Superintendent of Nepal Police, a retired Brigadier General of Nepal Army, the Secretary General of Disabled Human Rights Centre as well as a local government representative.

Phew!  That’s some visit from those in high places!  It enabled Keshav, Rishi and the board members to demonstrate the clear need for governmental support for their Hostel and all people with mobility issues.   Specifically, they asked for government land on which to custom-build a SCI Hostel, rather than continuing to rent two apartments.  We shall have to see how their request is taken.  But the visit was deemed to be a great success given the visit was reported on 20 local newspapers and national TV.  It helps to build awareness when distinguished guests visit!

Distinguished Guests at the SCI Hostel

Two weeks ago, they had a return visit from the Deputy Mayor and a member of Nepal ex-Police Family Forum who on behalf of a Nepali family in the UK, donated Nr. 250,000 (CAD$2,800 ) to the SCI Hostel.  This allows for more stability for the SCI Hostel, ensuring the students can receive funding, and therefore schooling for the coming year.  The visit was celebrated with  yummy plate of dal bhat – the national dish of Nepal consisting of rice, dhal, greens and a curry.  Yum yum.

I have to say, I am dead impressed with Keshav, Rishi and the Board for their continued work in raising awareness for the needs of those in wheelchairs, and the importance of their continued education.  It’s my honour to be associated with them.  आदर !

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 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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