Recently, I attended the 10th Anniversary Program for the Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Center (SIRC). I came to the event with my good Rotary friend- Padam Lal Maharjan and his wife, Kalpana. Also along for the day was Ms. Sharada Adhikari who works for the Helen Keller Foundation here in Kathmandu. She is another talented, remarkable woman with blindness.
There were many people with disability in attendance and many wheelchairs with engaged onlookers there to celebrate the wonderful work this center has provided over the past 10 years. We parked in a big field nearby the center and stepped out of the car amidst numerous goats and chickens! The center is close to the highway, yet it still seems quite rural as you drive up the hill for a couple of minutes.
When we entered the courtyard I was so surprised to see our friend and sponsored person with disability, Rakesh Gwachha. Rakesh has a condition called ‘brittle bone disease’; his bones are too weak to support his body and he sits about two feet tall. He was smiling ear-to-ear when he spotted me….I pulled him out of line and wheeled him down to be with me during the program.
Also in attendance were numerous classic Volkswagen Beetles! They were part of an international road rally to raise money for SIRC. I’ve attached a nice photo of Rakesh sitting in the driver’s seat of one of them. One of my Rotary friends- Prabhu Bhandary was kind enough to let Rakesh have that experience.
One of the USA/Nepal Disability Awareness Campaign’s Rotary Matching Grant projects involves this center where they have trained people with disability to assemble 100 wheelchairs for disability. That project is with the Rotary Club of Itahari and Rotary Club of Pokhara Fishtail. The main international partner is the Rotary Club of Renton.
Remarkable work done by a remarkable organization benefitting people with disability!
Rakesh at the wheel!
Rakesh and Rob!
Prabhu Bhandari and his Beetle!
Rakesh and Sharada