I look into all of your eyes and see love, joy and hope. I see promise and possibilities, but most of all, I see potential. You must be allowed to achieve your potential, to see that the possibilities are endless.
If I could gather together all of the children with disabilities in Nepal, from those in the most remote villages to those in Kathmandu’s slums and inner city, I would want to give them these words of encouragement:
I look into all of your eyes and see love, joy and hope. I see promise and possibilities, but most of all, I see potential. You must be allowed to achieve your potential, to see that the possibilities are endless. Our promise must be to help you in any way that we are able. We must provide comfort, compassion and a chance for a better life.
You can achieve, you can succeed. Do not set your sights low. Look high to see not what you can do, but what you might do. You deserve the right to that chance, the right for opportunity. You have much to give and your country can use your incredible tenacity and dedication. Just because you have a disability doesn’t mean that you can’t, or that you shouldn’t, or that you aren’t allowed to.
Work hard, Remarkable Children of Nepal. There is a future for you here in a society that needs to understand that your disability is not a curse from God, but a gift from God. You have something that sets you apart, gives you empathy for others, makes you work harder to do what comes easy to the rest of us. Yours is a special gift. If we encourage and cultivate it, you will bloom. Oh, how you will bloom, into a vast garden of many colors, sizes and varieties. It is in our infinite variety that we have strength.
Please dream, Extraordinary Children of Nepal. Dream of a future where everyone will be treated equally (dreams have a way of becoming reality). Dream of the day when you are not segregated, sorted and labeled as “disabled”, but simply looked on as a human being, unique in your own way.
I can see to a day when there will always be a willing person to help you cross the street. And as they hold your hand or touch your arm to help you they will realize the gift you give them. By coming in contact with your physical imperfections, they will come to realize their own inner imperfections and to see that it is our imperfections that make us who we are as humans in an imperfect world. You will teach us, and we will grow.
You will succeed and your country will benefit from your accomplishments. In the future, your accomplishment will be measured by your contribution to others- what you give to others, your society and your country. You will join other leaders in the fields of medicine, engineering, politics and the arts. You will have no societal boundaries, no constraints, no obstacles to hold you back…and you will fly!
Right now there are many in Nepal who are honored to be your guides. We are honored to be your eyes, to assist you as needed. We are honored to push your wheelchairs, to help you onto the bus, give you a ride, give you a job. We are honored to give you a chance for a better life. In helping you, by giving of ourselves in service, we gain personal satisfaction, joy and inner peace in return. These are sentiments that money can’t buy.
If you can visualize it, Exceptional Children of Nepal, it can happen. If you can dream it, it will come true.
April 7th, 2005
Bellevue, Washington USA