On Sunday afternoon of June 14th, 2015, an entertainment and refreshment package was offered to the earthquake victims at Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Centre (SIRC) in Sanga, near Dhulikhel. The program consisted of entertaining and providing bagful of fresh-fruit refreshment to all spinal-injured earthquake victims undergoing treatment and the Rehabilitation Centre. The Centre—where 115 spinal-injured patients are hospitalized for treatment—is a Swiss-NGOs-funded Rehabilitation Unit, which was inaugurated in April 2002 by Sir Edmund Hillary.
The event was sponsored through the donation from German Nepal Friendship Association (GNFA), Germany, through the courtesy of its president Ram Pratap Thapa, under the coordination of the Programme Coordinator Sandhya Regmi. Bagsful of seasonal fresh fruit consisting of apples, oranges, mangoes and bananas were distributed to all spinal injured patients, and were fed by their relatives, friends and care-takers. The refreshment distribution team included board members of NSCISA (Nepal Spinal cord Injury Sports Association) – Ms. Gayatri Dahal, Rishi Ram Dhakal and Sonika Dhakal, Ms. Adwiteeya Shiwakoti – a 11 year old student from the British School Kathmandu, Mrs. Sushila Sharma- a social worker of SOS Children Village, Jorpati, and other dedicated staffs of SIRC.
Among the spinal injured earthquake victims in SIRC, majority were from Sindhupalchowk district which was among the worst hit by the devastating earthquake and its aftershocks. After the surgery and treatment at the Orthopedic Hospital in Jorpati, they were brought for rehabilitation to the SIRC in Sanga. Upon the completion of treatment and physiotherapy package of 3 months, some patients would recover and be able to walk, whereas many others would remain disabled and wheel-chair bound for the rest of their lives, despite all the treatment and rehabilitation endeavors.
Most pathetic situation that brought tears to our eyes was that of a two-year old Muna of Dhading who had got buried under the debris of her house that resulted in her spinal injury. 18 year old Shrishti Maya Tamang of Sindhupalchowk, who was awaiting the results of SLC, was struggling to make movement due to her spinal injury. We were overwhelmed to see a spinal injured mother with her new-born lying next to her.
The occasion served a good lesson to all of us. Despite themselves being victims of unfortunate accidents, struggles, and sufferings, the spinal injured had divine gifts to offer: their heart-winning smiles. In the SIR, we could see in their innocent eyes the love for and hope in life, despite the devastating new realities that they were compelled to face. We came back saluting the spirit of these extraordinary people.