Today our group was able to spend the day with Nirmala Gyawalini, she is the executive director of the Ability Development Society of Nepal (ADSoN) the sister organization of TRIFC. We visited the Pashupatinath Temple, a sacred Hindu temple located at the banks of the Basmati River. Amongst the dozens of people giving their offerings to Lord Shiva, there were many Indian visitors who remained in the area from the recent Maha Shivaratri celebration. “Shivaratri” means the “Night of Lord Shiva” and thousands of people come to the Pashupatinath Temple for the celebration on this night of Lord Shiva.
Our second stop was the Swayambhunath Stupa also known as the ‘Monkey Temple.” Nestled atop the hillside we were able to see sweeping views of the Kathmandu Valley. In contrast to the Pashupatinath Temple, Swayambhunath Stupa is a Buddhist temple and is said to be over 2,000 years old – the oldest of it’s kind in Nepal.
During our tour we discussed the impact that ASDoN and TRIFC have had on the disability community in Nepal. What we found most impactful was Nirmala’s story and that she was once a sponsored child through the Nepalase Youth Foundation and met Rob Rose when she was only in 8th grade. She eventually received a Fullbrite PLUS (Partnership for Learning Undergraduate Student) scholarship through Colorado State University, and her experience being the only student with blindness at the University.
We ended our day with Luni Shakya, the former executive director for Sathi Sansar a school for children with cerebral palsy. Their mission is, “to improve the quality of life of children living with LDDs (with a special focus on cerebral palsy) functionally and socially, through recognition and respect of their rights to equal opportunity and full participation in an inclusive society.” Although Luni has since taken an administrative role within the organization she remains passionate about the work and stays committed to driving the mission as a volunteer and supporting the children and families in Nepal.
Tomorrow we will continue our journey and visit some of the schools that are supported through TRIFC.