Volunteer to provide therapy to disabled children and adults in Nepal
This is a day care centre located in the 13th century world heritage site that is Bhaktapur. The project supports children with intellectual disabilities and those with severe & multiple disabilities to learn daily living activities and where possible to support the children enrolling in inclusive state schools.
The centre provides physiotherapy and occupational services and counselling to the children, as well as advocacy and advice for those with disabilities, and a self-help group for disabled adults. The centre operates as part of a wider programme offering support in rural communities.
In addition to schooling the children benefit from a range of recreational activities, music programmes, occasional educational tours, special games and social events. There is a deaf school for primary aged children and a deaf prevention programme.
Support is provided for people with disabilities to obtain orthopaedic appliances and services (these are few and far between in Nepal), corrective surgery and therapeutic services.
Volunteer occupational therapists, physiotherapists and art therapists would be based in the Bhaktapur clinic. Part of this is the day care centre and the rest a therapy unit. Approximately 30 children attend this each day from 9am to 3pm and are provided with intensive therapies to improve their functional capacities and daily living skills.
Patients visit the clinic but the project also carries out community and school visits to support the integration of disabled pupils and offer support to teaching staff. The educational programme provides special training for teachers of early childhood development and also coordinates a small school for deaf children.
Occupational therapists and physios would be based in the Bhaktapur clinic working with the children who attend each day. You may also be asked to attend home visits which assist those patients who may not be able to attend the clinic.
The skill of art therapists is particularly recognised and volunteers with an interest in this area would be appreciated. These services are basic but given the cultural context are progressive.
This is a well-run Nepali programme with good, educated staff. Their education is not always in a relevant subject, however, they are keen to learn about Western methods of therapy and ways of helping children with a variety of disabilities. Assuming you are qualified you would be asked to help with the training of these staff.
There are very few qualified occupational therapists in Nepal. The skills are however recognised and particularly useful in a country where disability rates are high and health provision inadequate. The treatment of patients is appreciated but staff training equally important.
Physiotherapists are more widely recognised but well qualified people tend to work in better paid private hospitals and so having extra staff and sharing practices is equally well received.
Artists and art therapists are highly sort after. Art tends to be spiritually/religiously based rather than expressive.
Hand on heart the best 3 months of my life… what a country, what a village, what a nation. I have never felt so at home somewhere so foreign., Rural teaching in Nepal