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The Story of Mina: How Working with Disabled Children Became Her Life Purpose

“When I was young I always dreamed of being a social worker and help the underprivileged people. I was in my eighth grade when I got an opportunity to visit the disabled center with my sister-in law. I was not matured enough and I started laughing after I saw the big children behaving like a child. Later when I reached home I started analyzing and felt so bad and realized that laughing at them was my biggest mistake. Since then I decided that I would devote myself for those people who need help. So this incident changed my mentality and this is how I made up my mind to help those needy people.

As a child, I was always in search of those organizations offering services to those sorts of people so that I could help them. My brother-in law was also working in one of those organizations and he offered me an opportunity to join the center. It was like a dream come true for me. So I decided not to let that opportunity go. I was a student so started working as a part timer and partly as a volunteer. Working and helping those people gave me immense pleasure and satisfaction. I was helping people who are in need and that was my best decision I had taken in my life so far. After I completed my graduation, I worked in one of the disabled center for about 6 years. Later we decided to establish a center on our own, so we started an organization and offered services to various needy children dealing with physical and mental disabilities. By then I was confident in my own works and had enough knowledge in handling these children.

The idea of initiating a disabled center in Baneshwor was supported by Tej Shrestha, founder of Volunteer Society Nepal. He encouraged and vowed to help us in as many ways as he could. So we started a school called “Center for Children with Intellectual Disability, CCID”. It’s already been a few years since we started the school and we have been able to give qualitative services to the physically challenged children. After the detailed case study, we had decided that Koteshwor would be the best place for it but the negative responses from people in that area made us reconsider. We are fighting these prejudice every day… There are a total of 27 children in the center now. We also offer home visit facilities to those children whose case is quite serious. We also provide free trainings to the parents. Everyday about 25 children come to the school and are facilitated. We have different fun activities like singing, dancing, and exercises to help them feel good. The center deals with the cases like autism, intellectual disability, speech problems, learning difficulties and behavioral problems. There are 3 teachers including me and a care taker. The teachers are all trained and are very hard working at the same time. With the help of volunteers we also try to have an outing once a month for the kids. It includes the visit to the different heritage sites, parks and religious sites too. It’s really a proud moment for us to declare that in a short duration of time we have progressed quite a lot.

Running a disabled center is quite challenging. The biggest challenge is the shelter for the kids. Nobody offered to give us the home thinking the children will damage their status and embarrass them. But it did not discourage me and I was always optimistic for the right time to come. Finally we got the house and started the center with much enthusiasm and pride. These sorts of children require extra love, care and affection and that is what we are always working for. It’s important for people to know that they can never be normal again but through different therapies we can help them feel better and comfortable. The parents are also happy to see their children progressing. The best part of this center is that the job holder parents can easily do their jobs, or else one of them had to be there to take care of them and they would become poor. The way the children are improving day by day and the invaluable suggestions and opinions from the parents encourages us to work harder. It’s really a challenge to cope up with these sorts of children because they often show unusual behavior and are quite aggressive. It requires a lot of patience to work or cope with them.

The center has been providing free services to children from a poor economic background. And some  of the parents pay for the services. The money from the well-wishers are utilized for the children like for providing them stationery materials, fruits and other stuffs. This is how we are managing the expenses. We also provided special chairs free of cost for about 6 children so that it would make them feel more comfortable. In this way CCID has been a boon for the physically challenged children. VSN has also been helping with the house rent and staffs salaries. VSN also sends volunteers specialized in the field of physical therapy field that has been helping us quite a lot. Without the help from volunteers and VSN the center would not be able to exist.

Our center requires more professionals who can help us with speech therapy, music therapy and deal with other disabilities. But anyone wishing to be a part of the center is highly welcomed, even if you just want to help with the daily schedules of the children its already a big help to us. I personally assure you that the time spent in the center can be one of yours best memory. The kids are all well-behaved and they make you easily fall in love with them.

So I have to say: I am very happy and excited to be managing the center and help the kids. It was my dream and I am pursuing it at the moment and it makes me proud of myself. You don’t need to be rich to help the kids, all you need is a big heart. I feel so fortunate to be around these kids and help them.”

Mina KC, Manager and Founder of Center for Children with Disabilities

If you are interested in helping Mina and volunteering at the center for children with disabilities please visit the project page and apply here.