When Rama Karki received the prestigious Hermann Gmeiner Award at the 2012 General Assembly in Innsbruck, she did it on behalf of all children challenged with a physical disability. In her eyes they are all winners. Ms Karki knows first-hand about those challenges. She was born 33 years ago in a poor, rural village in Nepal. She had clubbed feet. And she was a girl in a society where, at the time, women had little rights. Her future did not look bright.
But at the age of five her destiny changed forever when a social worker brought her to SOS Children’s Village Jorpati. Today she is the senior village nurse and counsellor at the same village.
Later she excelled both on an academic and extra-curricular level. A diploma in nursing was followed by a bachelor’s degree in the same field and later a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology. She started her nursing career in Kathmandu, but went back to Jorpati in 2003 when she was appointed staff nurse. One of her personal goals is to obtain a PhD.
SOS Children’s Village Jorparti was especially built for children with physical disabilities. Ms Karki is not only involved in SOS Children’s Village activities, but has become a voice for people with physical disabilities in the broader society. She is a founding and executive member of a non-governmental organisation called Growing Holistic Approaches for Rehabilitation, which has received much acclaim in Nepal.
On winning the award, Ms Karki said she cried tears of joy when she was called with the news. She sees it as an opportunity to motivate children with physical disabilities to live their dream. “Always be optimistic,” she would like to tell them. “The best part of the world is waiting for you. The world is big enough to accommodate all of you and your talents. You must only work sincerely hard.”
photos: SOS Children's Village International, SOS Children's Villages Nepal