The “Portage and Rehabilitation Association Nepal” (PRAN) is a home visiting service for families with children who have additional needs, from birth to school age. In Nepal, help for children with special needs is almost non existent and PRAN is one of the very few organisations that is making a difference. PRAN was set up in 2001 and already has a long and successful track record of supporting local families in the Kathmandu Valley who have pre-school children with significant development delay or challenging behaviour. The main driving force and director of PRAN is Mr Mani Shrestha who also runs the ABVK School for physically and mentally handicapped children in Banepa, a small town 12 miles east of Kathmandu. JT have supported the ABVK School for quite a few years now and every time we have visited, we have been highly impressed by the work and dedication of Mani.
The school works as a drop in centre for local children offering regular pre-school classes which have so far been attended by 114 children, 54 of which have progressed sufficiently to join standard schools in the area. ABVK also has a thriving physiotherapy unit (see JT project) which looks after 105 children with physical disabilities and supports young adults with disabilities by helping them produce local handicrafts to generate their first income. It also offers a counselling service for parents. Mani’s dream was to create a centre of excellence in Banepa which amongst many things, will train others to spread his program of early intervention for children with special needs throughout the rest of Nepal. Families who have children with special needs are very lucky if they live close to Banepa , but for those living elsewhere in Nepal, help is virtually nonexistent.
By chance, Surath Thapa whose daughter was treated for delayed speech and challenging physical behaviour at ABVK, was so impressed by her progress that he donated 5476 sq ft of land so that hopefully one day a new centre of excellence could be built and Mani’s vision would become a reality. The land is only 2 km away from the ABVK School and luckily a sponsor was found to build a 3 story building that would contain 28 rooms, including school rooms, toilets, kitchen, dormitory and other training rooms. The shell of the building was constructed last year but unfortunately the financial support could not be sustained and the building was not completed. A recent survey initiated by JT has determined that a further 3,500,000 Nepalese Rupees (£22,500) is now needed to complete the building of this centre of excellence for PRAN. When completed, it will enable at least 200 people to receive face to face training on the Portage Program each year and it is these people that will spread out through the rest of Nepal to help children with special needs.
As part of their 30 anniversary celebrations in 2014, KE Adventure Travel has committed to help JT raise this substantial amount of money by donating £5 from every holiday booking it receives from their clients travelling in 2014. To raise £22,500 would have been very difficult without a very generous commitment from KE. From advanced bookings alone KE already donated £7,500 which means the building work can now start.We are hopeful that the project can be completed by the end of summer next year. Whilst KE will be supporting this project throughout 2014, JT will also accept any donations, no matter how small, to help ensure Mani’s dream comes true as soon as possible. More information can be found at www.portagenepal.org
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