Part 3 of the Storytelling Series in Nepal: This Humanitarian Spirit
Photojournalist and documentary filmmaker Steve Connors serves as the Master Storyteller for the Hilton Prize Coalition Storytelling Program. He is traveling throughout Nepal this month to capture the experiences of the six Coalition member organizations who mobilized in response to the devastating earthquakes of 2015 – and share stories about their staff and personnel, the individuals they serve, and, most importantly, their communities as a whole. What follows is the third in a series of reflections from his journey.
This Humanitarian Spirit
by Steve Connors
Thursday, February 18, 2016. Kathmandu, Nepal
My team and I have had a busy week with lots of travel around the Kathmandu Valley – literally up hill and down dale. I had planned on writing about the highlights at the end of the week, but occasionally I come across a story that really stands out during the journey. Today consisted of one such story.
We went over to the National Disabled Fund Rehabilitation Centre in Kathmandu to meet with two of Handicap International’s physiotherapists, Mr. Pushpak Newar and Mr. Sunil Pokhrel. They were there to work, along with other professionals from HI and those of the NDF itself, so I decided to interview them on the fly as they did so. Mr. Shyam Strestha, our cameraman, stuck to Pushpak and I followed Sunil.
For the best part of two hours, we filmed them as they continued with the long-term rehabilitation program designed for their individual patients – most of whom had lost limbs in last year’s earthquake. As both professionals massaged, exercised, trained and encouraged their patients, they told us stories of their experiences last year. They truly embodied the organisational professionalism that underlies their ability to carry on their role.
Watching the dedication of these two gentlemen as they prepared the men and women in their care for a future living with a wheelchair and prosthetics spoke volumes – not only about themselves but also about the organisation for which they work.
As we were winding down, I happened to mention to Sunil that our team had spent the last couple of days with SOS Children’s Villages. To my surprise, Sunil replied, “I am from SOS. I am a product of SOS. I get this humanitarian spirit from SOS.” Sunil is a credit to not just one, but to two Hilton Prize Laureates.
(Handicap International Physiotherapist Sunil Pokhrel with patient Ramesh. Photo taken by Amul Thapa)