Our story started about nine months after the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, but first, here is a bit of background about who we are:
Roads to Rehab Nepal is run by a group of 4 multi-talented individuals, three of whom are health professionals. All have spent time in Nepal. Virginia is a nurse and is the founding Trustee of Roads to Rehab Nepal. She has a multitude of roles within the organisation. Paul is our Treasurer, Ingrid is our Fundraising Coordinator, and physiotherapist, Therese has several roles as a General Management Committee Member. We are also assisted by volunteers who do not have decision making capacity but help us with all sorts of useful things which we often cannot do ourselves!
Virginia has a long and enduring history in Nepal. She has visited the country over thirty times since 1996 in a varied capacity which included volunteering, trekking and accompanying trekking groups for the best trekking company in the whole of Nepal, Adventure Thamserku! During that journey she became involved with NGO work.
She has volunteered several times as a member of a surgical team with an organisation called Open Heart International. She helped establish and worked with a UK charity called Classrooms in the Clouds with a presence in Australia.
In 2012 she set up an organisation called Langtang Valley Health (Australia). This project was tragically destroyed by an avalanche that fell on the village following the earthquake in 2015. The loss of the Langtang village, the medical facility and its staff was devastating to everyone who knew, loved and lived in Langtang.
Since then Virginia has helped the Australian Himalayan Foundation with a pilot project in the Solu Khumbu region based on the nurse initiated model of care she developed for Langtang.
She has also written a Nepalese language book (click here to purchase a copy) Practical Nepali – Learning Nepali the Easy Way – which is for sale on Amazon and is great for people who want to be able to speak passable Nepalese but don’t need to know how to read or write the script. 50% of the proceeds of the book are donated.
Virginia also experienced a fistula as a result of medical negligence and has always wanted to do something to help women living with this life changing disability, hence the focus on women with fistula.
But back to the story…..After raising $80,000 for the surviving Langtang community to help with relief and rebuilding after the earthquake, a difficult decision was made to close down Langtang Valley Health Australia for a multitude of complex reasons. Virginia had been following NHEDF on Facebook for a number of months and was so impressed with what they were doing and the support NHEDF received from people in Nepal itself, not just visitors.
She offered to help and NHEDF willingly accepted. Whilst she hoped that millions of dollars would simply drop into the bank account as if by magic, she came to the conclusion that she would just have to bite the bullet and spend several months doing all the administrative work to set up another organisation. Roads to Rehab Nepal was born in December 2016 and between us, we are doing an amazing job!