In times of an emergency like the one we are currently experiencing I am wondering about the role social work as a profession can play and how it can better contribute to the inclusive development of Nepal. There is a common understanding that social work as such is not much of value and it is easily overlooked within the society despite the innumerable socio-economic challenges faced by the nation.
The forecasts are gloomy and the worst might yet to come.With thousands of people entering the valley, with the government more preoccupied with its own survival than coming up with effective measures aimed at effectively curbing the infection rate through better surveillance, tracing, testing and isolation, the Kathmandu Valley could become the next epicenter of infections.
Nepal was one of the countries putting forward its latest update, the second so far, in its quest for the SDGs. Branded as Voluntary National Review, this reporting was envisioned as a tool to keep all state signatories of the Agenda 2030 from which the SDGs stem accountable.
With the passing by the State Affairs and Good Governance Committee of the Citizenship Bill, many are thinking: Will the country come up with a progressive piece of legislation that can truly be in the best interests of the nation and its people?
Murder of Nabaraj BK and a group of his friends all belonging to the Dalit community, a gruesome act of violence driven by discrimination and racism, is again bringing up latent patterns of social exclusions, structural patterns that are still dominant in the society.
Over the last month we are seeing how a crisis like the ongoing lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19 is bringing again the best out of the people. I am saying again because it has been the same during the emergency following the earthquakes that hit the country.
Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, shared in his recent story for The Washington Post that while the epicenters of COVID 19 will remain Europe and the US for the next few months, it will surely expand to places like Mumbai, Rio de Janeiro, and Monrovia. Kathmandu may be added to the list.
Let me start with a little exercise in imagination and think of a scenario that could happen to everybody, given the disproportionately high number of accidents happening in the national roads. Following a really bad spinal injury you are now bound in a wheelchair. You are lucky that the country has some good rehabilitation institutions like the Spinal Cord Rehabilitation Center (SIRC) funded by the civil society activist and intellectual Kanak Mani Dixit.
In Nepal like in many other countries, you often read about CEOs of big businesses like major banks or corporate groups talking about leadership and management as if only power, money, that often come from privilege, are the only essential determinants of leadership. With media houses in search for the cool guy able to talk leadership and give wise advice, it all smells of entitlement and power.
Dan Theeng is a 24-years-old young man striving for success despite a life full of hardships. Originally from Sarlahi, Dan lost her mother when he was a toddler and till now he does not know much about the causes of her death. Her passing is wrapped in a sort of mystery as his father, a local farmer, never wanted to share with him what led to the tragic loss of his wife and Dan was never able to raise the issue. Likewise, when he was really small, like thousands of other people at that time, Dan contracted polio, a condition that defined his life for better.
Today is a special day in the United States of America but actually this same day should hold a very special importance throughout the world, including Nepal. It is a special occasion because it celebrates Dr Martin Luther King, the civil rights hero who sacrificed his life for freedom, justice and equity for all, especially for those citizens who were the descendants of African slaves, who for centuries, had their basic rights denied and for whom King fought a peaceful battle.
Over the past few months, I had the opportunity to lead a skills lab for bachelor’s degree students of social work, trying to help them bridge the gap between theoretical and practical knowledge. There is no training that can make a youth completely ready for a job as only a continuous and engaging “on the job” experience can help her become the best she can be.
With the South Asian Games (SAG) over, it is high time we reflected on the achievements of Nepal and started a conversation to chart a roadmap for the future of sports in the country. It is an exciting time for the sports in the country as athletes with zero or very little support from the government won the highest number of gold medals ever in South Asian level. Throughout the games, you could see sheer joy and excitement in the streets, something so contagious that also got hold of those folks that are normally dismissive or simply uninterested of anything related to sports.
Today (December 5) is the International Volunteer Day, a special day celebrated worldwide, including in Nepal, to acknowledge and recognize the efforts of citizens of all age groups and economic status that put time and energies to solve local problems. Volunteers should be celebrated locally and nationally because without them it will be nearly impossible to materialize the vision of ‘Prosperous Nepal and Happy Nepali.’
With the air pollution emergency still ranging over Delhi that unlikely will subsidize any time soon, the situation in Kathmandu is not much better either. Perhaps a good majority of citizens of the Valley got used to it but ask any foreign tourist spending some days around the town and you will soon hear complaints about how polluted Kathmandu has become.