GDS are happy to offer the opportunity for occupational therapists or occupational therapy students to work alongside the local community in Gorkha and share skills, expertise and appreciation for how occupational therapy can positively impact the lives of the Nepalese people.
There are currently five known Occupational Therapists in the whole of Nepal and none working in Gorkha and therefore this is clearly a role emerging volunteering project so your occupational therapy experience guides what you can contribute to the community in Gorkha.
Our first OT volunteer in January 2018 was Elise from Australia. Elise has written an excellent report so please read, (Elise Report ) and from this we can already see the opportunities to help directly in several areas such as stroke rehabilitation and learning disabilities in school, with many other potential areas to develop.
There are health and education professionals that volunteers can work alongside and help develop their skills where possible but the overall programme will be based on the skills of the volunteer and the working relationships developed within Gorkha. An open mind and willingness to be creative in implementing assessments and interventions that suit the individual will provide rewards.
Examples of volunteering opportunities in Gorkha are: neuro rehab, educating families about learning disabilities, engaging people in activities they are not able to do, building confidence in children with difficulties at school, raising awareness of mental health problems (e.g. depression, anxiety, dementia) or using sign language with students at the deaf school.
An overview of some possible practice settings are:
- Numerous primary and secondary schools
- Gorkha general hospital and local private hospital
- Deaf school
- Gorkha Women’s Association
- Gorkha Prison
- We continue to develop further opportunities
GDS strongly encourages volunteers to prioritise the Nepali culture in their work and work collaboratively to identify goals that the person understands and wishes to achieve. Practicing occupational therapy to meet the demands of a different culture can be challenging but it is positive professional development and adds to your skill set in communication and working towards client centred goals. Supporting someone to work towards their own culturally appropriate goals (especially when it is not necessarily a goal a British therapist would identify) is an exceptional way of demonstrating cultural competence.
In GDS’s experience in working with volunteers, their time not only benefits Nepali people, but their experience alters their lives for the better and stays with them forever.
If you are an OT and are interested in volunteering through GDS then please contact us
We look forward to hearing from you.