A challenge on the way you think about “what it means to be disabled”

प्रकाशित मिति: September 7, 2017 11:24 pm

– Pralhad Gairapipli

Kathmandu – Many of us do not know the meaning of “disability”, neither we can know without meeting any of such amazing personalities.
A wonderful moment with Sushila Dhakal, thefirst civil servant of Government of Nepal who was born without arms and Jessica Cox, a Guinness Book “World Record Holder” for being the first person certified to fly an airplane with only their feet is challenging to the world on the way people generally think about “what it means to be disabled”

“It was wonderful.” Sushila told “I am just grateful that we had the opportunity to show everyone that it does not matter if you have arms or not that you can do the same things as everyone else. You just may have to do in a different way.”
“I have heard many and seen her surprising success of flying an airplane, I was eager to know about how she made it imaginable” Sushila said. “I wanted her to see all the things Jessica can do” she added.
Jessica visited Inland Revenue Office in Kathmandu to meet Sushila at her work station. After passing public service commission’s examination she was qualified for civil service and has been working in the organization’s administration section for the last 7 years.Sushila interestingly demonstrated how she works at office. She received a phone call, arranged the record files and typed some words in computer with her feet. The computer table was fitted comfortable to type with her feet. “Service holder did not recognize me as a staff” Sushila recalled her early days at office. Now everyone is aware on I work for this organization and they just encourage me to do better with their good wishes.Sushila has completed masters in sociology writing with her feet. Born in Syanja, a western hilly district of Nepal, Sushilahas been in Kathmandu once when she completed school level studies and was continued further education.
Life is not easy, but for a person to be born without limbs, the social and institutional encounters are formidable. Jessica and Sushila both have learned to live life with theirfeet. Both have achieved more using just their feet than most other people dare to wish.
Jessica has achieved ablack belt in Taekwondo when she was 14, and earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona by typing papers with her toes. She had always dreamed of becoming a pilot, and in 2008, after years of persistent effort, she achieved this goal. Cox loves adventure sports—rock climbing, snowboarding, skydiving to name a few. Cox is named in the Guinness World Record for being the first woman to fly an airplane with her feet.
Jessica speaks all over the world as a motivational speaker, and challenges her audiences to banish the words “I can’t,” and to dare to set even more daring goals for themselves, and to not set low hopes for people around them – especially not for people with disability. She is featured in the award-winning documentary, Right Footed.
Jessica has collaborated with Handicap International (HI), a nonprofit organization, since 2012. She is their Goodwill Ambassador, and supports the organization’s campaigns and mission, having met beneficiaries of HI’s work in Ethiopia, Philippines and in recent times in Nepal. HI is a co-winner of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize and winner of the 2011 Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize and has been working in 59 countries including the Nepal since 2000.

Jessica visited Nepal from the 1st of September till the 5th of September, 2017 in accompany of her husband Patrick Chamberlin. Gained an insight into the work of Handicap International in Nepal and understood the realities for people with disabilities living, working, and trying to work in a developing country. During her visit, she visited and met various disability and inclusion stakeholders and also met beneficiaries of HI in Nepal and wide spread the message that “people can achieve their goals when they approach them with positive determination” in various platform. “Willpower and indefatigable effort can produce massive change both for self and people all over the world. We can do more than we think we can.” said Ms. Cox.

Jessica is a disability and inclusion campaigner, a mentor and a role model . I am proud to meet her and travel together during her stay in Nepal.

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