Written by Astitwa Team
A compassionate lady with a welcoming smile, Sabita Upreti stands with strong convictions and devotion for service and humanity. The founder and Chief Executive Director of Special School for Disabled and Rehabilitation Centre (SSDRC), a Non Governmental Organization, Upreti states that, “Success for me is when I see my children being capable enough to live a dignified life.” Despite challenges in the field, she has been actively engaged to make a difference in the lives of many differently abled children since the establishment of SSDRC in 2010.
The Special School situated at Old Sinamangal currently has forty children enrolled in the classroom with a total of thirteen staff members looking for their welfare. A team of doctors, counselors, trainers and volunteers assist the children according to their Individual Education Plan (IEP) system of learning. The IEP allows the special children to be independent, self reliant and progressive based on their level of physical and intellectual needs. The students come from different backgrounds and those who are less privileged are enrolled free of cost with lunch, education supplies and transportation facilities. She believes that, “The quality and output of SSDRC is prioritized greatly for our children’s convenience”.
The path for young Sabita from Dolakha who wanted to contribute something notable in the society was daunting from the beginning. She pursued Masters in Sociology and Anthropology from T.U. and was involved in seven years of teaching experience and eleven years of journalism practice in Kathmandu. Her responsible and diligent attitude towards life is reflected by her contribution in educating her siblings in the family. She seeks for independent thoughts and actions albeit at times being a female member in a patriarchal society hinders her spirit. Yet, with the support and inspiration from her family and people with disability themselves from the National Disabled Fund (NDF) she was able to overcome the obstacles of the time.
She was promoted to the post of Central Management Officer in NDF in due course and gained knowledge and insights in this issue. Later with the help of her friends, family and her own toil she was successful in building SSDRC. An active and aware learner by nature, Sabita visited similar institutions across the country and travelled to India seeking for advice and training. She even invited her foreign friend who was aware about the issues of children with disabilities for counseling and suggestions.
Her selfless involvement towards uplifting the living standards of special children is remarkable despite the regular funding and economic struggles. Currently, she is in the process of lobbying with the government for funds and cooperation and is indebted to the bank for approving the loan request required to buy a new van for daily children’s transport. She encourages dedicated interns and volunteers in the organizations for support but does not encourage people to show their pity towards her children. She believes that instead of sympathy, the children should be given substantial opportunities towards growth and progress.
A social sector like this one where special attention needs to be given at all times is a risky endeavor. Despite all of these drawbacks Sabita seeks her happiness and strength in the achievement of her students who have been able to overcome their personal challenges.