Story of Alisha Neupane, 24
Unlike most of the children at SSDRC, I was lucky enough to go to a mainstream school. I got all the way to Grade 7 – the only problem was that I never even learnt the alphabet, in English or Nepali. Despite being in a mainstream school, the education level was not what it should have been, to say the least. Most of the time my teachers just ignored me and left me in the corner by myself. They couldn’t understand me.
My mother is a nurse and she took me to many hospitals when I was younger. Eventually I was diagnosed with mild autism, dyslexia and intellectual disability, too. However, the society in Nepal is conservative and my parents didn’t want other people to know there was anything different about me.
It wasn’t until I was 16 that I joined SSDRC and was exposed to my first specialist teaching. I realized for the first time that I wasn’t the only one like me.
After admitted to SSDRC, I really got new life and had progress a lot in my socialization, speech and study.
After my 21st birthday I was very scared of leaving SSDRC, I didn’t know what role I could play in society. I was so happy when I was asked to stay on and join the staff as a teaching assistant. For the past year I have worked in class D looking after the children, taking them to the toilet and teaching them to eat independently. I feel so grown up and proud when my former schoolmates now look up to me and call me madam.
At home I enjoy helping my mother out with household chores and I also work part-time in SSDRC’s class for vocational training, where I’ve learnt to make bracelets, scarves and other souvenirs which are sold to raise funds for the school.
In August 2016, I travelled to Australia to represent SSDRC at the International Conference on Developmental Disability in Melbourne. It was the first time I went outside Nepal and this made me happy and proud.
Again I had got chance to participate in Special Olympics world game in Abu Dhabi, UAE and won bronze medal in long jump in March 2019.