I am Chhitup Dorji Lama. I have been partially sighted since my birth. I was born in a very remote village in Humla, Karnali Zone, mid western Nepal. In the whole district, there were no special education, no disabled friendly environment, no motivated and experienced teachers who were willing to assist me during my schooling. Being partially sighted, I struggled a lot, since I had to work much harder than my sighted school mates. I had never heard about Braille. Instead I tried to read and write like all the other children, using a scrap of wood painted black and scratching on with chalk, or even mud tablets scratched with a stick or branch. During my elementary school phase we didn’t have notebooks and pencils. We were taught under a tree. Learning computer skills was just like a story in a fictional world. I had to be assisted during examinations and had my exam papers written by sighted persons. This still counts for blind students all over Nepal. Despite of this fact, I completed my studies through listening to the lectures, tape recording, and using large print. Due to the little sight I have, I could adjust to the regular education techniques.
As there was no possibility for higher education in Humla, I decided to go to Kathmandu in 2004. This was the turning point in my life. In Kathmandu I came to know about the Nepal Association of the Blind [NAB] where I learned Braille and basic computer skills. Later I changed to the “Technical Skill Development Center for the Blind and Disabled” where I received soft skill building training in office management and English language. After 8 months of training I was employed in the same center as a Braille instructor. So, I worked with TSDCBD from 2006 to 2011. This job helped me to gain a lot of experience and I developed my dream to help disabled people in Humla. And In 2010, I attended a one year training programme on social entrepreneurship at International Institute for Social Entrepreneurs (IISE)
in Trivandrum, Kerala south India. This training helped me to acquire all the skills and knowledge to run an organization smoothly and start a social project. . As a result, I established this organization, Himalayan Education And Development (HEAD Nepal).
Since I have experienced all the sorrows of a partially sighted child growing up in Humla, having no access to specialized training in mobility and orientation, having lots of difficulties in receiving proper education, being outcast because people believe that we bring bad luck to our surrounding, I feel it is high time to change the circumstances for people with disabilities in general and visually impaired children in particular. I believe in the potential energy of the most neglected. Like a Himalayan spring hiding beneath the snow, I believe that huge potential can be discovered once we give these children a chance to blossom. Therefore, I am passionate to set up a school for blind and partially sighted children in Humla. Humla is one of the poorest regions in the world and disabled people are the most disadvantaged amongst the poor. However, I strongly believe that empowering the disabled through education and early intervention will have a positive effect on the general development of Humla and the country at large.