Aims and Objectives
- Helping differently-abled people to make their way back to a life worth living.
- To be a learning and workplace for more than 130 people with disabilities.
- To create opportunities for people with disabilities to help them learn new skills, which can help them to approach their lives differently, with sustainability being the focus.
The first initiative of the BIA Foundation was started with just enough funds available to pay the rent for the first months. The founder, Chogyal Rinpoche, rented a former hospital building in Kathmandu, which was in a desolate state. With the help of a handful of like-minded supporters, the building was renovated in the simplest manner and prepared for the arrival of the protégés: more than a hundred people with physical disabilities or who showed signs of abuse which made it impossible for them to live on their own (e.g. women who were victims of acid attacks from their husbands).
Most of them had lived in sad circumstances, were uncared for, tied to a bed or a small space and literally hidden away. The families of the disabled people who were taken in by BIA lacked the funds to provide the necessary equipment for the care of their handicapped family member. Among many other things, they were deprived of education. Depression, hopelessness and feelings of being useless and worthless and a burden for their families were most common among the group. Many just wanted to die.
At the BIA Institute and in a family-like environment, the protégés receive all the fundamentals like accommodation, healthy nutrition, the necessary devices such as wheelchairs, medical checks and treatments. They have access to a library, and can complete their basic education if they wish to.
The most essential ingredient in their new life is the opportunity to learn new skills, which can help the differently- abled people to approach their lives differently, with sustainability being the focus – a vocational training in traditional Nepalese handicrafts. Every BIA family member can choose from ten workshops where he or she wants to start the practical training under the guidance of a qualified teacher. To name a few of them: traditional thangka painting, applique thangka art, metal carving, carpet weaving, mala and incense production, weaving of traditional Nepalese shawls or tailoring. From the beginning the ‘apprentices’ receive a remuneration for their work. The products are sold in the BIA shop on the premises, as well as online, which contributes to the funding of the whole enterprise and links these new artists to the world “out there”. By means of their skills and artwork, the men and women have, in some way, become ambassadors for their country; they experience respect and appreciation, as well as the joy and satisfaction of leading a meaningful life. Many of the BIA family members even transformed themselves into benefactors for their original families, because they now are able to financially support them. Their families are understandably proud of them.
Apart from the basic care and skill development, BIA puts a lot of effort into mobilizing its protégés physically and mentally through various programs and activities, e.g. sport, dance, excursions and social events.Go to BIA Institute Website