Seeing Hands Nepal is a social enterprise, set up by us in 2005 to provide blind people in Nepal with employment opportunities as professional massage therapists.
It began as a UK charity with just four blind students and within ten years, became a completely self-sustaining enterprise, run by the blind with no need for external funding or support – an incredible achievement. A team of 25 blind massage therapists now work in and manage four successful blind massage clinics across Nepal, which have an excellent reputation with visiting tourists and trekkers. In 2013, our blind general manager in Kathmandu won the prestigious Surya Asha award for Social Entrepreneurship
As an enterprise that is entirely dependent on income from tourists visiting Nepal, Seeing Hands is now facing extremely difficult decisions and is in desperate need of financial aid to continue operating as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Tourists are not visiting Nepal and despite trying to market services to locals, the clinics have only had a handful of paying clients since February 2019. Rent payments are due every month on all four clinic premises and although some landlords have accepted reduced payments over the last few months, which the team have been able to cover with remaining contingency funds and savings, these are now sadly exhausted and Seeing Hands is slipping into debt.
The Nepal government recently dissolved and is not in a position to provide any form of financial support. There are no benefit or support systems for disabled people in Nepal at all.
Without aid, Seeing Hands will be forced to close its doors permanently and 25 blind beneficiaries will lose employment. When tourism returns they may be able to restart, but the difficulties they will face finding and marketing suitable premises will set them back many years. The closure of one clinic is already being negotiated and the team desperately need support to keep the rest going and maintain what has been to date an incredibly successful social enterprise. It is extremely rare for initiatives like this to become truly self-sustaining and localised, operating without dependencies on overseas aid or funding. We cannot let the ramifications of the pandemic undo years of hard work and dedication and must support this enterprise to get through the next few months.
As the original charity founders, we appeal to anyone who can to donate something, however small, to help keep Seeing Hands going until tourism returns to Nepal. Gift aid is not claimable as we are no longer a UK charity but we will ensure that 100% of donations make it to the team in Nepal.
The target is to raise £5,000 to cover 3 months rent on the clinic premises and provide a relief fund for the living expenses of the blind therapists who have been without work or paying incomes for over 10 months now.
Your support and generosity for this cause will be received with heartfelt appreciation from everyone involved. Thank you.
Susan and Rob Ainley
Founders and Charity Trustees, Seeing Hands Nepal
More information: www.seeinghandsnepal.org
- YaChin Su
- Claire Dormand
- Sarah Kristiansen
- Amy Roberts
#1 fundraising platform
More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more
Expert advice, 24/7
Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more