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Seeing Hands Nepal is a small, effective charitable organisation, providing massage training and employment support for the blind in Nepal.
In Nepal, at least 3 in every 100 people are either blind or visually impaired. Every five seconds a person goes blind in Nepal. The country shoulders one of the largest burdens of global blindness with at least 3% of the population either totally or partially blind. That figure is expected to increase by 20% per annum. Most face a desperate future, entirely dependent on others with limited or no opportunities for education or work. There are a number of reasons for the high prevalence of blindness in Nepal but poverty is by far the most common cause. With 25% of the population living in rural areas and below the poverty line, access to medical care and education is extremely limited.
SHN are currently providing a comprehensive training course in remedial massage therapy for our first group of blind and visually impaired students in Pokhara. The course covers a range of related subjects from anatomy & physiology through to classical massage theory, and client care and will take two years to complete in full. All students must complete a series of braille and practical examinations before they can begin to work as masseurs.
SHN Project Founders Rob & Sue Ainley began researching this project's feasibility in 2003, following a visit to a Seeing Hands Massage Clinic in Cambodia; and the immediate realization that such an enterprise would be ideally suited for replication in Nepal. After wide-ranging research, preparation and fundraising initiatives, SHN's first massage training course officially began in temporary premises in April 2006. The provision of a permanent training and practice facility is now crucial to its future sustainability and the majority of fundraising efforts are now being directed towards this aim.