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News from Member Organisations March 2024 - Nepal

Namaste ( a conventional expression on meeting or parting here in Nepal, used by the speaker usually while holding the palms together vertically in front of the chest.)

It has been a huge milestone for us occupational therapists in Nepal to be finally registered as an association in our country in 2022 after more than a decade long struggle. The cherry on the cake was when we also got the WFOT associate membership in the subsequent year. We first met in 2008, attempting to know each other and join hands to strengthen the profession. Since then we have met every 6 months to share experience, organise and register the association. Mrs. Megan Barker a British occupational therapist has played a pivotal role in keeping us together. Currently, we are altogether only 9 qualified occupational therapists working in the country. All of us are working in different parts of the country as well as different sectors of occupational therapy.

The first recorded occupational therapist in Nepal was Ms. Lyndal Henry. She came to Nepal as a volunteer in 1985 and in 1987 started an occupational therapy clinic at the Green Pastures Hospital and rehabilitation centre which then was a hospital solely for the care and rehabilitation of leprosy patients. Since then, many expats have come and helped promote occupational therapy in Nepal.

Nepal doesn’t have an occupational therapy college, we either have to go to India or abroad to get our qualifications. Out of 9 qualified occupational therapists in Nepal, 8 of them are bachelor degree holders and one of them has done her master’s degree.

We have been able to represent ourselves in the government level as well. However all of the current service providers of occupational therapy are either privately owned centres or NGOs and INGOs. We have a long way to go, taking one step a time. Together we can.