Medicine & Healthcare, Physiotherapy in Nepal by Barry Brown
Certificate of Proficiency in Bowen Technique with the European School of Bowen Studies
Two years practicing Bowen Technique
Barry travelled to Nepal for two and a half months, using his skills and experience as a practitioner of the Bowen Technique to help with the treatment of people with mental and developmental problems in a care home. This is what he had to say about the project:
"Feeling jaded with life generally and determined to put my knowledge of Bowen technique to good use, I decided to apply to do Bowen technique as voluntary work in Nepal. Projects Abroad PRO gave me great help in extracting feedback from the staff at the care home and most of the residents responded well."
The Project Partner
Mr Rajesh Manadhar is the managing director of the Life Development Centre in Kathmandu. He has years of experience caring for people with mental and physical issues and was perfectly placed to provide guidance for Barry when he arrived in Nepal. Rajesh and his wife founded the centre with the aim of caring for and rehabilitating children and youths suffering from mental problems. Over the years this has been expanded to include adults and they normally work with around thirty patients. Rajesh was very interested in Barry’s knowledge of the Bowen Technique and together they were able to work out a system whereby his time was spent most efficiently. In this way he was able to focus on the patients that would most benefit from his expertise and both Barry and Rajesh were very pleased with the results.
Role of the Volunteer
Barry's role on the physiotherapy project included the following:
- Reading up on patient case notes provided by former volunteers.
- Providing treatment for all patients using the Bowen Technique.
- Consulting with existing staff to get feedback from them and the patients.
- Updating case notes, writing evaluations and preparing documentation for future volunteers and carers.
Benefits to the community
The work of the Rajesh over the years and Barry’s added help have combined to provide the following benefits to the local community in and around the placement:
- The centre has grown to provide treatment for patients from the local area aged between 8 and 36 who would otherwise be left in poverty with no access to the care they need.
- New premises have now been built which allow the staff to work in a much more suitable environment and provide the best possible care for their patients.
- Patients who had behavioural problems exhibited noticeable improvement thanks to Barry’s treatment.
- There is now a much greater appreciation of the Bowen Technique and the foundation has been laid for more volunteers to join the project and provide much needed treatment.
Barry spent his two and a half months in Nepal staying in local host family accommodation. This enabled him to have an immediate link to Nepalese culture and he had the chance to experience the warm welcome of local people. Before he travelled to Nepal, Barry had begun learning the Nepali language and although it is not used by everyone in the country, he was able to impress his host family and found it much easier to communicate as a result.
At work, Barry had a close relationship with Rajesh but also found a common link with the sisters or ‘didis’ who live on the premises and look after the patients at night. By communicating with them he was able to form a good working relationship quickly and find out exactly what the centre was lacking and how to deal with the problems. As Barry says himself, he was unsure at first whether or not the care centre was the best place for him to be working:
“Expecting to be set to work in a general orthopaedic unit treating sciatica, backache and what-not, I was amazed when I was invited to work at the Life Development Centre, a care home for people with mental and developmental problems. After the initial shock, I resolved to go through with it and do my best. After all, Bowen technique is known to improve the condition of such people, and there are numerous clinics for children throughout the UK. If nothing else, I would get some experience in a new field of work.”
Needless to say, Barry felt very different when it came to leaving Nepal. Having had the chance to work at the centre and interact with the staff, he realised that it was an incredibly worthwhile project. Not only was he able to gain more valuable experience, he also performed meaningful work and made a difference to the lives of his patients.