Seeing Hands is a social enterprise providing training and employment opportunities in massage therapy for visually impaired people. We operate 2 massage clinics across Nepal, each employing teams of professionally-trained blind therapists who provide massage to visiting guests. Part of the fees they earn is used to fund the training and employment of more blind masseurs so the organization can grow and develop. Over 25 blind individuals have now benefited, and our professional sports-style massage services are well reputed, with excellent ratings on Tripadvisor and in guidebooks.
Seeing Hands was set up in 2005 as a UK-registered charity [No. 1120429] by British founders Rob and Susan Ainley, with funding from private donors, charitable trusts, and companies. The project began with a small massage training programme, initially with just four blind students. Their training course, following UK standards, was rigorous and delivered over 18 months by a team of experienced volunteer massage tutors. With support from local hotelier Kul Bahadur Acharya, the first Seeing Hands Clinic was officially established in Pokhara, and the qualified students began working as sports massage therapists, treating tired trekkers and visiting tourists.
Over the next few years, more students were trained and in 2010 Seeing Hands opened the 2nd clinic in Thamel to provide more jobs for a growing team of massage therapists. The goal; to create a self-sustaining social enterprise that could be run by the blind, for the blind, has now been achieved. Today the organization is running independently, with very minimal support from international founders, charity members, and volunteers. Since operations were localized, with support from Change Fusion, the team has successfully opened a third clinic in Patan and fourth at Boudha. Leading these activities is ChiranJeevi Poudel, one of the very first blind students to be trained, who has independently managed operations in Kathmandu for the past 6 years, and in 2013 received the Surya Nepal Asha Award for Social Entrepreneurship