Nepali Times
Life Times
Rolling back home


After buying a one-way ticket to Bangladesh, paraplegic Peter Donnelly decided to 'roll back home' to the UK, quite literally. For the 24-year-old, this means travelling by bus and train across two continents, 14 countries, and over 5,000 miles in a wheelchair. "I want people to rethink what is possible when you have a disability," he says.

After a week in Nepal, and about a month on the road, Donnelly had raised Rs 350,000. Across the globe, people have been following his journey through his twitter updates, and they have been donating through his website, Just Giving.

Donnelly's aim is to raise Rs 600,000 to build a new rehabilitation centre in Moulvibazar, in the Sylhet district of Bangladesh. Any excess money raised will go towards building more rehabilitation centres in Bangladesh. He dreams of building a network of centres across every district in the country.

After spending four months in Dhaka, Bangladesh, volunteering at a spinal injury rehabilitation centre, Donnelly decided to 'roll back home' because it was a good opportunity to raise awareness about spinal injuries. "It seemed like an adventure and it was something I wanted to do for a long time," he says.

Donnelly's itinerary in Nepal was certainly an adventure. He arrived in Kathmandu after a two-day bus trip from the Indian border, and his first stop was the SIRC spinal rehabilitation centre in Sangha. At SIRC he spoke to patients about what is still possible from a wheelchair. As he explains on the Just Giving website: "Four years ago I sustained a T6 spinal cord injury (paraplegia) following a motorbike accident …Sure, things are more difficult than they used to be …I probably won't qualify for the Olympic high jump team but there is still a world of opportunity out there."

It's no secret that Nepal is under-resourced, but things are getting better for people with spinal injuries. "While Nepal doesn't have all the technology that some of the hospitals in the West do, they do have health professionals who know how to rehabilitate spinal injuries and that is the most important factor for patients," he says.

His wheelchair footrest broke on day one in Kathmandu. His twitter post read: "Footplate has been fixed after a couple of hours at the garage. Welding it failed, so stuck a couple of screws in it instead."

In Pokhara he got his first taste of paragliding and visited another rehabilitation centre, Green Pastures. He even managed to squeeze in an elephant ride in Chitwan National Park, despite the misgivings of the camp representative. "Outside the cities, the districts are not wheelchair friendly at all," he says, perhaps referring to bathrooms through which his wheelchair would not fit. "But I really like Nepal, the people have been very kind."

Melissa and Sunny donated to Just Giving, and posted the following on the website: "Good luck on your journey. We'll be thinking of you. God bless."

To follow Donnelly (and check out videos of him on elephant and in the air) visit To make a donation to Peter Donnelly's foundation log on to

1. sherap sherpa
As a motorcycle enthusiast myself and a fan of long rides, all I want to say is "All the best brother!"

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)