AMIR BOMJAN Earthquake's Gift

With support from Karuna Foundation, Amir Bomjan, an earthquake victim with disability, has received a new life

June 4, 2016, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol.9 No 22, June 3,2016 (Jesth 21)

When Amir Bomjon used brush strokes with his mouth and painted Gautam Buddha at the Russian Culture Center just a day before Buddha Jayanati, people applauded his talents. The next moment, when he sang a song, with music composition by prominent musician Nhu Bajracharya, the auditorium remained tranquil, with tears filling up the eyes of many in the audiences.

When earthquakes destroyed his entire village and his own house, Amir Bomjan was not only homeless, but also hopeless. However, executive director of Karuna Foundation Deepak Sapkota came as a savior to young Bomjan.

After getting the report from his colleague working in Palung Thaha Municipality of Makwanpur District, Sapkota marched to the village to see talented Amir whose body cannot move. However, this young man shows his talent in writing and painting with his mouth. 

Karuna foundation and UNICEF saw the teenager with no legs, trapped in Nepal earthquake, immediately decided to explore his talents. Amir Bomjan is paralyzed from the neck down and was lucky to survive the devastating earthquake.

With the support given by Karuna Foundation, what happened next in Bomjan’s life is remarkable. Karuna Foundation brought him to Kathmandu and he was offered a place at a special school. Suddenly Amir’s inner talents came to light.

Looking at the talented Bomjan, executive director of Karuna Foundation Sapkota requested eminent artist Kiran Manandhar for help. “Looking at the condition of Amir, I accepted the request of Deepak to train Amir Bomjon in painting,” said artist Manandhar. Alongside teaching painting, Manandhar even requested prominent musician Nhu Bajracharya for training him to sing.

Nhu agreed to compose the music in his songs. “It was the greatest day in my life when this person with disability sang a beautiful song on mother. Amir has shown that people can do everything if he has determination,” said Bajracharya.  

Amir, now 16, says. “I could start to have hope and dreams. I have a future. The earthquake has changed my life forever. I know it killed many people – but it saved my life,” said Amir.

Along with providing him additional training in music and painting, the Karuna Foundation, a children’s charity, pays for his paints, canvases and schooling.

To watch him use his teeth to skillfully guide a paintbrush to finish yet another stunning picture is an amazing privilege. With a big, beaming smile, Amir jokes: “I don’t do hand-writing. I do mouth-writing. I can write, I can paint, I can sing, I can write poetry.

“I really love painting and my dream would be to see my pictures displayed in a gallery in London or New York. That would be fantastic.”

After suffering a rare disease as a child, Amir had been left with no legs, withered arms and paralyzed from the neck down.

Living in a remote village, he had been sidelined by the poor country’s school and medical systems. But locked away inside him was a remarkable gift for painting, poetry and music.

With Karuna Foundation – motto: “No child left behind” – started a mission to also offer relief to youngsters in need.

“I remember the day when the man from the Foundation came. Others from different organizations had been there before and always said they could help and would come back. But they never did. No one came back," he said with excitement. "This particular day it was raining heavily and he asked what my problems were."

Studying at a school for children with special needs in Kathmandu, and living in a hostel, Amir got an immense opportunity to explore his talent. His latest song is a powerful ballad about his love for his mum and his family. Amir is one of hundreds of quake kids supported by the Karuna Foundation.

“Karuna Foundation is pleased to be able to support Amir. He is a really special boy with so many talents. Out of many, Amir is one of them and we want to reach many more,” said Sapkota

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