DEEPAK KC SOS gave Deepak wings to excel on all levels Life in an SOS Children’s Village helped Deepak KC (39) from Nepal “forget” that he was physically disabled. The love and support he received gave him wings to strive higher and help others along the way. His list of accomplishments include designing environments that help disabled people enjoy more of what life has to offer. Deepak KC in his design studio. Photo: SOS Children´s Villages Deepak has been in a wheelchair as long as he can remember. He became part of SOS Children’s Village Jorpati at the age of 9 after his father tried to protect him from society’s prejudice and negativity for as long as he could. Jorpati was the first SOS Children’s Village in Asia dedicated to children with disabilities. “It was beyond my imagination when I saw friends like me were sharing joy and happiness in a wonderful environment. Although all of us had some kind of physical limitation, our activities and memories are no different than those of normal children,” said Deepak. He went on to become the first wheelchair user in Nepal to obtain a degree in Architecture Engineering. This is the achievement he is most proud of, because it was a “physical and psychological struggle” in a college with no ramps or wheelchair accessible toilet. Deepak is recognised as a pioneer in the movement of Universal Design which takes into account the full range of human diversity. As a result wheelchair accessibility in Nepal has increased. In 2012 he was also a technical member of the national Accessibility Guidelines Drafting Committee. But his expertise is also recognised internationally. He was chosen as one of the jurors of the 2013 Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Architectural Design Excellence. Deepak, on an expedition with a special four-wheeler scooter. Photo: SOS Children´s Villages As an active person who “explored the jungle and even climbed a tree” with his SOS Children’s Village brothers and sisters, Deepak is the founding president of the National Physical Disabled Table Tennis Association of Nepal. When he has time in between his work as freelance architect and volunteering in disabled people’s organisations, he likes taking a long drive with his four-wheeler scooter. Soon he will also have to adapt to living on his own when his sister and flatmate for the past 6 years will be moving into her own house. “To focus on personal growth and to become a successful person is good, but it’s not enough. As children who grew up in SOS, we all have the responsibility to create a better society,” said Deepak. “Deepak influences the lives of the people who view him as a role model in two ways. Firstly, his work directly benefits their daily lives as their problems and issues are minimised. Secondly, he has become an icon whose story and work motivate people to work harder and prove themselves.” – Rabin Nepali, Project Director SOS Children’s Village Jorpati.