On 4 January 2005, a 1973 model light blue Volkswagen Beetle started out from Kathmandu Valley, headed for Dhaka on a fundraising drive to assist the Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Centre (SIRC) at Jorpati. The Beetle was driven by journalist Kanak Mani Dixit, chair and founding member of the Centre, who survived a broken back during a trekking accident in August 2000. Kanakâ€™s family is with him.
The goal is to raise Nepali Rupees 12 lakh (US $17,000) for the Centre. It is 1,200 kilometres from the Nepali capital to the Bangladeshi capital and supporters are asked to sponsor the drive at the rate of NRs 1,000 per kilometre. Pledges of support can be sent to either Kanak at firstname.lastname@example.org, or SIRC at email@example.com. Simply write how many kilometres you wish to sponsor. Payment details will be sent later. â€œThe poorer you are the harder you fall,â€ is the the slogan of SIRC, inaugurated in April 2002 by Sir Edmund Hillary. The Centre cares for spinal injury patients who have fallen off trails and cliffsides. SIRC is a registered non-profit institution and receives no support from government. Starting from SIRC in Jorpati, Kathmandu, the Beetle will end its subcontinental journey at the Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed at Savar near Dhaka. The First Great Kathmandu-Dhaka VW Beetle Spinal Injury Rally happened in July 2002, with the same blue Bug and its silver-haired driver.