India

Kabita Bhattarai 

Kabita was born on 28 of February 1961 to a high-caste Brahmin family in Kathmandu. She was the eldest of three daughters and her father was a  officer.  She must have been very good at sport when she was young as she told me that she has  played badminton for Nepal.  She has studied a lot  and has worked in many different countries and for different organisations.

Her studies include:

  •  1988: Master of Science, Kathmandu 1988.
  • 1990: MSC, Natural Resources and Development and Management in ASR Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok
  • 2004: Master of Public Administration, Kennedy School of  Government, Harvard.


She enjoys bird watching in the Royal Chitwan National Park in Nepal and wrote a scientific thesis on this while surviving with rhinos in the jungle (her boss at that time is now the WWF director in Washington).  She has worked on  projects in rural areas of Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia  and on a water project in the Mount Everest region, lived in Japan, and studied in Bangkok.

For many years she was a consultant for CECI (Centre for International Studies and Cooperation, a Canadian organisation, www.ceci.ca). This was when she worked for women’s projects and organisations, for environmental support and when she started a micro-credit system in Nepal. After this, she was a consultant for the Leger Foundation, also in Canada, which has been the principal supporter of Little Flower for 30 years. That’s how she heard about Brother Christdas and was asked to get in contact with him two years ago. She visited Little Flower a few times, and last December Br. Christdas asked her to start working with a group of people as a management board.

She has also worked as an assistant to the prime minister in Nepal and last month was asked to take over a ministry of the new government. She declined explaining: “People in Little Flower need me more!”

In January, in her absence, Br Christdas made her member of the Governing Body and and later asked her directly if she would take over if something happened to him. Kabita was not sure at that time, as she had never worked only for one project and she was working in Nepal and had other ideas for her life.  But she herself, as many others, felt this was far away anyway.

When Br Christdas was dying she was called by the villagers and she went there.  When Br Christdas died she knew that she had to support these people  So she is here now.  Her plan is to support them to become independent and then to leave.

Kabita was always a very spiritual person and attended a Buddhist community about ten years ago. Beside her immense experience and her knowledge, I was deeply impressed by her high spiritual level that is her inner basis to meet all challenges that she is facing now. Personally I feel she was sent from heaven to Little Flower. She does not take any money for her job there, but is ready to work day and night with her clearance, inner strength and her humour!

People love her very much.  She understands that her challenge will be to lead the project to find answers for the second and third generation. And she has many plans for that.  These young people need jobs to use their ideas and talents.  We have to give them a chance to work in Little Flower so that they stay and keep up their support for the organisation in future.

Claudia Vilanek, Salzburg, September 2011

 

The former Head of Little Flower

Brother Christdas, the head of Little Flower, who only really performs the job of an administrator in the association, was born in southern India. His mother tongue is Malayalam, the language of the Keralas. He studied theology in Bangalore, and it is there that he first encountered people suffering from leprosy. This experience was such a shock for him that he wanted to quit his studies at that time and immediately dedicate his whole life to leprosy patients.

He finished his studies but his decision had been made, and the only thing that mattered in choosing the order he wanted to join was which one would allow him to work with people who have leprosy. This ended up being the branch of Mother Teresa’s order for men, the Missionaries of Charity. So he worked on leprosy projects in this order, often exchanging ideas with Mother Teresa.

He did this until the winter of 1981, when he reacted to the cries for help from patients in Bihar and went there to found the project “Little Flower” under the patronage of the Bishop of Muzzafapur. He set foot on this path, accompanied by a few friends and like-minded companions, with only a nylon bag full of money from a generous donor on his lap and an amazingly optimistic spirit.Not only Little Flower has gotten 25 years older but also Brother Christdas, whom all people in the village call Baba. He is the father figure and authority, the ultimate decision maker and mediator, the visionary and entrepreneurial spirit, … he came with burning enthusiasm, which has spread like wildfire.

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