Seema Tamang, Bellevue Rotary Exchange Student
Seema Tamang, from Nepal, is a 16‑year‑old Rotary Youth Exchange student with blindness. She was born without eyes, but she was born with an engaging smile, unusual curiosity, compassion, and kindness. She is Nepal’s first Rotary youth exchange student. Her sponsoring club is the Rotary Club of Kathmandu, which was Nepal’s first Rotary club, having been chartered in 1959. Within Nepal, Rotary, Rotaract, and Interact are very active, with almost 100 Rotary and Rotaract clubs. This, within a country about the size of the State of Arkansas!
Seema has a mom and step-dad, Aitalaxmi and Pasang, an older sister, Nirumaya, younger sister, Niru, and a younger brother, Pawal. Her family has had many economic challenges, not the least of which was finding another room to rent after the April/May 2015 earthquakes severely damaged their one‑room apartment.
Seema is currently studying in the 9th grade at Laboratory Higher Secondary School (Lab School) in Kathmandu. There is a large section of more than 100 blind/visually‑impaired (BVI) students who study along side over 700 sighted students. Seema has been living in the BVI section dormitory for four years, going home during holidays.
Seema will join 9th grade at Sammamish High School in their newly remodeled, technologically-advanced school building. Microsoft currently has a pilot program running at the school where every student is given a laptop and all classwork is done online.
Hosted primarily by Rob and Gina Rose, who have been her education-sponsors in Nepal the past six years, Seema’s arrival marks the first time in many years that Bellevue Rotary has hosted an inbound, year‑long youth exchange student. We are hoping interest in the program will rebound and once again become active within the Club.
This will also be a groundbreaking program for Bellevue Rotary and Rotary International, hosting a “differently‑abled” exchange student and the first from the country of Nepal. For Seema, it will be an enriching experience that will last a lifetime, like it did for me, when I was a Rotary exchange student to Calcutta, India, from 1974‑75!
Please consider including Seema in your family activities and outings during her year here. You can contact me, Rob Rose; program co-chairs Jemal Idris and Stu Vander Hoek; or club Youth Exchange counselors Eric Postle or Brittany Barker.