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Wednesday Feb 8, 2023

Disabled people still facing challenges in Nepal

Policies regarding disable people are yet to be fully implemented.


Nepalnews
2022 Nov 30, 8:55, Kathmandu

People with disabilities in Nepal are facing numerous challenges in their day to day lives as enough attention is not given towards catering their special needs.

People with disabilities lag behind in education and employment, while they also face discrimination due to their condition putting them at a higher risk of violence and abuse. Currently, 15 percent of the global population suffers from some form of disability. Most disable people live in places where public infrastructures are inaccessible to them according to WHO.

A recent study, ‘Disability Inclusive Development in Nepal: Situational Analysis’ published in the year 2020, shows that disability is significantly linked with poverty. It has been seen that households of people with disabilities are poorer and suffer from many economic challenges. The study also showed the COVID 19 pandemic impacted people with disabilities significantly as they faced many barriers in protecting themselves from the impacts of COVID -19. Food insecurity and income reduction were the major problems faced by disable people in the pandemic. According to the study, people with disabilities in Nepal struggle to find work, and remain unemployed or underpaid. It has also been revealed that it is more difficult for disabled women to find a decent job than it is for a disabled men in the Nepalese job market.

Illiteracy is a major issue concerning the people with disabilities in Nepal. Studies show that children with disabilities do not complete their studies in schools. Inclusive education plays a pivotal role in integrating children with disabilities in mainstream schools with sufficient support and facilities provided to them. Based on the reports of a ten year time period between 2010 and 2020, Nations International Children's Fund's (UNICEF) Regional Office for South Asia has created a country profile of Nepal. It reveals that children with disabilities have a low enrolment and participation rate in regular classrooms across Nepal.

Many organisations are working to ensure education for people with disabilities in Nepal. “We are dedicated to work for the welfare of disabled people in Nepal. Primarily, we do it by providing them the opportunity to access education,” says Hom Nath Aryal, senior officer and consultant of Nepal Association for the Welfare of the Blind (NAWB). “To reach out to as many as visually impaired children and adolescents as possible, we advertise our enrolment programs and even write letters to local government bodies, to send visually impaired children and adolescents to our education programs, which are all free of cost,” he adds. NAWB works to promote the rights of visually impaired people in Nepal. It has empowered many people with disabilities in Nepal by providing them education, job placement and financial support.

The amendment of the Education Act in 2016, mandates the development of special rules for disabled people in education. However, according to the study, ‘Disability Inclusive Development in Nepal: Situational Analysis’, there is no comprehensive strategy to promote inclusive education in urban and rural areas in Nepal. Instead, special schools and integrated schools are in operation often far away from residences of children with disabilities’.

Another research done by the Human Rights Watch in 2018 shows that many children with disabilities are denied their right to education due to segregation based on physical and intellectual ability. Children interviewed for the survey preferred studying in an inclusive classroom than a segregated one.

Similarly it is important that public health facilities and infrastructures are made accessible to people with disabilities. “ People with different kinds of disability should be segregated during the resource allocation of public health programming, like ramp facilities in restrooms, management of sign language users during training and webinars while ensuring active participation of people with disabilities,” says public health expert Radhika Ghimire.

There are different policies regarding the rights and protection of people with disabilities in Nepal. Disability rights are ensured by the current constitution of Nepal and the 2017 Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act. Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2017 ensures nondiscrimination in workplaces and employment opportunities. The 1999 Local Self Governance Act also provides for the maintenance of the livelihoods of persons with disabilities. The Government of Nepal has formulated policies regarding people with disabilities but it is yet to ensure the welfare of the disable in Nepal.


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