Nepal is one of the countries in Asia which have ratified both the 2006 United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability (UNCRPD) and the Optional Protocol (in 2009). The Constitution of Nepal also enshrines the rights of PWDs in Nepal, and these are formulated more specifically in the Disability Rights Act (2017) which is based on UNCRPD.
To incorporate this very inclusive legislation, and support severe and profound disabilities to live an independent life, and to access the rights and services, we have been working with the support of USAID with the Strengthening and Spreading the Independent Living concept in Nepal (SSILC) project in partnership with Independent Living Centre Lalitpur (ILCL) an organization of PWDs, Project aims to support Independent Living Centers in four districts of Nepal (Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Kailali, and Makwanpur. PWDs will be reached out into rural areas through mobile outreach camps and home visits to access their current living conditions, identify their need for assistive devices, counsel them and develop the capacity of people living with disability (PWDs) to live an independent life inclusive to vocational training.
Independent living program sessions are also organized at Independent Living Center, Lalitpur which includes awareness and orientation sessions, orientation and proper use of assistive devices, right education to realize their potential and to advocate and address social, economic, and political needs of PWDs and practical sessions of independent living so that one can perform individual task independently and be exemplary to motivate other PWDs to live an independent life.
At an organizational level, we build the capacity of local organizations to advocate to embed the provisions of the Disability Rights Act in-laws and policies at all levels of government and to develop mechanisms to implement and enforce these to practically make it feasible to overcome the barriers they face and to live more independently and with more self-determination
Those who were identified in the coordination of Rural Municipality and local Independent Living Organization, have successfully completed ten days Independent Living People workshop which includes physiotherapy, peer counseling, service, and rights education, motivational and recreation visit, daily living activities, and assistive device support.
Lochan Urahu (27) from Biratnagar Metropolitian City, Ekrahi, a few years back was the sole earner for his family of five. Now, he is twenty-seven years old, who had not been able to leave his house for the whole two years. Happily, after the ten days learning journey, he shared,
“After I came here, the first thing I loved is: I got a wheelchair! I am overjoyed! I feel lively, I can move as I wish! I can go to chowks, meet people and talk with them. Coming here I learned about People Living with Disability rights, what are our rights? Where and how to get the rights and services? With Wheelchair, I can reach to reach to the ward office to get my services done.”
Another participant Gayatri Thapa (46) from Makwanpur, Manahari Rural Municipality shares, “Before I came here I thought I was at my worst. I have a spinal cord injury because of that I cannot walk without support. During the visit I am amazed to see even people with no legs and hands was working. This ten days’ stay has lightened my heart. I feel relief and encouraged at the same time to make my life wholesome!”
Manoj Thing (22) shares his stay at the ILC center, “A few years back I was perfectly fine, one day while playing at the river I got injured since then I stayed on my bed for more than three years. Physiotherapy has helped me a lot. I have less body ache, and with a wheelchair, I am able to move around.
I was taken to PWD working organization, where I saw a different world. I saw oth
er people like me were painting, weaving, making dolls, and operating machines with a strong determination to make their living.
I also know how to mend basic electronics, now I wish to get involved in training that and improve my skills further.”
In an effort to Empower Persons Living with Disabilities to live independently and with dignity in a barrier-free environment in their chosen community with the full realization of their human rights so far we have reached 291 PWDs living with severe and profound disabilities, project Districts, and 36 assistive devices have been distributed.