Nepal WASH Blog Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) & Development in Nepal

March 25, 2014

I demand my money’s worth

Filed under: Advocacy,Amrita Gyawali's Post,Equity and inclusion,Human rights — nepalwash @ 9:55 am

Just recently I went to QFX Civil Mall (8th floor) to watch a movie with my friends I chose QFX Civil Mall because I found out that they had a wheelchair accessible toilet there. I was happy that I would get to watch a movie with my friends. However, when I entered the hall, I thought that there would also be accessible seating areas for a wheelchair but no attention was paid to this aspect. However, I managed to sit on a seat so that I could sit next to my friends. It wasn’t so comfortable, but I enjoyed the movie without any worries because I could use the toilet easily with privacy if had a sudden emergency.

Throughout my life; simple things such as going to a movie became a difficult task for me. As there were no disabled-friendly seats, I was always placed in the walking passage; this was very humiliating; I felt alienated. Moreover, instead of watching the movie I had to constantly wish that I did not have to use the toilet, as almost all movie theatres lacked disabled-friendly toilets.
QFX has certainly taken a good initiative by constructing disabled-friendly toilets, however if it had disabled-friendly seats that would have been even better.

The obstacles are not only limited to theatres, there are a number of big public buildings, (super markets, shopping malls, libraries, cafeterias etc) in the urban areas of Nepal but it is still hard for me to find a single wheelchair accessible toilet that I can use to relieve myself. At the end of the day, I have to return home with a sad face and heavy heart. Just try to imagine how you would feel if you had a sudden emergency to use the toilet but you couldn’t find a single toilet to urinate or defecate and had to hold it for long time; it is so distressing.

I have never enjoyed the same facilities as the other. I always have to receive second-class services. Why do I have to struggle to have enjoyable outings with friends? Sometimes I feel like being in a wheelchair is limiting my personal happiness, choices for recreation and get-together with friends and relatives. However , I know that being in a wheelchair is not the real problem, it is the way our environmental and attitudinal barriers, regards a person with disability ; people think that disability represents destitute and poor people who cannot afford to go out to cinema halls, shopping malls, restaurants and other public places. This is a misconception; just because you have a disability doesn’t mean you are destined to a poor quality of life. Such incorrect assumptions about disability are actually the most difficult barriers to overcome. As a paying customer I demand equal rights as any other customer who pays full to get services.

Why don’t people realize that making public buildings accessible for everyone will help make the lives of many people easier and happier; In addition, it will also help increase customers and gain profits. It is understandable that change cannot happen overnight but it should not be ignored. Accessibility is important for everyone -it should be everybody’s business.

This post is written by Ms. Amrita Gyawali, E & I consultant for WaterAid Nepal

December 30, 2013

Second career expo for persons with disabilities

Third December is celebrated worldwide as an International Day of Persons with Disabilities. This celebration helps promote awareness on disability issues and rights. This year the global theme for the day was “Break barriers, open doors: for an inclusive society and development for all”.

As a part of the celebrations, Nepal’s Ministry of Women Children and Social Welfare, National Federation of the Disabled Nepal (NFDN), UNICEF, Association of International NGOs in Nepal (AIN), and Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FNCCI) in association with came together to organise the second Career Expo for People with Disabilities on the 13 December. The aim was to promote employment opportunities for persons with disabilities in Nepal. (more…)

November 27, 2013

Inclusive toilets for all: A commitment made in SACOSAN V

Nepal hosted the Fifth South Asian Conference on Sanitation (SACOSAN V) from October 22 to 24 in 2013 in Kathmandu. Adopted by all the participating governments and 400+ delegates, SACOSAN’s slogan this time was: “Sanitation for All: All for Sanitation”.

This year, I had a personal connection to SACOSAN V. Based on my presentation earlier this year on WASH and women with disability at a WaterAid-Nepal-hosted event, I was asked to submit a paper to the SACOSAN Technical Group. Shortly after I did, I learnt that my paper had been selected for a presentation in SACOSAN-V. I was very happy. (more…)

September 27, 2013

Where is equity?

Filed under: Advocacy,Disabled access to WASH,Equity and inclusion — nepalwash @ 12:41 am

There are more than 500,000 people live with disability in Nepal. More than 350,000 people do not have access to toilets. Kathmandu, a capital of Nepal does not have a single disabled friendly toilet – click here to watch a 2D film.

September 16, 2013

A difficult journey to toilet

A short film raising issue on accessing to basic sanitation services by people with disabilities

July 8, 2013

Bringing persons with and without disabilities together

I believe the main reason for exclusion of persons with disabilities from any basic services including water and sanitation is the lack of proper awareness in general people about disability. I have experienced that, most of the non-disabled people don’t know what the exact requirements of disabled people are. In many cases, they are even unaware that- the toilets in their houses or business places are not suitable for disabled people. It is because they haven’t got any chance to mix up with the people who have disabilities- in any occasions.

Our society has craved two different paths for disabled people and non-disabled people from the early childhood. Children who have some kind of disabilities are sent to a different school than their non-disabled counterparts. Only these “special” schools have accessible facilities required by the children having disabilities. Thus they can’t go to common schools. Due to this constraint, they can’t grow up with non-disabled children and be friends with them. The only persons around them are disabled persons like them. This segregation of disabled children prevents the development of an emotional relation between non-disable person and disabled persons. (more…)

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