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

March 11, 2013

Disabled Amrita

Amrita Gyawali is 23 years old. Amrita was brought up in a special centre for disabled children. This was because she has been a wheel-chair user since the age of three when her legswere paralysed after a bus accident. The centre has all therelevant facilities, including a school with disabled-friendly toilets. Growing up in the centre and attending its school, Amrita did not have difficulty going to and using toilets.

Amrita Gyawali

Things changed after she finished school and started making her way out of it to a government-run college. Her college does not have a disabled-friendly toilet. This poses a severe problem for her. She has no option but to seek help fromothers, and this creates an awkward situation for her and for others — not to mention uncomfortable feelings for all parties.At college, she avoids drinking water; and, after college, she hurries home. “When I am at college, I can’t go to the toilet. Ihave to hold it back for a long time, which, I know, is unhealthy, for it could cause urinary and kidney complications in a few years’ time,” says Amrita.

Living in a big metropolitan city like Kathmandu has not helped either. Knowing that there’s a lack of accessible sanitation facilities around the city makes her tense whenever she has to go outside, meet people and take part in activities. “Talking openly about toilet may seem odd, and even odder for a girl,but having access to a private, hygienic and comfortable toiletis a part of everyone’s fundamental need,” she added. In her spare time, she is actively involved in campaigns that push for the creation of more disabled-friendly infrastructure in Kathmandu.

A lack of disabled-friendly toilets at Kathmandu’s public institutions has adversely affected both male and female wheel-chair users. But for reasons of privacy and dignity,disabled women suffer all the more. As such, their discomfort  is a genuine development problem that needs to be solved if we are all to enjoy our human rights to exercise choices that expand our capabilities to live happy and fulfilling lives.

The post is written by Mr Sagar Prasai – sagarDOTprasain@gmailDOTcom

This blog was created by WaterAid under the creative commons licence