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

February 8, 2013

Such a difficult journey to the toilet

Sita Maya, 46, of Devisthan in Baglung district in central Nepal is a physically- challenged single woman.

Her legs are shrunken due to polio. She cannot walk. Because of the hilly nature of her village, she cannot use a wheelchair to move around her neighborhood. Polio affected her right hand too. She crawls with the help of her left hand.

In Nepal, in rural areas, a toilet that’s built inside or adjacent to a house is considered, for cultural and religious reasons, to have polluting effects. In Sita’s case, her family built a toilet, but at a distance from the house.

Sita Maya at her house

As a result, to go to the toilet, Sita has no option but to drag herself – a long and hard process. The trail is muddy, and she gets all the dirt in her hands and clothes. In the rainy season, the trail gets wet and slippery. On the way to the toilet, she has fallen down and injured herself many times.

Her family installed a water tap in front of the house. But that is of little use to Sita because she is unable to stand up and the tap is at a higher level. She says that her body smells because of her crawling around in dirt, mud and around the floor of the toilet. Her hands are dirty, as she cannot often wash them.

In my future posts, I will talk about such issues faced by many other disabled users in Nepal. I will also write about how WASH service providers – government, NGOs, private sector agencies and others – can focus on disabled-friendly WASH services.

The post is written by Mr Sagar Prasai, an activist on disabled rights, works on WASH -related equity and inclusion issues at WaterAid Nepal as a consultant. Contact:  sagarDOTprasain@gmailDOTcom

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