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

February 8, 2013

Wheelchair accessible public toilet in Kathmandu?

In my first post, I talked about Sita Maya’s difficulty in going to the toilet, which was at a distance from her house in Baglung. But a lack of access to toilet is something urbanites with disabilities such as me face too – all the time.

I am a wheelchair user in Kathmandu. I try to travel around Kathmandu as much as I can. But it is difficult for me to find a wheelchair accessible toilet in the city. Most cinema halls, hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, banks, private organisations, NGOs, INGOs and even government offices do not have toilets that provide access to a wheelchair user.

The blogger - Sagar Prasai

Due to the unavailability of disabled-friendly toilets, at times, I am forced to find open space for urination. It is uncomfortable and I feel ashamed and guilty. Moreover, there is a constant fear of that I will be seen by others. I cannot even imagine what I will do, if I need to defecate in an open space some day because the city I live in has no wheelchair accessible public toilets.

If my situation is such, I wonder what it is like for hundreds of people living with disabilities in Kathmandu. Much worse, I would imagine!

According to the Nepal government’s census data of 2011, more than 500,000 people in Nepal, or about two per cent of the population, have some kind of physical disability. These people face many external problems, one of which is a lack of access to safe, dignified and user-friendly water, sanitation and facilities at home and in public places.

Talking about public places, WaterAid Nepal did a survey and found out that there is one public toilet per 65,000 people in Kathmandu.

Students with disabilities often cannot study what they want to do because of inaccessible college infrastructure: unfriendly school buildings, classrooms, and water and toilet facilities. Some government agencies have put up ramps to make their ground floor accessible to people with disabilities, but they are at a loss when it comes to providing a disable-friendly toilets.

How do we raise our voices to make WASH rights an integral part of larger disability rights in Nepal? This is a question on which I am working at present. I will share my learning in future blog posts.

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

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