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

June 19, 2013

I do not need a separate toilet

One of the reasons that the organisations working in the sanitation sector do not give much interest in building disabled friendly toilets is – they think it requires more additional costs. They believe that the inclusion of people with disability in the sanitation means building a separate toilet for disabled people and this would certainly hike up their budget. Therefore, even the issue of accessibility comes up in the planning and discussion phase, very few people actually build one. Thus it is very important to make everybody understand- the actual meaning of inclusion.

Inclusion process does not require building a separate toilet for people with disability. Instead, it is a process of making the sanitation facilities accessible and suitable for every member of the community- whether they are disabled persons or not. Also, an inclusive toilet doesn’t increase one’s budget.  Some cases opened up by the different organisations have shown that if planned from initial phase, accessible toilets would cost only 2-3% more of the actual budget.There are some places where people consider building a separate toilet for disabled persons is a suitable option. But personally, I think it is not a good practice. When there is a separate toilet for people with disability – a non disable person will never use that toilet. This way s/he will never know what are the special things that a disabled person needs as support to use the toilet. Due to this an emotional relationship between these two groups of people can’t develop. People with disability and non disabled persons will walk on their own way separately, as they have been doing for years. This is clearly not what inclusion means.

Thus, as a person with disability, I appeal for an accessible toilet, but not a separate one. I want to use the same toilet that my friends use. I don’t want to be treated as “special case”.

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

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