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

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.

If this was not the case, the disabled and non-disabled children would grow up together and become friends. They would know the strengths and the weakness of each other. Non-disabled persons will know better what special needs their disabled friends have. They would help each other and this would become a habit, a culture. The future society, which was to be led by these children would then be accessible for all.

Thus the first and the most important step in developing an inclusive society is to make people understand about the different aspects of disability. We can use different example, case-studies, audios, videos and group activities in communities to do so. This awareness will bring people with disabilities and people without disabilities together in development.

Of course- this can’t be done overnight. It requires a lot of effort and time. But we have to keep moving in this direction to achieve the bigger goal of inclusion even if it involves taking one small step at a time.

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

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