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

March 25, 2014

I demand my money’s worth

Filed under: Advocacy,Amrita Gyawali's Post,Equity and inclusion,Human rights — nepalwash @ 9:55 am

Just recently I went to QFX Civil Mall (8th floor) to watch a movie with my friends I chose QFX Civil Mall because I found out that they had a wheelchair accessible toilet there. I was happy that I would get to watch a movie with my friends. However, when I entered the hall, I thought that there would also be accessible seating areas for a wheelchair but no attention was paid to this aspect. However, I managed to sit on a seat so that I could sit next to my friends. It wasn’t so comfortable, but I enjoyed the movie without any worries because I could use the toilet easily with privacy if had a sudden emergency.

Throughout my life; simple things such as going to a movie became a difficult task for me. As there were no disabled-friendly seats, I was always placed in the walking passage; this was very humiliating; I felt alienated. Moreover, instead of watching the movie I had to constantly wish that I did not have to use the toilet, as almost all movie theatres lacked disabled-friendly toilets.
QFX has certainly taken a good initiative by constructing disabled-friendly toilets, however if it had disabled-friendly seats that would have been even better.

The obstacles are not only limited to theatres, there are a number of big public buildings, (super markets, shopping malls, libraries, cafeterias etc) in the urban areas of Nepal but it is still hard for me to find a single wheelchair accessible toilet that I can use to relieve myself. At the end of the day, I have to return home with a sad face and heavy heart. Just try to imagine how you would feel if you had a sudden emergency to use the toilet but you couldn’t find a single toilet to urinate or defecate and had to hold it for long time; it is so distressing.

I have never enjoyed the same facilities as the other. I always have to receive second-class services. Why do I have to struggle to have enjoyable outings with friends? Sometimes I feel like being in a wheelchair is limiting my personal happiness, choices for recreation and get-together with friends and relatives. However , I know that being in a wheelchair is not the real problem, it is the way our environmental and attitudinal barriers, regards a person with disability ; people think that disability represents destitute and poor people who cannot afford to go out to cinema halls, shopping malls, restaurants and other public places. This is a misconception; just because you have a disability doesn’t mean you are destined to a poor quality of life. Such incorrect assumptions about disability are actually the most difficult barriers to overcome. As a paying customer I demand equal rights as any other customer who pays full to get services.

Why don’t people realize that making public buildings accessible for everyone will help make the lives of many people easier and happier; In addition, it will also help increase customers and gain profits. It is understandable that change cannot happen overnight but it should not be ignored. Accessibility is important for everyone -it should be everybody’s business.

This post is written by Ms. Amrita Gyawali, E & I consultant for WaterAid Nepal

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