Call to ensure construction of disabled-friendly infrastructure

Persons with disability are living in poverty and scarcity in Nepal

Bhaktapur, March 17

People living with disabilities have demanded construction of disabled-friendly public infrastructure as the government begins post-earthquake reconstruction.

Stating that the Constitution of Nepal treats all Nepali citizens equally, they appealed to the government and other stakeholders to ensure that community physical infrastructures are disabled-friendly.

Participants at a workshop ‘Disabled-friendly Reconstruction’ organised by Nepal Association of the Blind, Accessible Himalayas and World Heritage Trek in Changunarayan Minicipality yesterday demanded that the government adopt a policy of constructing disabled-friendly infrastructures.

Binod Dahal, coordinator of the programme, said, “A person who is abled today may turn disabled tomorrow. Therefore, the government should adopt a policy of constructing disabled-friendly infrastructures.”

Annah Shiri, a senator from the African nation of Zimbabwe, who is also differently-abled, highlighted, “Every person with disabilities have the right to movement in his/her country and abroad.

It is highly essential for all countries around the world to develop disabled-friendly tourist spots.” She lamented that like Zimbabweans, persons with disabilities were living in poverty and scarcity in Nepal.

“Abled and disabled are equal to each other and the society should treat the persons with disabilities accordingly.

Private and government buildings, transportation, hotels, tourism sector, schools and hospitals need to be disabled-friendly for their mobility,” she added.

Though Shiri appreciated more reserved quotas for persons with disabilities in Nepal compared to Zimbabwe, she said she was surprised not to see any representation of differently-abled in the Legislature-Parliament here.

During her stay in Bhaktapur, she also observed a Community-based Rehabilitation Centre constructed in Indrayani and held a discussion with the differently-abled people living there.

According to the National Census 2011, persons with disabilities account for 1.9 per cent of the population of Nepal.