‘Ensure education, jobs to visually-impaired women’

Kathmandu, March 12

Speakers at an interaction on ‘Present Status and Challenges for Education and Employment of Visually-impaired Women’ organised in the capital yesterday demanded that the government guarantee proper education and employment to visually-impaired women.

At the programme organised by Blind Women Association of Nepal and Prayatna Nepal, Sita Subedi, chairperson of BWAN, urged the government to give due attention to the problems facing visually-impaired women and ensure their capacity building, education and employment.

“It is necessary to launch a national campaign for the education and employment of visually-impaired women who are double marginalised due to their gender and disability.

Their limited mobility is excluding them from many education and employment opportunities.”

Binod Guragain, chief executive officer of Youth and Small Entrepreneur Self-Employment Fund under the Ministry of Finance, sought to change the societal perceptions and treatment given to differently-abled persons. “The YSESEF will take the initiatives to come up with new programmes targeting the visually-impaired persons.”

The new constitution of Nepal has brought a ray of hope to persons with disabilities through the guarantee of their social, political and economic rights

Due to the lack of employment opportunities, many visually-impaired persons have not able to contribute to the income of their families and depend entirely on support by family or community members. They are falsely perceived more as a burden than a full member of society with rights and responsibilities.

Nira Adhikari and Sarita Lamichhane presented working papers on the status of visually-impaired women. They said that 134 visually-impaired women were engaged as teachers, NGO workers, telephone operators, civil servants and industrial workers.

According to the census carried out in 2011, about two per cent (513,321) of the total population of the country is found living with one or the other kind of disability. Of them, 280,086 are male and 233,235 female.

Physical disability constitutes 36.3 per cent of the population with disability followed by blindness/low vision (18.5 per cent), deaf/hard of hearing (15.4 per cent), speech problem (11.5 per cent), multiple disability (7.5 per cent), mental disability (6 per cent), intellectual disability (2.9 per cent) and deaf-blind (1.8 per cent). Around 80 per cent of the disabled people in the country are illiterate and 95 per cent unemployed.