Nepal | July 08, 2020

Disabled deprived of identity cards

Gokarna Prasad Bhandari
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Physically disable family

Dhan Bahadur Tamang (right) with his disabled sons in Gaurishankar Rural Municipality, on Friday, June 10, 2017. Photo: THT

Dolakha, June 10

Seventeen-year-old Shital Tamang and her 14-year-old brother Suman Tamang of Babiyodanda, in Dolakha’s Gauri Shankar Rural Municipality are physically disabled. They can’t move their legs and are bound to languish at one place the whole day.

In fact, there are seven other children and two elderly people in Babiyodanda village, who have one or another disability, a fact that has earned the village a name: the village of the disabled.

Shital and Suman were born healthy, but witnessed their legs shrinking as early as the age of three or four. Now, they don’t have anything to do the entire day except killing the time by listening to songs on their mobile phones. It’s their parents who come to help them answer the nature’s call.

“We did take them to the hospital here after their legs started shrinking but they couldn’t be treated for the condition, and taking them elsewhere for treatment was out of the question for us given our poverty,” lamented the boys’ father Dhan Bahadur.

Like Shital and Suman, two-year-old Pem Dorje, four-year-old Sunapati and seven-year-old Phulmaya of the village also can’t go anywhere due to their physical disabilities. Besides, nine-year-old Sukaman, 15-year-old Amrit are hearing-impaired. They, however, are attending the school.

“We took her to the local health post, but they told us to take our child to a bigger hospital, which was not possible,” said Sunapati’s mother Dhadimai, while Prem Dorje’s mother also bemoaned the poor socio-economic status of her family to afford treatment for her son.

Local Devram Budhathoki called on the government for help for the treatment of the kids and find the reason behind a number of disability cases in the village that has 22 Tamang households. Recently elected ward chairperson Udaya Khadka echoed Budhathoki.

Meanwhile, only two children of the nine disabled persons have managed to acquire disabled identity card so far. On his part, ward chairperson Khadka, pledged to do the needful to oblige the rest with the card. Dr Rajendra Prasad Shah of the District Health Office attributed various factors, including the genetic one, to the disabilities.

A version of this article appears in print on June 11, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.

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