First sightless Nepali conferred PhD

KATHMANDU: Kamal Lamichhane, a visually impaired person, who hails from Jutpani Chitwan, has been conferred with a Doctor of Philosophy. He is the first disabled Nepali to be awarded with the PhD title.

University of Tokyo, Japan, awarded him with the degree on March 24, 2010. In an online interview, he said that he has been given the highly prestigious fellowship of Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) to work as a post-doctoral researcher for two years.

“I am the first foreigner with a disability to receive the fellowship. I shall be working as a researcher in the faculty of Economics of the University from April for two years” he said.

“During two years’ period, I shall conduct research on the disability issues of developing countries particularly with the focus on Nepalis with disabilities,” he added.

Elated Lamichhane said that the award has really boosted his confidence to do more for the welfare of the differently-able populace across the world.

He has been studying in Japan since April 2007. He completed the master’s degree at Japanese city of Tsukuba before moving to Tokyo University for the PhD. He did his graduation from Sanothimi Campus, Bhaktapur and school education from Aadarsha Madhyamik Biddhyalaya, Thimi, Bhaktapur. He had started his School education at the age of 12.

In Nepal, it is not easy for a person with visual impairments to complete a PhD. Even now, many people don’t believe that such people can study and work.

Lamichhane said that he wanted to show the world that the differently-able people too could contribute a great deal to bring changes in the society if they are provided with opportunities. “With this Doctorate, I am glad that I am able to justify my conviction with evidence”, he opined.

He thinks that he has a sense of responsibility to act toward uplifting the livelihood of persons with disabilities. “This Doctorate is like a license for me to constructively work to change the negative mindset of general people towards people with disabilities and to work for improving the livelihood of this group”, he said.

Lamichhane’s PhD dissertation divulges on the economic problems faced by physically challenged people in this complicated world of materialistic growth and transactions. He has made subtle and extensive research on how education helps make physically challenged people to lead an independent life.

Lamichhane was born to Goma Lamichhane and late Bhanubhakta Lamichhane as their fifth child. His mother and other family member attended award ceremony in Japan.

After receiving the great honour, Lamichhane believes that his new life has begun. He has been involved in imparting knowledge and expertise to help people with disabilities to lead a comfortable life overcoming the challenges and difficulties.

He has a dream to establish a University where comprehensive study on disability issues including other minority studies can be launched. He says, “My efforts will always be towards bringing persons with disabilities into the mainstream of development.”

When asked his views about physically challenged people who are struggling hard to continue their study owing to lack of fund and inconvenient atmosphere, he said that it was possible to achieve any objective if one puts persistent hard work.

He further stated that disability was an opportunity to make maximum utilisation of the intricate situation to advance and accomplish the larger goal in life. Therefore, he urged those people with disabilities not to get disappointed by the difficulties and challenges they encounter because a journey without difficulty would be boring.

“Not to be let down with problem but to face them with vigour and confidence is what I call strength-based approach. With this approach, I believe that success will be with you”, he said.