Formal sectors see very few disabled persons

Kathmandu, June 12:

Though the government has come up with the Disabled Action Plan 2003, which obliges private and non-government organisations to employ disabled persons, the latter’s access to employment opportunities is very low.

Jagadish Prasad Adhikary of the Nepal-Disabled Human Rights Centre said: “Capabilities and skills of disabled people are yet to be recognised. Though there are policies that say the disabled may be considered for employment, they remain merely on paper and the government efforts in this regard are inadequate.”

Adhikary said that as per the Social Welfare Council’s policy introduced in 1996 — which says international non-government organisations must employ disabled persons — Action Aid Nepal and Plan Nepal, Hetauda, are some of the INGOs that have given opportunities to such people.

Thirty-seven-year-old Bal Krishna Shahi, who is physically handicapped and who started his career as a security guard at the Medical Aid Committee (CAM -Nepal) three years ago, is now an office assistant.

Shahi, an SLC graduate, who works for eight hours a day, said: “My sincerity and honesty in work has paid off. Now I have been assigned with additional responsibilities of updating loads and keeping a watch on the warehouse.”

According to him, a job for the disabled persons would mean boosting their self-esteem.

Roop Pradhan, the administrative and finance coordinator at CAM-Nepal, said there is no discrimination in his organisation as such persons are treated as differentially-abled persons rather than disabled. The number of disabled employed in formal sectors is negligible.

Some of them are currently employed in the National Human Rights Commission, the Butwal Contact Office, National Dalit Commission, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Radio Nepal and Nepal Television. However, most of the disabled persons are employed in organisations working especilaly for them.