KATHMANDU: Kamal Lamichhane, a visually impaired person, who hails from Jutpani of Chitwan, is all set to be conferred with Doctor of Philosophy on March 24. He will be the first disabled Nepali to be decorated with PhD.

In an online interview, he informed that University of Tokyo, Japan, was going to award him the degree.

He completed the masters degree at Japanese city of Tsukuba before moving to Tokyo University for the PhD. He has been studying in Japan since April 2007. He did his graduation from Sanothimi Campus, Bhaktapur.

Kamal Lamichhane’s PhD thesis is related to disability from the point of view of economy. He has researched how education makes persons with disabilities economically independent and socially included. Lamichhane was born to Goma Lamichhane and late Bhanubhakta Lamichhane as their fifth child. His

parents didn’t send him to school until he was at 12 as they had

little knowledge about the power of education.

A famous Nepali saying ‘morning shows the day’ came true for him. Despite facing a series of hurdles, he has succeeded in unveiling the curtain of darkness. He proudly said, “Academically, I was always among the top ten students in school and college. In exams, I was compelled to skip some picture-based questions which used to take a toll on my score.”

The visually impaired do not usually study languages due to the general lack of necessary materials, and at university Lamichhane was the first such person to graduate in the subject, securing the highest score overall in the country. He completed his school education from Adarsha Secondary School, Bhaktapur.

After his PhD, he thinks his second phase of life begins when he will use all his knowledge and

expertise to help others with disabilities. He noticed that Nepali students with disabilities have

to face several problems when studying abroad.

They have to spend their time to adjust themselves while doing research, they need financial support, it is still hard to get information on studies abroad and the chosen universities have no adequate support system for those with disabilities.

Then there are several practical hurdles for persons with disabilities: inaccessible roads, the walking distance from students’ living place to the university and campus. “Those who are visually impaired cannot access all educational materials, including journals, unless they are made available in text format in a database,” he explains. Persons with disabilities are vying to do PhD from TU. “I am very sad to note that our university has neither any department that deals specifically with disability studies, nor a professor with a background in disability studies. In such situation internationally such degree may not be recognised,” he rues. “TU should be well-equipped with adequate resources and good faculties on disability studies so that ultimately we can do research on disability issues in our own motherland,” adds Lamichhane.

When asked about the rights of persons with disabilities in the new constitution, he said, “The new constitution should address the concerns of persons with disabilities. The constitution should clearly mention that persons with disabilities would be included in all forms of the nation’s activities.”

President of the Federation of the Disabled Birendra Raj Pokharel is glad that Lamichhane will be awarded PhD. “It is a good news for the Nepalis with disabilities,” he said. “This will go a long way in helping to enhance the condition of Nepali disabled,” he added.