- Birodh Khatiwada, chairperson, Disabled Care Nepal
Chairperson of Disabled Care Nepal Birodh Khatiwada has demanded separate quota for disabled persons in the House of Representatives and Provincial Assemblies. There is no legal provision for separate seat reservation for disabled persons in Nepal, he pointed out during an encounter with The Nepal Weekly. There are certain seat reservation under “other” category which also includes third gender, according to Khatiwada, who is visually impaired since birth. No political party has so far allocated separate quota visual or other physical dilsability, according to Khatiwada. I have not found any person with physical disabilityi getting directly elected in the recently concluded election, he pointed out. “There are seat reservation for ethnic minority and other marginalized population but there is no special quota for a person with physical disability, which is very said,” complains Khatiwada. In the absence of seat reservation for disabled person, the provision of inclusion as envisioned by the constitution has become meaningless, he pointed out.
According to Khatiwada, although the official data shows that there are around 300,000 disabled persons in Nepal, the actual the number is many times more than the data. Although there is a need for the state to take special care of persons with physical or mental disability in Nepal no special attention is paid by the state for the welfare and wellbeing of such persons, he pointed out.
Disabled Care Nepal, established at the initiative of Khatiwada has been actively involved in the welfare and protection of people with mental and physical disability for the past four years. Our organization is working especially for the rights and welfare of visually impaired and deaf persons, shared Khatiwada. The real disabled persons are not receiving any facility or special treatment from the government while some other people showing fake identity of disabled persons are enjoying various facilities, he pointed out.
“Many disabled persons who are capable of doing works similar to normal persons are deprived of job opportunities,” shared Khatiwada. When I appeared for a job interview some time ago, the company asked questions to me for hours and in the last minute, the interviewer rejected me just because I am visually impaired, recalled Khatiwada. This has inspired me to do something for the rights and welfare of disabled persons, he shared.
Disabled persons are deprived of many opportunities including job and training though they are equally capable and talented, said Khatiwada.
There are many persons with physical disability, who are well educated but are deprived of jobs and other opportunities just because they are diferrently able, he pointed out. When the educated and knowledgeable persons with living with physical disability are being neglected in the society what will be the situation in the villages where disabled persons are deprived of education and training, he pointed out.
One of the big problems facing disabled persons is that no bank or financial institutionare ready to open account in the name of visually impaired persons, according to Khatiwada. After we raised our voice that we should also get banking facilities, Prabhu Pay has started providing services to us, but no other banking or financial institution has taken any initiative towards that direction, he shared. Prabhu Pay has also started disabled friendly wallet, he added. At the initiative of Disabled Care Nepal, Prabhu Pay has started providing D-mat service and Mero Share for disabled persons for the first time, he pointed out adding “Prabhu Pay has also provided employment to ten disabled persons.”
Disabled Care Nepal has been active in running various programmes and providing various facilities to the disabled persons in collaboration with various municipalities, according to Khatiwada.
As we consider food, shelter and clothing our basic rights, disabled persons should also have access to health, education and employment, he pointed out. The organization is also working towards providing various assistance tools to the disabled persons in collaboration with various organizations. DCN has recently distributed around 100 walking sticks received from B.P.Koirala India Nepal Foundation, to visually impaired persons.
Our roads and transportation system are not friendly to disabled persons, he pointed out and urged the concerned authorities to build roads, bridges, toilets and other facilities convenient and friendly for disabled persons. In Kathmandu many are roads have pit wholes and are in bad conditions, which is hindering the movement of visually despaired persons, according to Khatiwada.
There is a need for making schools, libraries, toilets and other facilities friendly to disabled persons, especially those with visual disability, pointed out Khatiwada.