Calls to make infrastructure accessible for persons with disabilities
Asia-Pacific, March 4 2017
KATHMANDU, NEPAL: Wheelchair users on Wednesday marked the 10th International Wheelchair Day by organizing a rally. The theme for this year is “Wheelchair Friendly Infrastructure, Not in Thoughts but in Action”. International Wheelchair Day was first observed in Nepal in 2008.
The event was organised to underline the issues of wheelchair accessibility in the Valley amid the ongoing road expansion projects, potholes and dug up road sections. Wheelchair users demanded inclined sidewalks and wheelchair ramps on the roads for their convenience.
“We have very few resources including budget that are required to build accessible infrastructure in the country, however, the government is working to address every demand people with disabilities have made,” said Bishnu Prasad Lamsal, secretary at the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare (MoWCSW).
There are 1.94 percent persons with disabilities in Nepal. Among them, 15,000 are in Kathmandu and 8,000 people are wheelchair users.
The rally organised by Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Centre on Wednesday marked the participation of 239 wheelchair users among other participants from various organisations including National Physical Disability Association, Nepal Disabled Association, Nepal Spinal Injury Sports Association, Independent Living, Cerebral Palsy Centre.
Social activist and journalist Kanak Mani Dixit, along with the President of National Federation of Disabled People (NFDN) Sudarshan Subedi, participated in the programme. Narayan Dawadi, who has been disabled for nine-years, said, “At least for a day we feel like we are the member of this community. For the rest of the days, the hardships we go through while travelling on the roads are unimportant”
A new study has shown that more than 200 people suffered adversely and started using wheelchairs after the devastating quake of 2015. The wheelchair users want the society to acknowledge them and react constructively.