Overcoming the Barriers
Disability is a development as well as a human rights issue in Nepal. The Independent Living Center (ILC) works to overcome this barriers, but the realization of human rights for persons with disabilities (PWDs) in Nepal is a huge challenge since they are not even recognized as part of the society. Persons with disabilities (PWDs), specifically in the rural areas of Nepal, tend to be invisible, disadvantaged and forgotten in the context of development and society.
Cultural and Social Barriers
For many persons with disabilities (PWDs), in a conservative dominated society like ours, their daily life is restricted to one room, to their home or the proximity thereof. Even in some costumes and cultures, disability is considered as a result of the sin committed in one’s previous life or by an ancestor. Consequently, it is extremely difficult for a person with disability to get a job or acquire an education. Participation in society is very difficult or impossible for them due to physical as well as information and communication-related barriers. The stigma based on disability is severe in many parts of the country, particularly in the rural areas.
From a global perspective, the most important event for those with disabilities and the Independent Living Center (ILC) has been the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). The UNCRPD and its optional Protocol were adopted in December 2006 at the UN Headquarters and entered into force on May 3, 2008. The convention was signed by Nepal on December 27, 2009. The convention clearly reaffirms that persons with disabilities (PWDs) are active members of their society on an equal basis with others. The convention also highlights the full and active participation of persons with disabilities (PWDs) in development issues. The Independent Living Center (ILC) works every day so that these rights are being uphold in Nepal.
Opportunity gives growth
Many persons with disabilities (PWDs) are talented and more then capable of greatness. But unfortunately in a developing society that still does not fully recognizes the potential of persons with disabilities (PWDs) the chance on employment, leading functions and even political are minimal.
It has been proven a lot in the past that even persons with disabilities (PWDs) if given the correct opportunity can grow in to an inspiring person. That is why the Independent Living Center (ILC) aims to break these barriers and give the necessary opportunity to those are willing and able to achieve greatness. Needless to say that a person’s capacity is strengthened when he is given adequate opportunities to participate in the society. Indeed, all persons with disabilities (PWDs) have the right to be equal citizens and active participants in the society. But the irony is that many persons with disabilities (PWDs) in the developing countries live in an extremely unequal and disabling environment with limited personal capacity.
Nepal in this regard is no exception. Disability is still considered something to be ashamed of in a society like ours. It is all too common for persons with disabilities to be kept hidden away and excluded from mainstreaming into the society.
Under such circumstances, development through the concept of participation, empowerment and mainstreaming the disabled into the society is necessary. Because as a person gets empowered or mainstreamed, he has more possibilities to participate in and become an active member of the society. The more disability issues are mainstreamed into society, the more the society enables such persons to participate. And once empowered, a person has the capacity to advocate for his/her rights. As a result, their well-being also tends to increase basically in the field of education, employment and recreation. In this regard, mainstreaming people with disabilities should and must be a part and parcel of development.