Discrimination against the disabled in Nepal

Nepal is one of the world’s poorest countries and one of the hardest places to live if you have a disability. A recent survey showed that 42 percent of families of people with disabilities were living below the poverty line. The predominant religious beliefs and culture often lead to people adopting a fatalistic view of disability. Disabled people are commonly considered a burden to their families and wider society and have even been denied access to basic education and health services.

Nepali society still views disability as a penance for sins committed in previous lives. People with disabilities are treated as an object of pity. They are often hidden away. The notion that people with disabilities have equal rights is largely absent.

According to a study conducted by New Era, 70.1 percent of those with disabilities are living with stigma and face difficulties living in the community with self-respect.

7-10 percent of the total population in Nepal are the people with disabilities in some form. There are five categories of disabilities recognised by the government: visually impaired, hearing impaired, physically disabled, mental disability and mental illness. Rights of all people with disabilities to participate fully in society have not been practiced by the state. In terms of health, accessibility, education, economy, and employment opportunities people with disabilities are treated as second-class citizens.

Research has indicated that most disabled people (69.3%) depend on support from their family members.

Having a disabled person poses problems in most (90.5%) of their households. The difficulties faced are mostly related to the inability of the disabled persons to work, and taking care of the disabled persons.

According to the finding of New Era most of disabled persons have no education (68.2%) compared to the general population, where 4.8 percent have no education. The literacy rate is considerably lower for females than males, with 77.7 percent of the females and 59.6 percent of the males having no education.

Pray for a shift in attitudes within Nepalese society that may lead to greater compassion for those with disabilities.

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