Progress Report: Month Of January 2019
CIL-Kathmandu is a completely non-profitable and non-political, self-help organization run by and for persons with disabilities. It is a non-governmental organization established to work for the promotion and protection of the rights of persons with disabilities (PWDs) through the concept of independent living. The term "Independent Living" as defined by people with disabilities does not mean doing things for you or living on your own. It means having choice and control over the assistance and or equipment/assistive devices needed for daily life and having access to amenities that society has to offer such as housing, transport, health services, employment, as well as entertainment, education and training opportunities. Independent Living (IL) is a vision, a philosophy and a movement of persons with disabilities to promote and protect the human right of PWDs.
Independent Living Center, Kathmandu (CIL-Kathmandu) is working to promote and establish the concept of independent living in Nepal with the support of Ministry of Women Children and Social Welfare, Iruka NPO Center for Independent Living, Okinawa, JICA-Okinawa, Australian Volunteers Program, Planete Urgence and local government of Nepal.
The month of January consisted of a busy schedule for accomplishing major advocacy activities on accessibility and production of assistive device within the country, home visits, peer counseling, barrier check in tourism sites etc. Additionally, CIL-Kathmandu was actively involved in sharing its organizational mission, vision and goals to different national and international forums in order to lay the foundations for a future wheelchair production partnership in Nepal.
The activities that were carried out during January 2019 are as follows:
CIL-Kathmandu has conducted advocacy at Department of Transportation in Baneshwor. The team met General Director Lawanya Upaadhyaya, Director Tirtharaj Khanal and Director Gokarna Prasad Upadhyaya and shared major challenges that individuals with disabilities are facing in public transportation, roads and in traffic lights. Similarly, the team handed an appeal letter to Mr. Lawanya and his team for leading changes in transportation that restricted participation of PWDs. Mr. Lawanya have shared upcoming plan of the government for enabling access to public vehicles and space. They made minute for carrying necessary process to for building inclusive policy and strategy for enabling access on public buses and other means of public transportation.
Picture 1: Advocacy at Department of Transporation. Mr. Lawanya is oberserving accessible van.
For Independent Living Movement, peer counseling plays vital role to find out the real needs (whether it is medical aid or psychological assistance) of individuals living with disabilities. The counselor investigates the psycho-social situation of client in order to develop appropriate solutions so that the client’s awareness about his/her own disability rises, he/she is able to accept his/ her disability and build confidence to cope or reduce barriers that he/she is facing in the community.
The underlying assumption of peer counseling is that anyone, if he/she has the opportunity, can solve most of his or her own daily life problems. It is not the job of a peer counselor to solve someone else's problems, but simply to help the other person independently find appropriate solutions. Peer Counselors neither say what someone should "do" nor give advice. Instead, a peer counselor helps to find solutions by listening, reporting on his/his own personal experiences, exploring opportunities and resources with the person to be counseled to simply give her/ him support.
CIL-Kathmandu conducted a home visit in Balkot, Bhaktapur. The main purpose behind visiting the home of Mr. Shyam Karki was to assess his living conditions and provide counsel to reduce stress and build support fo rmental health. The team assessed his need for an active wheelchair, need for support for vocational trainings for him and his wife and assistance with a legal case against regarding his right to parental property.
Picture 2: Mr. Shyam Karki is enjoying CIL-Kathmandu and PFPID visit at his home.
CIL-Kathmandu plans to send its wheelchair manufacturing staff to assess Mr. Karki’s needs to provide him with a customized wheelchair in future. Mr. Mukunda Hari Dahal, Advisor of Parents Federation of Intellectual Disability (PFPID) committed to providing the needed support for the legal action to gain benefit from Mr. Karki’s parental property. Similarly, CIL-Kathmandu and PFPID together will find a source to support this couple for finding a job or connecting with vocational service centers to near their living area.
CIL-Kathmandu expresses special gratitude to Mr. Mukunda Hari Dahal, former president of PFPID and Mr. Achyutraj Acharya for coordinating and making possible our visit to Mr. Shyam Karki.
CIL-Kathmandu is happy to continue activities for re-designing wheelchair models, leading manufacturing of wheelchairs utilizing locally available resources, establishing a well equipped wheelchair manufacturing and repair center in Nepal, including Nepal's first electric wheelchair. We are thrilled to be able to offer these services and to conduct more research on wheelchair innovation and design. The new workshop has been fitted with the necessary machinery and recently the team responsible for wheelchair manufacturing activities innovated two models of active manual wheelchairs. These wheelchairs are made of aluminum and weigh9kg, with active and comfort features.
Picture 3: CIL-Kathmandu made an electric and manual wheelchairs in Nepal
CIL-Kathmandu hosted a meeting with National Association of Physical Disabled (NAPD) and National Spinal Cord Injury Sports Association (NSCISA) on 16th January 2019 The main purpose behind conducting meeting was to finalize a concept note for future activities so that all three disabled people led organizations may develop a partnership with Denmark-based disabled people’s organization for ensuring rights of persons with disabilities in Nepal. We jointly shared about existing challenges on enjoying rights to live independently at chosen community by making own decisions. Based on these discussions, the organizations designed a concept note for finding a way for increasing social awareness and advocacy with Nepal government to reduce existing barriers. The concept note particularly focused in raising awareness, advocacy with Nepal government for ensuring rights of persons with disabilities, learn from each others’ knowledge and experience for organizational development/growth.
Picture 4: Meeting among three project partners at CIL-Kathmandu
As a result, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Danish organizations and Nepalese organizations for 18 months starting from July 2019 to December 2020 created. Mrs. Renu Lohani, Country Representative at Disable People’s Organization Denmark, DPOD assisted team to finalize all needed documents for future collaboration and partnership.
Some peers using wheelchairs from Korea recently expressed their interest to travel and explore the beauty of Nepal. Due to their humble request and heightened interest on accessibility issues of major touristic areas Ms. Jamuna Subedi, Secretary General of CIL-Kathmandu visited world heritage sites Lumbini and ChitwanNational Park during 22 January and 26 January.
Lumbini is a Buddhist pilgrimage site located in Rupandehi District of Province 5 in Nepal. It is the place where Lord Buddha was born. Lumbini has a number of older temples, including the Mayadevi Temple, and various new temples, funded by Buddhist organizations from various countries, have been completed or are still under construction. Many monuments, monasteries and a museum, and the Lumbini International Research Institute are also within the holy site. Also, there is the Puskarini, or Holy Pond, where the Buddha's mother took the ritual dip prior to his birth and where he had his first bath. The visit was fruitful to observe accessibility and the barriers in sites.
Ms. Subedi found barriers at the entrance of some temples. She shared her experience with some hotel owners as well who are actively working to promote accessible tourism in Nepal. During her visit she met Mr. Binesh from Lumbini Kansai, Mr Ramesh Upadhyaya from Sakya Muni Guest house and Mr. Luru Budhamaya Hotel and asked feature of their hotels. She roam around to check the accessibility at their hotels and suggested them to improve accessibility so that their service will be for all diverse group of people without segregating them to explore beauty and peace of Lumbini that it is trying hard to spread all over the world.
Picture 5: Accessibility Challenge in Lumbini, Word Heritage Site
Similary, Ms. Subedi checked accessibility in Safari Narayani Hotel. Chitwan is famous for jungle safari. Sauraha is a village situated close by the Rapti River and the Chitwan National Park. In addition to jungles safari it is possible to visit small and very rural Tharu villages made of mud and daub huts and houses with preserved traditional culture and customs. Tourists find Chitwan full of adventure because it is the most prominent place to do jungle safari and feel the nature and its peace. Most tourists do safaris by foot. Jeep and elephant safari is also famous here. Chitwan is famous for observing rhinoceros as well as deer, monkeys, crocodiles, leopards and Bengal tiger.
Because of the special request from friends from Korea, Ms. Subedi reached Safari Narayani Hotel Patihani to assess accessibility. This 3-star hotel is positioned on the side of Rapti River and has good accessibility for a diverse range of tourists, including those who use a wheelchair. The hotel staffs are well-oriented about the diverse needs of guests and also excellent western style hotel arrangements. The hotel manager shared their past experience with group of diverse people including wheelchair users who have come to Sauraha to enjoyed their time experiencing culture and customs at Tharu Village, undertaking an elephant ride jungle safari and traditional type boat among other activities.
The visit was fruitful for collecting evidence to carry advocacy with Lumbini Development fund(LDF) that locates in Kathmandu. CIL-Kathmandu is planning to conduct advocacy with LFD in next month. The advocacy meeting anticipates for raising awareness among LDF team and will expect for necessary steps to reduce barriers.