General sharing on Independent Living Concept/movement was being conducted among the executive board members and staffs. Participants expressed their concern over the challenge to build concrete concept on IL and running the movement. Still all were committed to learn by doing even though the subject and practices are tough job. The conclusion of sharing session was 'small attempts can bring a huge change in long term if consistent effort is applied'.
Our 3 personal assistants Sudhir san, Ranjata san and Jamuna san are restlessly serving us as usual. They are gaining more practical knowledge from their duty. They have been showing their dedication and sincerity while assisting persons with disabilities in daily basis or in special events like 'Deusi Bhailo' mass awareness campaign.
PAs cleaning office premises
PAs around us to assist during campaign
Prem san who has got newly purchased scooter free of custom duty as per Nepal Government's rule; who was initially denied that facility by local administration and finally produced recommendation letter for duty free after strong advocacy of ILS-Nepal has several challenges to drive scooter on the road. So ILS-Nepal team members who already have good experience to drive 4 wheeler scooter are facilitating him providing basic knowledge and skills to drive safely as a part of peer counselling. Even his wife is oriented with necessary skills about assisting him while getting on and getting off that scooter so that she could support her husband in and out of the home when needed.
Prem san riding his new scooter.
We shared about safe driving of scooter with Prem san & his wife
One of our executive board member Jhalak alias Bharat san visited at Lakeside; a famous tourist place in Pokhara for barrier free check on behalf of ILS-Nepal. He there identified a public toilet recently renovated by Lions Clubs which was totally inaccessible for wheelchair user people. It has drawn our serious attention and we have written and dispatched a request letter to them for further renovation as far as possible. At the same letter we have asked them to ensure accessibility whenever they will fund for public contruction/renovation to create a disabled friendly public place.
ILS-Nepal has conducted one day 'Awareness Program' among the stakeholders as a part of system advocacy in terms of existing policy and programs, its implementation aspect and challenges regarding the issues of Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) in Pokhara, Kaski. Chiefs and representatives from different major government line agencies, NGOs, DPOs, Medias and grassroots level Self Help Groups (SHGs) were present on the occasion.
A fund raising event called 'Deusi Bhailo' program was launched on the occasion of Nepalese Holy Festival 'Deepawali'. It was just like a mass awareness campaign through performing wheelchair dance along with other non-disabled dancers' beautiful dance items. We have disseminated the information about creation of accessible, inclusive and friendly society for persons with disabilities during the campaign in the community. We visited 15 different nooks and corners of Pokhara valley to present the performances. 16 wheelchair user people participated in the campaigns who were accompanied with a group of artists comprising 6 persons, 3 personal attendants of ILS-Nepal and other nearly 12 non-paid volunteers. We got very good response from the large number of community people though there were some bitter responses in few places too. ILS-Nepal has collected around Rs. 215,000 and expenditure was nearly Rs. 80,000. The surplus amount will be utilized as program cost of different activities according to the action plan of ILS-Nepal in coming days.
We have been doing our best but still we have certain limitations or challenges for proper implementation of action plan. Following are the examples:
In November, we will specially focusing on 'District Level Seminar' on IL Concept for persons with disabilities including local stakeholders. Barrier free check, advocacy and orientation class for school/college students on disability issues are the other major activities we will be implementing in November according to the action plan.
It was really interesting to implement two big events such as 'awareness program' for stakeholders as a part of system advocacy and 'Deusi Bhailo' program in a month. ILS-Nepal is gradually gaining its momentum to manage organization's internal functions as well as implementing action plan despite the limitations and challenges. We seek valuable comments and feedback from you all to improve our performance.
Thanks you very much.
Mr. Hem BahadurGurung Ms. AnjanaK.C.
General Secretary Treasurer