Yesterday, on the occasion of the 10th International Wheelchair Day, wheelchair users in the capital organized a rally. The theme for this year is “Wheelchair Friendly Infrastructure, Not in Thoughts but in Action”.
This event was organized by Spinal Injuring Rehabilitation Center on Wednesday. More than 230 wheelchair users with other participants from various organizations including National Physical Disability Association, Nepal Disable Association, Nepal Spinal Injury Sports Association, Independent Living, and Cerebral Palsy Center came together for the march.
The main goal of this rally was to bring the issues of wheelchair accessibility in the valley to light amidst the on-going road expansion projects. Wheelchair users demanded inclined sidewalks and wheelchair ramps on the roads for their convenience.
“We have very few resources including the budget that is required to build disabled-friendly 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).
Social activist and journalist Kanak Mani Dixit, along with the President of National Federation of Disabled People (NFDN) Sudarshan Subedi, also participated in the program. 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”
1.94 percent of the Nepalese population is differently-abled. Among them, 15,000 are in Kathmandu and 8,000 people are wheelchair users. However, the number has risen after the devastating quake of 2015. The wheelchair users want to sensitize the society to acknowledge them and react constructively.