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Disability Context

The World Health Organization / World Bank report on disability worldwide states that over a billion people, about 15 percent of the world’s population, are living with some form of disability and that most this population lives in developing nations such as Nepal, where necessary supports and services are at a minimum, if they exist at all.

Persons with Disabilities (PwDs), living in remote mountainous areas of Nepal, are doubly marginalized ––first by poverty, and then by social and economic exclusion. Negative attitudes and prejudices about disability have led to a relatively low allocation of national resources to disability intervention and resulted in the exclusion of individuals with a disability.

 The truth is, not much has been done by the government for girls with disabilities nationally. This means that girls with disabilities experience double marginalization — — first as girls and then as girls with disabilities.

In some rural areas of Nepal, women / girls with disabilities during their menstruation are kept in an isolated shed as it is feared that if a menstruating girl touches a man or a plant or even an animal, some bad luck befalls the family or the village.

Women / girls with disabilities who are members of minority groups are subject to multiple forms of discrimination and violence because of their race / minority, gender and disability status.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), came into existence in 2006, is the first binding international treaty to specifically protect the rights of PwDs. 

Nepal’s ratification of CRPD, in 2010, did not bring any significant change in the lives of the PwDs, especially persons with intellectual disabilities and psychosocial disabilities. Nepal had not properly assessed the laws, policies and obligations set forth by the Convention before signing it. Policymakers in Nepal therefore need to develop comprehensive understanding on Acts, laws and policies framed for persons with intellectual disabilities.

Stories of PwDs in Nepal

Aman, a sixteen-year-old boy with a physical disability that limits his movement and speech, started attending school two years ago in his village Far-western Nepal. He is now in grade two. His classmates are between seven and ten years old. His eleven-year-old brother attends the same school, but studies in grade four.

Aman uses a tricycle, which is pushed by his mother or other children in the community to get to school. Because the school entrance has steep steps and no ramps, Aman has to crawl to his classroom.

His mother Lakshmi stated Human Rights Watch: Aman sits alone on a smaller chair in the corner. The other children of his classroom do not like to sit with him because their parents have stated them not to touch with him. Aman has to refrain from using the toilet while in school from ten to four pm. When he needs to use the toilet during the day, another child has to run home to fetch his mother to assist him. The teachers say that if he has stomach problem, his mother should bother bringing him to school.

(Source: Nepal State Report by Human Rights Watch entitled: “ Futures Stolen Barriers to Education for Children with Disabilities in Nepal” at page available online:

Jaya, a 12 years’ blind girl, studies in grade six in one school of Far-western Nepal. According to her friends, she usually weeps everyday remembering her blindness. While answering, the question related to barriers to inclusive education for children with disabilities in Nepal, the researcher found her very serious. Jaya late stated that she was born for weeping. She said, “I am burden for my family, my society and my country. The same question every day asked by my parents and my society member gives me a torture which is who will marry with you? They said now you are 12 which is a right time for marriage but problem is that you are blind and nobody is ready to marry with you. Sometime they blame me as one of unlucky girl in the world. They often said your study has not use at all. Your attendance at school is meaningless.”

(Source: LLM dissertation of Dev Datta Joshi entitled “Examining Barriers to Implementation of Inclusive Education for Children with Disabilities in Nepal” submitted at the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG), Center for Disability Law and Policy, 2014)

Facts and Figures

According to the 2011 National Census of Nepal, persons with disabilities represent 1.94% of the total Nepalese population. Following the 2011 National Census, 36.3% of Nepalese have physical disability. 18.5% have visual disability, 15.4% have hearing disability, and 11.5% have speech related disability.

Likewise, 7.5% have multiple disabilities, 6.0% have mental disability, 2.9% have intellectual disability, and 1.8% have vision and hearing related disability.