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Sharing Workshop: Assistance for the physically impaired people in Nepal

Publication date:2018-11-22
 
By Nozomu Nishijima (AMDA Physiotherapist, Nepal)

Vice Mayor (middle)Assistance for the victims of 2015 earthquake in Nepal, especially with a focus on supporting disabled people and their families, has entered its fourth phase after three and a half years from the disaster.

Until now, AMDA Nepal has carried out a range of activities to realize a community in which both disabled and non-disabled people can live in harmony. AMDA Nepal has collaborated with a local counterpart Independent Living Center Lalitpur (ILCL) to encourage government institutions to get involved while conducting a home-visit program and other efforts from which people with impairments and their peers can directly benefit. This mutual effort was intended to have people with disabilities take part in the decision-making process and let them forge ties with local authorities for the enhanced initiatives. Having their presence also helps avert the entire project to become excessively government-centered, thereby allowing people with disabilities to be at the forefront of the program.

After the earthquake, Nepal embarked on a great endeavor to run the country under the new constitution. Now that the policy making has been entrusted to each municipality (unlike the time when central ministries were in charge of the whole process), a more democratic approach can be taken in reflecting the views of the public. As is the case, while we encourage ILCL to make use of this current of the time, we have been sharing a lot of ideas in concretizing our plans for creating a disability-friendly city.

Presentation by AMDA personnelFor this fourth phase, AMDA and ILCL co-organized an event named “Sharing Workshop” on 17th August in Lalitpur where ILCL is based. In the workshop, disabled people that overcame difficulties shared their stories of challenges in life, and this prompted other participants to come up with new ideas that could improve the current living environment in the city.

Among 49 participants were the vice-mayor of Lalitpur, the city officials from a relevant department, local community leaders, not to mention physically impaired people and their families. The function was held at the Lalitpur City Office.

In the first half of the workshop, I gave a presentation to touch on various topics: 1) AMDA Post-quake Reconstruction Assistance for Disabled People, 2) the fact that our society as a whole should be responsible for the problems surrounding people with impairments, 3) creating a town where literally everyone (regardless of disability, gender, nationality or age) can live soundly, 4) the fundamental principle of the project (introducing a case study in Japan).

In the afternoon session, four people with physical impairments presented a speech by explicating the obstacles they had to overcome, and how much they had been helped by their peers. They also revealed their current concerns, worries toward the future as well as things they want to request the government to improve.

Presentation by people with disabilitiesExchaning ideas

Finally, we received a lot of positive feedback from the participants. (The below is from the questionnaire we asked the audience to fill out.)

Q1: What are your personal findings?
-”There are still many disabled people who have been reclusive” (a community leader)
-“The workshop of this kind should be held at city offices more frequently” (a city staff)
-“Learned many things about disabled people”
-“Municipal governments should do more to provide assistance toward people who are physically challenged”
-“How can disabled people voice their concerns?”
-“We, non-disabled people, have the liability, and people with disabilities have the right to embrace one’s life and freedom” (a community leader)

Q2: What did you think about the workshop?
-“People with disabilities can live by themselves if they are given the right environment or if they have the right mindset” (a community leader)
-“I came to realize that our society can change if we thoroughly continue our dialogue with the government” (a family member of a disabled person)
-“I learned that it is increasingly important to make buildings barrier-free. This should be everyone’s benefit. And this is everyone’s issue as well. Both disabled and non-disabled people should work together to make it happen” (a community leader)
-“After learning the status-quo, I felt the urge to create a barrier-free environment in my own community as well. To begin with, we need to grasp the number of people with disabilities. Secondly, we need to start working on the reform by directly engaging them in the planning process.” (a community leader)
-“I am happy to be part of this workshop. Everyone should be equal. I think the municipal government should allocate the budget for this workshop so that it could be held on a regular basis. That, I believe, would definitely be a game-changer” (a city office employee)
-“I should start interacting with disabled people more in my own community from time to time. By doing so, I can learn what difficulties they have been faced with. I guess I should begin with whatever I can to help them” (a community leader)
-“I was honored to be part of the event. Disabled people are no different from us. They are our friends. We need to live in the same community. In order to bring about change in our society, I also felt that the power of municipal governments is needed to a certain degree” (a community leader)
-“Before taking part in the program, I knew nothing about the situation in Japan. The program taught me how the human rights of disabled people have been protected. I was really impressed by the Japanese government’s care and support toward people with disabilities” (a community leader)
-I was glad to be able to join the program because it allowed me to share my earthquake experience while listening to other people’s accounts. It made it worth my while because government officials and other participants made a lot of valuable suggestions. The visual materials AMDA personnel used in one’s presentation made it very comprehensible” (a participant with a physical impairment (one of the presenters))

Overall, I was convinced that the workshop would lead to a better tomorrow for all of us. I hope to make most of my work as a facilitator and try to continue supporting the program that enables ILCL and the municipality to create a disability-friendly city.
 
    •  Primary Health Care & Promotion of Health Awareness (Promotion of Health)
    •  Nepal
    •  2018
    •  ER & Reconstruction
    •  GPSP

 
 
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