Mukti Prasad Nyaupane

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Published On: August 22, 2017 10:23 AM NPT By: Mukti Prasad Nyaupane

Students’ search for light in darkness

Students’ search for light in darkness

PALPA, August 22: There are around 500,000 differently-abled people in Nepal, as per the National Population Census 2067 BS. According to the Health Ministry’s data, an additional 4,440 faced different forms of disability after  the devastating 2015 Gorkha Earthquake. 

Most of the people are afraid of obscurity, while some embrace and spend their lives in complete darkness. Twenty-four year-old Sundari Gautam from Durbar-2, Gulmi is one such example. She is pursuing her master’s degree at Tansen Multiple Campus, Palpa despite being visually impaired since birth. Her lack of sight has not barred her from approaching a bright future.

She completed her SLC (now SEE) in 2067 BS, and has never failed an exam in her life. Moreover, she is one of the brightest students in her class. She shared, “If you want to do something and your soul tells you to go for it, success will surely come your way sooner or later. I have never let my physical disability kill my passion to study.”

Srijanshil Apanga Swabhalamban Kendra has been supporting Sundari for her studies. The organization, established in 2067 BS, has 53 differently-abled members and they are involved in various income generating activities such as making and selling incense sticks, fennel, tea, bags and masks, among others. 

Moreover, the organization has also been providing hostel facility for 60 differently-abled students so that they could get proper education. 

President of the Kendra, Sandeep, who is also differently-abled, shared, “My aim is to help differently-abled people become entrepreneurs. Currently, we have students from Dhadeldura, Surkhet, Kavrepalanchowk, Baglung, Kaski, Rupendehi, Dang, Parbat and Arghakhachi districts staying at the hostel. Through the help of donation and scholarship for education, we have been providing for 60 differently-abled students studying in various levels.”

Lilaraj Tamrakar, another member of the Kendra, is visually impaired and studying in bachelor’s level. He aims to become a musician in the future. He expressed, “Physical disability or not, all humans are required to survive through individual efforts.

I want to bring change in the society through my work, which is only possible if I have the right skills and knowledge. I have to pay Rs 3,000 per month as my hostel fees and my family cannot provide it for me. So I am working at the kendra to pay my fees and learning to play musical instruments as well.”

Like-minded people at the organization interact and share their ideas to sharpen their skills. They also forge a strong bond and celebrate festivals together.

According to Secretary of the organization Samrat KC, the kendra works to find opportunity for the differently-abled members along with organizing various skills development programs such as management skills and journalism training, among others.

There are around 500,000 differently-abled people in Nepal, as per the National Population Census 2067 BS. According to the Health Ministry’s data, additional 4,440 faced different forms of disability in the devastating 2015 Gorkha Earthquake. 

Meanwhile, the Constitution of Nepal has given rights of protection, empowerment and development to differently-abled citizens, under which they should be free of societal discrimination. However, this has not yet been implemented in the experience of the differently-abled people.  

Nevertheless, Ashok Kumar Shahi, chief of Tansen Municipality, shared that the municipality office is in the process of making public and government structures disable-friendly. He said, “Everybody needs to be aware about the issues and rights of differently-abled people. We are doing our work to make sure they get equal opportunities for education, health, employment and in the political sector.”

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