DHERSEC, Nepal-Caring for People with Disabilities
Nepal, with its population of 29.6 million people, is located in Asia. It is landlocked, and borders China in the north and India in the south, east and west. Nepal has endured long political uncertainty after a civil war, has few resources to grow its economy and is subject to earthquakes and landslides.
Over 25% percent of its total population are living below the poverty line and earning less than USD1.90 a day [Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), 2020]. It is ranked 149 on the UN’s Human Development Index out of 189 countries [United Nations Development Program (UNDP), 2020].
People with Disability (PWD) are often the most underprivileged and marginalised group of people. Disabled and Helpless Rehabilitation and Service Centre, Nepal (DHERSEC, Nepal) provides support to those in extreme need. Their target population includes not only PWD and their families, but also earthquake, landslide, homeless and landless people, vulnerable single parents and those living in squatter settlements without security and livelihood.
Needs of PWD in Nepal include:
- Overcoming barriers: fatalism, dependency, stigma.
- Access to health – health literacy, preventive, general, specialized and rehabilitative care, appliances and technology.
- Social inclusion and full participation in community life
- Achievement of full potential in education and training
- Secure employment and successful business achievement
- Contribution to the nation as valued citizens
Medical Mission Aid has been the primary funding source for DHERSEC since 2003. The range of DHERSEC’s activities reflect the needs and issues of PWD: medical assessment and assistance, aids and appliances, diagnostic tests and medication, as well as education, training and business loans. In addition, there is the need for inclusion in normal services and community activities.
Shanta was a guest worker in the Middle East, but like many women in domestic service, was abused and actually thrown out of a window. She sustained fractures to both lower legs and was returned to Nepal without support. Dhersec helped with her rehabilitation through repeated surgeries. She received training in sewing, obtained a loan and was able to set up her own business.
Milan has been helped by Dhersec over the years, with his polio disability affecting especially the right leg. His old wheelchair is broken but still functions inside, but he has recently received a tricycle with help of Dhersec. His wife received sewing training and a machine to make an income for the family and their child is receiving support to receive an education.
Bibek has brittle bone disease leaving him with a significant disability. Thanks to Dhersec and funding through MMA, Bibek has recently received a new wheelchair.