Srijanshil Apang Awaj Nepal (Voice of Creative Disabled Nepal) is an organization located in Maijubahal, Chahabil, Kathmandu, which was established in 2065 to provide shelter for physically challenged girls. What’s more, its primary aim is to provide all of them with an education. The organization’s motto is, “Don’t give us pity, give us opportunity; don’t be biased towards us, give us dignity”.
Its founder chairperson is Ms. Tulasa KC, who was born in Pyuthan. “I came to Kathmandu in 2057,” she says. “I have around 14 years experience working in this sector, having worked for about 10 years in the National Disabled Organization as Community Worker. I have also received training in physiotherapy.” Talking about her past, she says, “As a child, I had an accident once and injured both my legs. I couldn’t walk for a long time, but I persisted in my efforts and tried walking with the wall as a support. In time, I could walk well enough, and now I am fine.”
Of the 15 women in her center, 5 have to move round in wheelchairs. “The wheelchairs are very expensive,” she says, “and they have to be customized as per need of the user.” According to her, even if someone wants to donate a wheelchair, they have to first have it customized to the user’s needs. “That is what the UN has specified,” says she. Indeed, having worked so long with physically challenged people, she has excellent knowledge about rules and guidelines regarding their rights and privileges. Coming back to the cost of wheelchairs, they can cost anywhere between Rs.15, 000 to Rs.28, 000 each.
While the organization was relatively well housed in a nice building with a garden in front, the earthquake of April 25, 2015, changed all that. The house was severely damaged, and they had to take shelter in a large tent in the garden. Also, uncertainty about the future remains, if and when they are asked to move out by the landlord. “There is still great bias against physically challenged people,” she declares. “It’s extremely difficult for people like us to find a house on rent.” There are of course other difficulties, too. As she says, “Physically challenged people who have problems of the lower limbs need special shoes, and they are also very expensive, as are crutches, which can cost above Rs.2, 000 each.”
Despite all the problems, it is an organization that is doing such worthwhile work for the most unfortunate of our society. So, hats off to its founder, Ms. Tulasa KC and her coworkers.