In regions like Humla, where poverty is so obvious, people with disabilities are the most disadvantaged. It is extremely difficult for disabled children to access education. Many people with disabilities are illiterate. The Nepalese culture with its religious and superstitious beliefs is not helpful when it comes to inclusion and integration of people with disabilities. Disability is seen as a curse or a punishment for family sins. It is embarrassing for a family to admit having a disabled child.
Disabled people are not regarded as contributors to society and therefore many children with disabilities don’t receive any education. Not only in remote areas like Humla but also in cities like Kathmandu, a child with a disability often ends up on the streets. According to a report by the Minister of Health and Population, almost half of all Nepalese children under the age of five who do survive are malnourished, a condition that causes physical and mental disabilities. There is no accurate statistics about the number of people with disabilities in Nepal, however, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 15% of the world’s population suffer from some form of disability. We have to work with this figure until the data of the 2011 census are available. HEAD Nepal is currently in the process of compiling and analyzing the data for Humla district.
The following are some of the reasons for a potentially high number of people with disabilities:
– Lack of nutritious food
– Hard physical work of mothers during pregnancy
– Lack of proper health care
– Incorrect use of alternative, traditional medicine
– Intra marriage
– High altitude
– high UV-Light radiation that causes eye problems
– Unhygienic circumstances and many more