Local levels supporting people with disabilities during COVID-19 pandemic

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Kathmandu - Raj Kumar Parajuli A visually impaired Khil Prasad Timalsina of Mandandeupur municipality-8 in the district is finding it hard to make a living during COVID-19 crisis. People with disabilities have been affected the most by a crisis. So there should be people with disabilities representing ward and town level disaster management committee at local level, he demanded. "We have been facing difficulties without jobs to sustain during ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as our agricultural products sustain us only a month.

The concerned authorities should hear and resolve our problems soon," he lamented. He expressed the hope that the disability inclusive response to COVID-19 pandemic campaign launched by the National Federation of the Disabled Nepal would help bring changes in the lifestyle of disabled people. However, there is not an ease for to let disabled people become a part of the disaster reduction committee as they, elderly people and children are at high risks of disasters, said Pranaraj Neupane, administrative officer at the municipality.

"Skill development programmes have been run for the disabled. The municipality has prioritised them during easy time and in crisis," he said, claiming that the action plan of the municipality has accommodated all disabled people. Similarly, General Secretary of the Nepal Disabled Women Association Pampha Purkuti claimed that the project has helped change lifestyle of the disabled people. "They (the disabled) have been availing their rights and services at the community level. They have focused on safety measures and reliefs and facilities they are entitled to during disasters." There are more than 500 people with disabilities in the municipality, she said.

Chandra Lama, coordinator of the local organisation for the welfare of the disabled people, said the local people have been benefited to some extent by the project. "Information and communication materials aimed at making the life of the differently-able people easier and the capacity building programmes implemented by the project have benefited the disabled people in the community.

They have been attracted towards these programmes and we have got assurances of relief," he said. He added that people with disabilities within the rural municipality have been urged to be connected with the project's services. The National Federation of the Disabled – Nepal has, in partnership with CBM, implemented the project called 'Inclusion of Disability in Response to COVID-19' in Mandandeupur municipality and Bhumlu rural municipality of Kavrepalanchok and in Helambu and Indrawati rural municipalities of Sindhupalchok district.

The project is aimed at improving the lifestyle of people with disabilities during the coronavirus pandemic. Programme Officer Surakshya Dhungana said activities are being conducted at the local levels where the project is implemented to enhance the access of people with disabilities in the physical facilities like quarantine, health centres and isolation centres as well as in communications services.

"We expect that the people with disabilities will no longer have to face obstacles like at other times for accessing information and for communication. The disabled people, their families and society have been encouraged towards new works and facilitation by the capacity enhancement training," she said.

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National News Agency, Nepal

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