Struggle for children with disabilities in Nepal

Child with disabilities laughing as she uses her new walker, Nepal
International NGO, Plan, reports the following:

3 December 2014: Children with disabilities in Nepal face a series of barriers to getting an education and drop outs can suffer social exclusion and violence, reveals new research from Plan – launched on International Day of Persons with Disabilities, 3 December.

The  new study Include us in education!, produced in collaboration with the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, conducted in-depth interviews with 21 families in Nepal.

The research shows that when children with disabilities drop out of school it can have a negative impact on their psychosocial wellbeing, as many will have faced violence, bullying and discrimination, by peers and teachers, as well as in community and home life.

Having dropped out school, they are forced to stay at home which leads to a limited opportunity to socialise with peers, leading to a feeling of isolation.

Barriers to school

The research also examined the barriers that children with disabilities in Nepal face when it comes to enrolling, staying in and regularly attending school.

The sample set revealed that transportation to and from school was an enormous challenge for many children, particularly those with physical impairments.

Economic factors, including direct costs of schooling caused problems for families, while the time it takes for parents to take their children to and from school was a more persistent barrier.

Parental attitudes

Include us in education! report coverPlan’s new report reveals children’s experiences in Nepal

It was found that children often missed school, dropped out or never attended due to poor health or the need for ongoing treatment and rehabilitation that interfered with schooling.

Negative parental attitudes also posed a barrier, as they questioned whether there was any use in sending their child to school – particularly if they had an intellectual disability.

Even when children with disabilities were enrolled in school, many still faced difficulties, with some citing poor physical accessibility within schools as an issue.

A lack of specialist resources, adapted curriculum and teacher training, particularly in mainstream schools, made it difficult for many children to learn.

Children’s voices

Aidan Leavy, Plan International’s Inclusion Specialist, said:

“This study highlights the need to include the voices of children with disabilities, not just in research but, when it comes to designing and implementing projects and policies.

“Plan International, together with specialist NGOs who focus on children with disabilities play a pivotal role in helping children with disabilities access education.

“Moving forward, Plan must continue to work with communities so they are aware of the rights of children with disabilities.

“It is essential to ensure that schools in communities are providing inclusive, quality education so that children with disabilities can learn in the communities in which they live.”

The report follows on from Plan’s groundbreaking 2013 report, Include us!, which compared Plan sponsored children across 30 countries and found that children with disabilities were on average 10 times less likely to go to school than children without disabilities.

Read the new report Include us in education!

Learn about Plan’s work in Nepal

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