Women with Disabilities in Nepal

Nirmala Dhital (L) & Rakshya Risal in the KPFA Studios.   Photo courtesy Ken Stein

Nirmala Dhital (L) & Rakshya Risal in the KPFA Studios. Photo courtesy Ken Stein

Listen (29 min)

Six years ago the traditional king of Nepal gave up the last vestige of his power and Nepal entered a period of intense transition.

We talk about how women with disabilities in Nepal are faring with Nirmala Dhital and Rakshya Risal.

Nirmala Dhital is the General Secretary of the Nepal Disabled Women Association in Kathmandu. 

Rakshya Risal is the Communication and Documentation Associate at the Feminist Dalit Organization (FEDO) in Kathmandu.

In Nepal most people think disability is a result of sin in your past life.  People are stuck in homes with sexually abusive family members because they don’t have wheelchairs and, if they manage to leave, they have no way to make a living.

But, some things are changing.  Fifty thousand Dalit women, so-called “lower caste” or “untouchable women,” have organized into groups 2000 strong for camaraderie and advocacy.  Many of them live with disabilities and have an awareness of disability rights.  Nirmala Dhital and the Nepal Disabled Women Association are also racing into the breach, with a hostel and other organizing work with disabled women.

We talked to Risal and Dhital when they visited their U.S. partners, the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund of Berkeley, Calif. in October.

Produced and Hosted by Adrienne Lauby, with major editing support from Sheela Gunn-Cushman.

Original Air Date: November 29, 2013
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