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Disabled access in Nepal

Nepal, a country hemmed in by China and India, is one of the world's poorest and least developed countries. It has to be said that providing for disabled people is not a top priority. The country is trying to recover from the recent earthquake in Kathmandu, which caused a massive loss of life and a sharp economic decline.

Disabled travel in Nepal

Out of a population of roughly 28 million people in Népal, around one million are registered as disabled. Malnutrition and inappropriate diets in Nepal may be a reason for this; it's been said that a balanced diet could avoid up to a third of cases. Unfortunately, disability is poorly viewed by the population. A highly spiritual country and the birthplace of Buddha, disability is seen by the Nepalese as a punishment by the gods. As a result there is discrimination towards disabled people, who are deemed to have vexed the gods; all this in a country where prejudices also arise due to the caste system, sexual inequality, religious beliefs and ethnic origin. Then there's the lack of specialist medical treatment and a lack of resources in the medical facilities available. Most disabled children cannot benefit from an education as a result of their physical limitations.

Travelling to Nepal

Facilities for disabled travellers in Nepal are not always available, as very few areas are accessible . Even if disabled Nepalese manage to go about their lives, don't automatically expect to find adapted or equipped facilities in Nepal. Large towns are crowded, streets are steep, roads often lack pavements (as in Kathmandu) and transport is tricky. Disabled facilities in hotels such as toilets, bathrooms and lifts are often spread over floors and hard to find, even in the classiest of establishments.

Nepalese bus

Even so, disabled travel in Nepal is possible if you have the right information and addresses. If embarking on a adventure doesn't scare you, then it can be done with the right amount of organisation. Many disabled travellers have been to Nepal and will highly recommend the trip!

Ségolène Renoud-Lyat
Updated 16 October 2015
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