Kathmandu, Dec. 3: Devu Parajuli, who is in her 40s now, is living with her disability caused by post-poliomyelitis and is currently continuing her daily life with the help of caliper.A therapist by profession, she was caught at National Disabled Fund (NDF) office at Bhrikutimandap, Kathmandu on Wednesday.
Parajuli, who herself worked at the Fund for 11 years as a therapist for persons with disabilities, is now visiting the office daily although she is now a former staff of the Fund.The caliper that helps her to walk and do everything in her life is due to the supportive device or artificial limb called knee ankle foot orthotics (KAFO), provided by the Fund.
She said she could hardly imagine days without having KAFO when she was in her childhood and the society’s discrimination to her and the family. “But since I started devoting my life for working in the sector for persons with disabilities at the Fund, I got my life transformed and is now living my life in a respectable manner,” she said.
She said the life she is now living has no regrets despite being unable to walk with her own leg. “Despite my disabilities, I continued my education and passed Bachelors’ degree because of the support from my parents.”She thinks that she has done much more than her many of her female friends and colleagues, most of whom are now dependent on their husbands for everything in their lives.
“Despite my disabilities, today I’m earning myself and sustaining my livelihood independently along with my family members and there is no such pressure,” Parajuli said.As the whole world today (December 3) is marking the 29th International Day of Persons with Disabilities, she has her message to other women and men with complete or partial disabilities that proper guidance, support from family, friends and education only can help make people’s life easier and independent and happy. She said although there are dozens of private and non-governmental organisations working in the sector of persons with disabilities, the government’s own National Disabled Fund, under the Ministry Women, Children and Senior Citizens, has been doing its best to provide all possible support to the persons with disabilities across the country with the available resources and the fund the government provides them annually.
According to Ramesh Lama, president of the Fund, the office had to run and carry out their daily responsibilities like providing and manufacturing artificial limbs, supportive devices, and other tools to persons with different types of disabilities despite limited resources, funds and skilled human resources.Apart from the government-provided budget, the Fund has also been receiving financial and infrastructural support from the private sector and diplomatic missions here in Nepal.
According to Lama, the Fund has estimated that there are currently 4.2 million persons with disabilities in the country.
The Fund has been investing or providing artificial limbs at up to Rs. 300,000 per person but this may differ depending upon the support device they need. He said if any person visited the office seeking one artificial limb of a particular location of his/her human organ, the Fund office could not provide it immediately as they need to manage and collect resources and they had to wait for months. The Fund has started manufacturing artificial limbs for the needy since 2061 B.S.
Before that, the office had been distributing and supporting only the devices and supporting equipment like wheelchairs, white sticks and other things free of cost. He said the office had been providing artificial limbs and other devices to nearly 1,200 persons with specific disabilities annually.He said the programmes and budget the government had been allocating annually were not sufficient to sustain their demands so they had to rely on other institutions.