Marking the 4th World Birth Defects Day
चौथो विश्व जन्म दोष दिवस मनाइयो
March 5, 2018
Mother and daughter sharing their story
Ramala Karki – A hard working student and loving daughter.
March 21, 2018

We should stand up for our rights!

We arrive at the house of Suman by motorcycle. Her house is located in a small village in southeast Nepal, in the Sunsari district. Her father awaits us and calls his daughter. A seemingly timid young lady walks down the stairs to the courtyard. We are about to meet an ambitious young woman.

Suman

Suman

Suman is twenty years old and lives with her parents and a younger brother and a younger sister on a small farm. She is currently studying Biology in the city of Itahari and hopes to become a doctor, or if that doesn’t work out, a nurse. “The way I was treated by the doctor in the hospital, when I was 9 years old, inspired me to become a doctor myself, so that I can serve the people who have a disability.” She tells it with a low voice but visibly enthusiastic, with a smile on her face and her head up.

Before that operation, Suman experienced profound difficulties with her hands and feet. At the age of 2, she got burnt by an accident in the cooking place in the kitchen. “My hands were so swollen up that I couldn’t catch anything properly.” She got further treatments at the age of 12 and 15. This helped her a lot in her daily activities. She can now catch things and walk easier. It improved her life significantly In the case of Suman, her physical disability was treated already before Karuna came in. But the social aspects around her disability were still very present at that time, five years ago, when Suman was 14. Inspire2Care started in her villages and a Youth Club was established with children and youngsters with a disability. They came together every month and raised their voice for the issues of people with disabilities and other social issues in their community.

“Before, I couldn’t face my problems. People were teasing me, especially people from other communities who didn’t know me. Hari,
the Community Based Rehabilitation Facilitator, taught me and other Youth Club members to be strong. We discussed different types of disabilities and that people and children with a disability can still be part of society and can do all kinds of work. It motivated us. The people in the community thought that it happened because of sins, that people are getting a disability.

But any person can get any disability at any time. So, we learned that we have to change the thinking of the people in the community. And that we can do that ourselves.”

A very practical lesson for Suman was about how to respond when people were teasing her. “We should not keep silent for our rights and we should return answers if someone disrespected us. The first time I tried this, I was very scared. I felt that even if I answer them… what will I do when they keep teasing me, along with their friends?

But then I remembered what Hari taught us: if we don’t answer, they will keep teasing us. And eventually, I did it and it felt good! I felt that I had achieved something today and now I should teach it to others as well. Now, people never tease me anymore, and I am more secure of myself, and a proud Nepalese civilian.”

By different people with a disability becoming visible to the community, people have changed their attitudes. “If definitely has also changed the way the community reacts on people with a disability. Now, they don’t act negatively towards me, but also not towards others. For example, one member of the Disabled People Organisation has got a disability after an accident and he had to cut off his leg. People have that in their mind: they literally see that anyone can have a disability at any time. Even if the person is in good health, he or she By different people with a disability becoming visible to the community, people have changed their attitudes. “If definitely has also changed the way the community reacts on people with a disability. Now, they don’t act negatively towards me, but also not towards others. For example, one member of the Disabled People Organisation has got a disability after an accident and he had to cut off his leg. People have that in their mind: they literally see that anyone can have a disability at any time. Even if the person is in good health, he or she

For Samun, Karuna’s most important work had to do with empowerment, self-image, strengthening her motivation and self-confidence to be part of the society, to show proudly who she is and what she wants to become in the future: an inspiring doctor to help people with disabilities herself.

“People never tease me anymore. I am more secure of myself and a proud Nepalese civilian”

suman-we-should-stand-up-for-rights

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