Inauguration ceremony of Orientation Program by DHOM Canada

Published on: September 14, 2022

To promote the electoral candidacy for the upcoming provincial and federal level elections, an orientation program was organized on 6 September 2022 at Hotel Hardik for potential and interested candidates with disabilities. The event was organized by the Center for Independent Living of Persons with Disabilities, Kathmandu (CIL-Kathmandu) in partnership with Canadian Fund for Local Initiative (CFLI) The orientation attended by 25 participants with disabilities focused on the importance of disability-inclusive electoral candidacy, its pre-existing conditions, practices, and perceptions, as well as the steps ahead for the improvement in the future.

The program began with the formal sitting attended by the deputy chief of Mission of Canada Amanda Strohan, Stefanie Bergeron; the first secretary of CFLI, along with the leaders of organizations of persons with disabilities, and activists, as well as the representatives of CIL Kathmandu and different agencies. During the welcoming and inauguration ceremony, different speakers drew the attention of the stakeholders regarding the exclusion, deprivation, and challenges faced by the disability community while exercising their rights and being represented in political and policy-making levels. The speakers also expressed their dissatisfaction with the indifference and partiality of the political leadership and Government bodies to incorporating persons with disabilities.

The former president of the National Federation of Disabled Nepal (NFDN) Shudarshan Subedi expressed his gratefulness and appreciation for CIL-Kathmandu for the effort despite the prevailing challenges and barriers. He further added that people with disabilities who are the likelier candidates should be capacitated to break the chain of access denial and reach the level of developing policies and programs to include their representation. The chief of the National Disabled Women Federation, Nirmala Dhital added that the projects as such would be effective to ensure the representation and access of persons with disabilities, and moreover of those intersectionally marginalized sectors including the women with disabilities. During his speech, the president of the National Disabled Fund; Mr. Degraj Bhattarai said that the attention and priority of the Government towards the entire disability community is negligible. Reminding the worsening condition of the basic aspects of the only Government body for people with disabilities, he shared that challenges and barriers are enormous. Head of the social development Department of Kathmandu metropolis, Mr. Deepak Adhikari outlined the necessity of improving the quality of life of persons with disabilities and shared that the local Government is committed to doing so. He further wished for an increment in the number of people with disability in the to-be-formed parliament. 

Sharing her pleasure to participate in the opening session, the chief of Canadian Mission, Amanda Strohan, also the chief guest of the formal session, accepted that the conditions and status of persons with disabilities are yet marginalized. She added that the progress and development of society and the state can only be possible through the contribution of all the sectors of the society, and this would only be possible when all the sectors are included and participated at the political levels. Wishing the best for the success of the event, she hoped to see the people represented and included in the electoral process.

During his closing remark the chairperson of CIL-Kathmandu, and also of the ceremony Mr. Tek Bahadur Gurung said that the underrepresentation of people with disabilities ought to be challenged, and the project as such would contribute to breaking the chain of exclusion in the political and electoral arena. He added that the project would only be considered successful if it foresees the increased number of representatives with disabilities. 

CIL-Kathmandu through the lobby and advocacy programs with the stakeholders for disability-inclusive electoral access and workshops/pieces of training for capacity and leadership development of the potential candidates will make its best effort for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in both proportionate and directly electing systems for the upcoming election, leading to their representation in the parliament, as said by a CIL representative.