Innovative Practice 2018 on Accessibility

Disability-inclusive communities in remote areas

The Karuna Foundation, founded in 2007 by the Dutch entrepreneur René an der Stegge, works mainly in South East Asia. The model Inspire2Care developed by Karuna in Nepal creates disability-inclusive communities in rural areas, such as Rasuwa, Ilam, and Sunsari as well as in the capital Kathmandu. The programme focuses on prevention of childhood Disability, Community Based Rehabilitation and strengthening community systems to continue the work. Physical accessibility, Inclusive Education, access to treatment and assistive devices, social empowerment, and the creation of livelihoods are its major areas of interventions. Since 2015 approximately 5,000 persons with disabilities have benefitted from the Inspire2Care model.

“I feel like flying on my wheels towards my dream.“

About the practice at a glance
Name of Innovative Practice:Disability-inclusive communities in remote areas
Organisation:Karuna Foundation
of Implementation


As of 2017, a total of 4,917 persons with disabilities have benefited from the newly accessible structures. These include:

  • Health facilities: 1,138
  • Schools: 323
  • Public toilets: 3,285
  • Day care centres: 13
  • Other: 158


Nepal has a progressive law guaranteeing accessible infrastructure, information, education, and health care for people with disabilities, but the country does not consistently enforce this or other laws concerning accessibility.


The Inspire2Care model is based on community awareness and mobilization. The community owns the model’s concept and takes a leadership role in implementing disability-friendly structures by utilizing resources provided by local government authorities. The foundation’s objective is to strengthen community leadership and to create awareness about the importance of disability-inclusive societies, in which physical accessibility is crucial.
Children walking on a ramp to enter a school facility.Since 2015, Inspire2Care has reconstructed and adapted 30 accessible schools in 30 villages and 15 health centres in 15 villages, has constructed disability-friendly public toilets and a disability-friendly day care centre for children with mental disabilities, and has provided affordable accommodations for 58 persons with disabilities. Moreover, Karuna influences decision-makers and public construction companies at the local level, and explains the importance of disability-accessible structures and how to translate this into practice. Karuna is keen that most of facilities and buildings are built within existing local government plans and guidelines and with local resources.


The process of nominating accessibility projects has been replicated in the entire district of Ilam (48 villages), as well as some other surrounding villages. Going forward, Karuna has plans to expand the programme throughout the entire country within the next ten years.
Karuna believes that Inspire2Care has the potential to be replicated in any international setting similar to Nepal; and it has shown that with minor changes and using local resources and people, disability-friendly infrastructures can be constructed. More importantly, the cultivation of community ownership in establishing disability-friendly and accessible structures strengthens the potential to be replicated on a wider scale. Development players with a wide network throughout the world have shown keen interest in replicating the Inspire2Care model.
The project is supported by public and civil society funding. Karuna adopts the principle of cost sharing with the community, which means that part of the funding is locally generated in addition to funds obtained from other partners. The total budget employed for the nominated practice in 2016 and 2017 was approximately 800.000 Euros.

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