Disability-inclusive communities in remote areas
- Karuna Foundation
- Country of Implementation
- Asia & Pacific
- South Asia
- Start Year
- First published
“I feel like flying on my wheels towards my dream.” Supriya Limbu, a 12-year-old girl with cerebral palsy
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.
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.
Solution, Innovation and Impact
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. 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.
Funding, Outlook and Transferability
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.
THE STORY OF SUPRIYA LIMBU (12), USER OF INSPIRE2CARE
“Now I can move around in my house on my own.”
My name is Supriya Limbu and I live in eastern Nepal. I am a 12-year-old girl with cerebral palsy diplegia. My house is on a remote hill, adding more challenges in my day-to-day living. I had a dream to go to school like other children, but because of my disability and difficult geographical terrain, it remained only a dream. I was in need of support from my family members even to go to my kitchen and to use the toilet. When the Inspire2Care programme of the Karuna Foundation was introduced in my village, it opened ways to fulfil my dream. The programme helped my family to modify my living surroundings, including the construction of ramps from my room to the kitchen, front yard, and toilet. And the provision of a wheelchair has changed my daily living tremendously! I am also going to school now, but my grandfather has to carry me on his back for more than half an hour each way as there is no road where a wheelchair can pass. I am growing and my body is changing, thus carrying me is becoming a challenge. In school, however, I have received a special chair, though I still need support to go to the toilet. Many friends come to speak with me and to offer help, and the teachers are friendly too! I am happy with all these possibilities and changes.