Background

Host Organization: NAID-Nepal

Nirmal Child Development Centre ( the first Special School) was established during the International Year of Disabled Persons in 1981, for providing services to the mentally retarded. This resulted in heavy demands from different districts for opening special schools. Thereafter, National Association on Intellectual Disabilities – Nepal (NAID-Nepal),formerly known as Association for the Welfare of Mentally Retarded (AWMR), a non-profitable, non-religious , voluntary national organization was established in 1984 and registered with District Administration Office, Kathmandu and Social Welfare Council in 1985 with an objective of providing comprehensive services to children and persons with intellectual disability and their families. The services include care, education, vocational training, sheltered workshop, home based rehabilitation, parents counseling, home visit, physio- and speech therapy as well as regular sports for children with intellectual disability. Many of these children have participated in different international Special Olympics events winning prizes and medals. In course of time, NAID- Nepal established 36 special schools in 26 of 77 districts, which are now jointly looked after by the elected district committees and District Education Offices, now called Education Coordination and Development Unit (ECDU). It was after the introduction of inclusive/integrated education policy for children with disability that all 36 special schools have been fully taken over by Special Education Council and the Department of Education, now Center for Education and Human Resource Development (CEHRD) of the Ministry of Education. The Council and ECDU together take care of training of special education teachers, staff and curriculum as well as the scholarship and general administration. Out of the 36 special schools, 15 schools have still retained their special school status and the rest are attached to local public schools for inclusive/integrated education. In recent days, many NGOs and private sectors are coming forward associating themselves with the cause of providing needed services to these children. NAID-Nepal’s Central Executive Body is elected every 3 years by the General Assembly which is comprised of representatives from different Districts. NAID-Nepal is a full member of AFID and had an opportunity of organizing 14th Asian Conference on Mental Retardation in Kathmandu in 1999. It is also a member of the National Federation of Disabled-Nepal (NFD-Nepal). The exact population of people with intellectual disability differs in different study reports. According to a survey done by AWMR in 1989, 4.06% of the population was recorded as having intellectual disability. NAID-Nepal works in close collaboration with the Ministry of Women, Children and Senior Citizens and Ministry of Education, Science and Technology along with other NGOs/INGOs. It assists and advises the government of Nepal in the formulation of national policy, action plans and legislative arrangements. The government has been providing monthly allowances to all people with disability including people with intellectual disability based on their degree of disability. The government also provides concessions in the travel and treatment. The plan, program and process of empowering people with disability, especially the intellectually disabled, is a slow and difficult because of their mental condition and therefore, there is a need of a policy of affirmative action by the government in areas like education, training, rehabilitation and the facilities to suit their mental conditions.