On June 5 the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu hosted an interactive speaker program on disability rights. During the program government experts expressed a commitment to work toward improving Kathmandu’s sidewalks to make them more accessible for people with disabilities (PWD), the elderly, people with injuries, and the general population. Among the 65 participants in the lively discussion were engineers, architects, government officials, students, members of the civil society, people with disabilities, and the press.
Facilitating the program, California-licensed civil engineer Ananta Ram Baidya underscored that with a little planning and commitment, Kathmandu’s streets could be made friendly to people with disabilities for no additional cost. Baidya, who spent over 30 years in the U.S. practicing civil engineering, is now a Visiting Faculty member at Kathmandu University.
“We will strive for allocating resources in the upcoming budget to promote the needs of PWDs - friendly sidewalks, streets and public buildings,” said Gambhir Lal Shrestha, Civil Engineer with the Urban Development Department of Kathmandu Metropolitan City.
“We understand the issue of accessibility for PWDs, and we continue to work together with different stakeholders on developing sidewalks in Kathmandu that will provide access for PWDs as well as the elderly and other people,” said Shyam Prasad Kharel, Program Manager of Kathmandu Road Improvement Project.
Opening the program, Information Officer of the U.S. Embassy Kathmandu Robert Domaingue said, “No society can afford to lose the creative talent of its citizens due to lack of access to basic services.”