Assistive Services, Devices and Technology
As leaders in the disability sector, CIL-Kathmandu is involved in training, research, innovation and production of assistive devices and services that can help make the lives of persons with disabilities easier.
CIL-Kathmandu also engages in the manufacturing of wheelchairs and other assistive devices with particular focus on producing more functional, effective and user-friendly methods of assisting people with disabilities.
Innovation and technological advancement are strongly valued at CIL-Kathmandu, leading to the organization’s investment in study and research in the field of assistive devices to discover new approaches to ensure the best possible support available for persons with disabilities.
In Nepal, persons with disabilities often obtain wheelchairs as donations from local and international non-government organisations. Whilst this generosity does not go unappreciated, CIL-Kathmandu believes that wheelchairs should be provided on a needs basis, through a rights-based approach, not charity-based.
In most cases, wheelchairs are provided without any needs or physical assessment, leading to ill-fitting wheelchairs that do not meet the needs of the individual. Because of this charity-based approach, persons with disabilities are obliged to accept whatever they are given, which can sometimes lead to an array of negative side-effects. For example, an individual who lives in a hilly village area may be given a chair without sufficient breaks- a serious safety hazard.
In Nepal, there are very few organizations providing wheelchairs and assistive devices with detailed assessment and measurement of the users as it requires importing the tailored, measured devices from abroad. CIL-Kathmandu advocates for domestic production and personalised tailoring of assistive devices. CIL-Kathmandu requests the government to be responsible for this important initiative.
Despite the perceived large investment and human resource required to produce wheelchairs domestically, in 2012 CIL-Kathmandu was successful in producing 28 model aluminium wheelchairs by using local technicians and the support of the Ministry of Women Children and Social Welfare. This has inspired the government, other stakeholders and companies to invest in wheelchair production and has provided hope for the persons with disabilities who need them.
To promote the mass production of such wheelchairs in Nepal, CIL-Kathmandu is now working with the engineering department in Kathmandu University, which will enable a more tailored approach to the production of wheelchairs and a greater consideration of the physically challenging terrain in many parts of Nepal.