Rajuna Singh: “There is a gap between policy and practice”

March 2023

Rajuna Singh is a consultant for the Inclusive Futures inclusive education project in Nepal.

She is a dedicated advocate for inclusive education using innovation and assistive technology, and completed her master’s in special education at Flinders University, Australia.

An Australia Awards alumna, Rajuna also facilitated a nationwide workshop on inclusive education in Chitwan, Nepal. The four-day workshop, conducted for representatives of organisations of people with disabilities and local government stakeholders, focused on the use of innovation and assistive technologies in education. It was part of the Inclusive Futures programme managed by Humanity & Inclusion and its local partner organisation Autism Care Chitwan Society (ACCS).

The inclusive education project

Between January 2022 and December 2024, the ‘Strengthening Inclusive Education Systems and Services in Nepal’ project aims ensure increased access to quality education for children with disabilities, including those with complex disabilities and those with basic learning needs, in Bharatpur city and Kalika municipality of Nepal’s Chitwan district. The project aims to reach 3,500 children: those with disabilities and learning support needs aged between four and 14, and those aged up to 18 with complex disabilities. It takes place across 154 community schools and the communities where it intervenes.

Here, Rajuna explains why she’s passionate about using assistive technology to make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities in Nepal.

Rajuna Singh.

Rajuna Singh

Humanity & Inclusion consultant for Inclusive Futures inclusive education project in Nepal

Rajuna’s story

“I still remember the first day school, when all the students came to see me in a wheelchair, and the struggles of my school days, where I could not manage to use the toilet for the whole day. There were no accessible facilities for wheelchair users. For inclusion in schools, accessible toilets are essential.

“I got support from my family, teachers and friends. My husband is also my classmate, and he is the one who made me realise that I am not different from others. I deserve a similar life like other people without disability, and inclusion in every aspect of society. My husband sacrificed his career to lift me up to achieve my higher education and to develop my career in Nepalese society, which is mostly patriarchal. Hence the dedication of family members is vital for the inclusion of persons with disabilities.

“I learned about Humanity & Inclusion from my friend Hari, who works as an inclusion protection officer. As I learned of its Inclusive Future programme work in Chitwan districts, I was eager to support them based on my experience and knowledge.”

Lack of accessibility in mainstream schools

“It appears that only people with disabilities or their parents are concerned about inclusion in different aspects such as education, health and livelihood. However, for inclusive education, other stakeholders must also be engaged and given ownership of this process to play their roles effectively.

“For inclusion in practice, it is crucial to introduce different types of assistive devices in educational institutions with trained staff. For children with disabilities to fully participate in mainstream society, they need a tailored-based support system supplemented with appropriate assessments by experts, multidisciplinary teams and timely monitoring and evaluation.”

Rajuna’s workshop to educate partners and OPD members on assistive technology and how it can support people with disabilities received positive feedback from the attendees. Pramila Neupane, who represents Autism Care Chitwan Society (ACCS), said: “We used to think assistive technology was extremely expensive. But after the workshop, we realised that existing technology can be made accessible to people with disabilities with few skills and can ensure their participation in society.”

“As a person with a disability, I appreciate HI’s commitment to promoting disability inclusion in Nepal. Through this workshop, we’re be able to see the gap between existing policies and practices in Nepal. It will be helpful to policymakers to develop a new inclusion policy with a monitoring system in the country.”

Rajuna recognises that without accessibility being considered in the education system, children with disabilities are at a higher risk of exclusion. Her efforts in leading the building of local education capacity, alongside individuals with disabilities and their organisations, have been instrumental in ensuring that inclusivity is a top priority.

A boy sits smiling outside a building next to a pair of crutches.

Inclusive education in Nepal

Learn more about how our inclusive education programme in Nepal is helping children with disabilities return to school.

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