Amrita Gyawali is a young woman in Nepal who uses a wheelchair for mobility. She understands from her own experience the pain of not being able to find a single toilet where she can relieve herself when she is outside her own home.She even had to drop out of school after deeply embarrassing incidents when she was not able to get to a toilet in time and was punished by a teacher as a result. Eventually she was forced to pursue her education at home, growing up without the companionship of school friends just because there was no toilet that she could access with her wheelchair.She is keenly aware that her case is not unique. Many thousands of people with disabilities in Nepal have a similar experiences. As a result of inaccessible toilets they are effectively excluded from education, employment, participation, and other opportunities.Amrita believes that it is possible to make schools and universities more inclusive by bringing private, non-profit and municipal sectors together to plan, construct and rehabilitate toilets in schools and universities to ensure they are inclusive. She plans to use a combination of advocacy activities and awareness raising on this issue, targeting schools and universities to install functional disabled-friendly toilets, enabling people with disabilities to complete their education, and to use the issue to keep the disability issues high on their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) agenda.Amrita is already an experienced disability advocate and activist in Nepal.
- She advocated in one of the local schools with the help Growing Holistic Approaches Rehabilitation (GHAR) organization, and they build a disabled friendly toilet, and ramps in their new building (2010)
- She was nominated in the International Study Program "Global Challenges of Youth with Disabilities" (Aug 23-Sep 5, 2011, Seoul, South Korea)
- She has written articles about access to sanitation for people with disabilities in the national newspapers.
- She has participated as a public speaker and story-teller to push for greater and wider water, sanitation and hygiene access to those, especially girls and women, living with disabilities.
- She was one of the key presenters in the Fifth South Asian Conference on Sanitation, for installing water and sanitation for people with disabilities across South Asia. Her plea was turned into a binding resolution by the attending Ministers and Government Officials from seven different South Asian Countries. On the last day of SACOSAN, South Asian Ministers and the delegates committed themselves publicly to build inclusive sanitation facilities in all public buildings, schools, colleges, and business facilities.
- She has reviewed the current state of research, studies and evidence with regard to the connection between disability and WASH in Nepal, and has published the Disability and WASH Data-set with the help of WaterAid Nepal.
- She has written blog posts about her experience and thoughts on disability and WASH, has spoken many times in front the national newspapers, radio and television, thereby amplifying the force of her passionate advocacy on behalf of people with disabilities.