Nepal: pioneering rehabilitation for disabled people

Shiva's new wheelchair

Shiva’s new wheelchair

Title Improving livelihoods of disabled people through pioneering rehabilitation work in rural Nepal
Description Enabling people living with disabilities to access rehabilitative services to improve their health, quality of life, and their social integration.
Status Implementation
Dates Start: 2012; End: 2015
Implementing partner International Nepal Fellowship (INF)
Location Surkhet, Nepal
Sector Health


Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world (ranked 157 out of 187 countries on the UN Human Development Index). Government-funded health and education services are unreliable, particularly in rural areas where 80% of the population live. Those affected by spinal injuries, cerebral palsy or strokes have little access to rehabilitative health care. The inability to carry out normal daily functions not only reduces the individual’s quality of life but can cause fatal medical complications.

Locally many believe that disability is a result of the gods’ anger or some wrong the person has done. Therefore, even people previously honoured by their community can be shunned if they suffer an accident. This lack of community support hinders the person’s rehabilitation in daily living, employment and wider community life.


The International Nepal Fellowship (INF) has been undertaking health and development work in Nepal since 1952. INF Nepal was awarded the prize for ‘best NGO’ by the Kaski district development committee in 2012. In the Mid-West region INF is the only provider of rehabilitation services for spinal injury patients and has pioneered holistic rehabilitation care appropriate for the rural Nepali context.

Response Megan and Purna

Cyan is providing funds to extend the rehabilitation care provided in Surkhet. Screening camps will be held in rural areas to identify unreached individuals needing assistance.

Patients will receive tailored quality rehabilitation including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, assistive devices, carer training and counselling. Occupational therapists will advise on home modifications and follow-up at home will be made by community-based rehabilitation workers, to ensure that rehabilitation continues and exercise programmes are being followed.

Support will be provided to encourage the integration of those with disabilities into the local community, such as through income-generating projects to enable the disabled person to contribute towards the family income.

Outcomes Kids and wheelchair

This project will enable more people living with disabilities in rural Mid-West Nepal to access free, quality rehabilitative services. Receiving this care will help improve their quality of life, give them the possibility of earning a living, help protect family relationships and their place in the community, help change attitudes towards disability, and increase their life expectancy.

To support our development work visit our donate page.