Nisha, a young girl with a disability, and her family

Breaking down stereotypes of people with disabilities

15 years old Nisha is a resident of Sakraul, Nepal. She lives with a disability as her right leg is smaller than her left leg and is bent upward meaning she has difficulty in walking. People in her community used to call her names which hurt her feelings and broke her confidence down. Now she's returned to school and the communities sees she can do anything.


She vividly remembers her father fighting against the community’s stereotypical belief that people with disability cannot achieve anything in life. Her father was very protective of her and had even sold some property to treat her leg. Unfortunately, no treatment has helped her to date.

Nisha’s parents have a progressive mindset. They admitted her to school at grade one as they wanted to see her grow and achieve remarkable things in life, but Nisha had no interest and didn't regularly attend. It was difficult for her to walk back and forth to school as her legs would hurt while walking. At that time, she did not have a school uniform or bag and had few books and stationary to write. She was also bullied in school. Due to this, Nisha repeated grade one, three times and finally was upgraded to grade two when her father appealed school to upgrade her.

VSO in consortium partnership with Handicap International and implementing partnership with Prerana provided significant support to Nisha through the Empowering a New Generation of Adolescent Girls with Education (ENGAGE) project funded by the FCDO's flagship Girls’ Education Challenge Programme’s Leave No Girls Behind (LNGB).

The major objective of the ENGAGE project is to empower 10 to 19 years old out of school girls and children with disabilities to transition to formal education by developing their basic literacy and numeracy skills.

Nisha in the classroom

In 2019, the ENGAGE project used Washington Group Questions as a tool to verify children with functional limitation through door-to-door survey to select the Primary Actors (PAs). 12 years old Nisha who has a physical disability was selected. She was then taken to medical verification camp, organized by the ENGAGE project in collaboration with local government, where the medical team verified her disability.

After that she joined a one year bridge class along with 22 marginalized girls, where she learned literacy and numeracy skills. She started reading and writing from a basic level and gradually built up to read full books. Initially, her condition was extremely critical, but her progress rocketed with time due to her resilience and drive and went on to come first in every exam taken at the bridge class. The ENGAGE project also supported her to get a government disability card. She now holds a yellow card and can access her rights and entitlements in education, health, employment and transportation.

In 2021, after completing her bridge class, Nisha was enrolled in grade four at Shree Janaki Laxmi Aadharvut Vidhyalaya. The ENGAGE project also supplied her with a school uniform, bag, books and supplies to encourage her to stay in school. She is now in grade five and scores the second highest grades in her class. Nepali and Science are her favourite subjects.

Her interest in learning has increased dramatically. Her father says, “Nisha’s learning ability has developed tremendously, and these days, she can voice herself out without any fear. I feel incredibly happy seeing my daughters progress and will enable learning environment to her till the time that she wants to continue her study.”

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Nisha has developed confidence and efficacy with her determination and hard work. She has many friends these days who study and play with her. The discrimination and bullying she experienced before has been dramatically reduced and her community’s perspective has shifted as she's proved herself academically. They now say Nisha can become anything as she wants in her life. These days Nisha is happy and living dignified life.

Nisha says, “I aim to become a social worker. I want to empower people who need support or guidance. I have been inspired to become a social worker by reflecting on my own journey.”

Nisha is a leading example that a child with disability, if given an opportunity and right direction, can achieve anything in life.

Gati supports her mentee Evalyne through any challenges she is facing and with her studies.

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