As part of a miniature series, IFES staff interviewed elected Political Leaders with disabilities throughout Nepal. The second Q&A, highlighting Rupa Thapa, which has been lightly edited for clarity, is available below.
I was associated with National Federation of the Disabled-Nepal from a very early age. I also worked with Disabled People's Organizations (DPOs) in my district. When I realized politics is one of the most important parts of leadership, I decided to get involved in political life.
I was an active social worker before. As I already mentioned, I was directly associated with DPOs, where I did a lot of work such as distributing wheelchairs, guiding community-based rehabilitation (CBR) programs, etc. Besides these, my father encouraged me to become an active leader as he was also President of our ward. My father supported me all the time, I didn't face any challenges during my journey of becoming a political leader.
The disability rights act and the constitution are in place. Now all we have to do is to be proactive and grab a leading position to raise our voice and implement the act and constitution properly.
Types of disability is diverse and different persons might have different needs. First, I will collect the exact data of persons with disabilities from each district. I will categorized them in terms of their vulnerability and then after, I will go for budget allocation for different programs targeting persons with disabilities.
For the youths with disabilities, I want to tell them that they have to come into politics and show their capacity in leading positions.