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Strength in diversity: disability won't hold us back

On a recent visit to Nepal with Plan International, photographer Morten Krogvold met children who are most likely to experience a breach of their rights: children with disabilities.

Samikshya has issues with her mobility but she won't let this hold her back.
Samikshya has issues with her mobility but she won't let this hold her back.

Despite the challenges they face, children with disabilties have dreams and aspirations just like anyone else. Photographer Morten Krogvold gave himself the challenge of capturing this in pictures. 

Sangita and Laxmi play at their school for children with low vision.
Sangita and Laxmi play at their school for children with low vision.

Sangita and Laxmi face numerous challenges. Standing out with their bright white skin and hair, they often experience discrimination and harassment from strangers who stare at them with curiosity. Sangita and Laxmi, both 12, have albinism, an inherited disorder where there is little or no production of the pigment melanin. They face double-discrimination for being from the Dalit caste, known as the 'untouchables.'

However, after meeting at a school for children with low vision, they quickly became inseparable. The girls find comfort and strength in eachothers' support.

Mahesh's big passion in life is singing.
Mahesh's big passion in life is singing.

Mahesh has been blind all his life. He needs a lot of help, but has one big passion which brings him great joy – singing. “I feel happier when I sing,” he explains. 

I feel happier when I sing.

A teacher at the boarding school facilitated for children with disabilities, noticed his interest in music and helped him to record a song about children’s rights in a studio. 

The song has since been played on the local radio, giving 14-year-old Mahesh a taste for more. "I'd love to do it again, it was fun.”

Binita lost her hearing after suffering ear cancer.
Binita lost her hearing after suffering ear cancer.

Binita attends a school for deaf students located on the outskirts of a small city in Nepal. The building is peach coloured and has four floors for the 236 students. Outside is a football pitch and on a good day, you see the unmistakable white peaks of the Himalayan mountains on the horizon. 

The school has become her home now, and she feels safe here. Only 10% of differently abled children in developing countries attend school. Binita is pleased she is able to pursue engineering studies - her favourite subject. 

Sabita lost her hands at 14 after an accident at home.
Sabita lost her hands at 14 after an accident at home.

In December 2015, Sabita was sent to hang up clothes to dry on the roof of her house. A power cord was hanging in the way so she pushed it aside. Suddenly 11,000 volts passed through her body. Everything went black. When she awoke in hospital, the doctors had amputated both her hands.

Now, 16-year-old Sabita is determined to get an education so she can find a job, earn money and help her parents. But not just them. She has noticed poor people with disabilities who beg outside the temples. They help drive her ambition. 

"I want to be successful in my life. It is not so important to become famous, but I want to be very rich. So rich that I can help other people."

Anish is one of the children with disabilities profiled by photographer Morten Krogvold.
Anish may have difficulty getting around in his wheelchair but he loves school where he has many friends.

Anish has been unable to walk since he was young. The courtyard outside his house is uneven and there is no ramp leading up to the doorway – the landlord that owns the house refuses to give Anish’s family permission to build one.

"It's hard to get around with a wheelchair. I wish the roads were better”. The 13-year-old enjoys watching his friends play sport, especially basketball, although he wishes he could be more involved. "Although I have a disability, I want to get an education and become a good person," he says.

Working with children with disabilities to fulfil rights

Plan International is working with children with disabilities in Nepal to fulfil their rights. Our projects are improving accessibility and quality of education, child protection systems and disaster prevention measures for children with disabilities. We are also strengthening local groups and networks working to promote the interests of marginalised and vulnerable groups.

Learn more about our work to provide children with disabilities inclusive, quality education. 

Inclusive education for children with disabilities