Paper: Disability and identity in time of crisis in central Nepal: Balancing urgency and inclusion in disaster resilience

Paper details

Paper authors Abigail Ewen
In panel on Disability Inclusion in Humanitarian Crises: Discourse, Implementation and Evidence
Paper presenter(s) will be presenting In-Person / Online


The project tracks how those currently identifying as disabled experienced the 2015 Ghorka earthquake and the 2021 Melamchi Flood. It asks, if urgent disaster response and resilience building has enabled or hindered struggles for inclusion in public life and collective action, through the acute experiences of people who identify as disabled. Through discursive policy analysis and semi-structured interviews, it identifies the systems of meaning and institutionalised relations drawn on the social construction of disability. It reveals the ways that response and resilience building has impacted on or been used to change the way disability is imagined and incorporated in policy and legislation and shaped inclusion and exclusion of people with disabilities at the local level.

In order to capture the experiences, knowledge and voices of people with disabilities a participatory timeline methodology was developed which involved 3D printed counters that were tactile for those with sight disability. This enabled participants to recount memories about how they felt as a person with disability, tapping into reflections on their identity, experiences and needs while anchoring these within the context of disaster. These methods helped facilitate an atmosphere of collaboration and cohesion and left participants feeling their voices and experiences were being heard, in most cases, for the very first time.