1. Dev Datta Joshi

Mr. Dev Datta Joshi is a leading expert in the area of disability rights, and has published extensively in the area. His particular areas of interest are inclusive education, legal capacity, access to justice, and de-institutionalization of persons with disabilities.  

For over 20 years, he has been working with Equip for Equality Nepal in various capacities, including, Senior Disability Rights Lawyer, Disability- Inclusive Education Specialist, and Staff Attorney.

He currently serves as the executive director with Equip for Equality Nepal, where he leads a dynamic team of individuals responsible for the creation, development, implementation, and replication of innovative projects and programs throughout a nationwide network of affiliates that work to positively affect the education, employment, and quality of life of all Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).

In 2015, Mr. Joshi competed for and won a prestigious Open Society Foundations Fellowship at the Institute for Research and Development on Inclusion and Society (IRIS) at York University in Toronto.   There, he worked on a research project to support the right to live in the community and the right to legal capacity, comparing legal and policy regimes in Canada and Nepal.  The project culminated in a set of recommendations for advancement of such rights systems in both countries.

While on the Humphrey Fellowship in 2018 in the United States, he studied inclusive education and disability law (especially mental disabilities law), the Americans with Disabilities Act, legal representation of clients with mental disabilities, the interaction between people with disability and criminal justice system, and the relationship between disability and international human rights.

Mr. Joshi has obtained five post-secondary degrees, including two post-graduate degrees, one of which is an LLM from the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at the National University of Ireland (Galway). His LLM dissertation focused on inclusive education for children with disabilities, drawing on field research he undertook in rural and remote Far- western Nepal.

As a disability rights lawyer, he has conducted relevant work in favor of persons with disabilities, such as combating involuntary sterilization of women with disabilities, establishing the first audio library in Nepal for visually impaired students, and removing discriminatory terms from Nepalese legislation, especially those concerned with women with intellectual disabilities. In addition, Mr. Joshi has practiced law in Nepal, taking cases to the Nepalese Supreme Court and helping make landmark jurisprudence regarding disability rights.

In 2020-2021, in Nepal, Dev started a project to encourage political participation for those with disabilities. After winning Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship’s Alumni Impact Award in 2020, he has helped over 3,000 people with disabilities and their families understand their rights in regards to elections and political participation. He also held workshops to train volunteers and policy-makers on election law and how to make policies more inclusive. Sixty percent of the individuals he worked with were considered Dalits, a group that is marginalized and untouchable in Nepal. In addition to the workshops, trainings, and toolkits, Dev and his team wrote six op-eds in Nepali, Hindi and English about the issue and the work being done.

In addition, in 2022-2023, in Nepal, after winning the Institute of International Education (IIE) Centennial Fellowship, he started a project titled “Overcoming the Barriers That Refugees with Disabilities Face in Accessing Higher Education in Nepal.” His Centennial Fellowship project has actively worked to increase access, ensure equity, provide pathways, and address needs related to higher education attainment for refugee and displaced populations by:

  • Holding advocacy and policy dialogues on issues related to refugee equality and empowerment, especially disability-inclusive education, with university deans and education policymakers to further advance this initiative.
  • Educating and equipping representatives from Disabled Peoples’ Organizations, university staff, local governments, policymakers, human rights defenders and police officers with the insights and skills needed to ensure higher education attainment for refugee and displaced populations.
  • Expanding policymakers’ knowledge of disabled refugees, especially Rohingya refugee women with disabilities’ educational rights as enshrined in Nepal’s Constitution and international human rights instruments.
  • Addressing and working to minimize stereotypes prevalent in Nepalese communities about disabled refugees’ capabilities that prevent them from exercising their right to higher education.

Other Members

  1. Nirmala Sharki (Project Coordinator)
  2. Bhanu Luhar (Project Assistant)
  3. Prem Singh Tharu (Program Officer)
  4. Ramesh Tamang (Finance Officer)
  5. Shanti Tamata (Legal / Media Officer, Part-time)
  6. Binita Pahari   (Legal Intern, Part-time)
  7. Kalpana sah (Policy Officer)
  8. Ganesh Kathayat (Office Assistant)
  9. Bijay Dahal (Disability Rights Advisor, Part-time)
  10. Aayush Joshi (Computer Operator)