Before COVID-19 reached their countries, disabled people and their families in India and countries in Africa already faced isolation and stigma. But everyday challenges – like discrimination, limited healthcare, lack of wheelchairs, few opportunities for work –now have deadlier consequences than ever before.
Motivation’s usual services and programmes across India and countries in Africa create opportunities for disabled people and their families to be included in their communities. Ordinarily we spend our time supporting access to quality wheelchairs and supportive seating, as well as offering training and peer mentoring. But the virus has forced us to pause most of these direct services.
At the start of lockdown we started calling project participants to find out what support they needed. We soon learnt that they felt left behind by the resources and information being shared by governments and health organisations.
They could not find reliable information on COVID-19 for disabled people. They said that resources weren’t relevant for their needs. They highlighted that lockdown meant no access to rehab. Parents and carers said they were concerned that the pause in training would stall their children’s development. It was vital to quickly pivot and provide that support ourselves.
We got to work immediately to create resources that we could share through WhatsApp and email.
First up was a fact sheet created for disabled people on how to prevent infection.
We put together a short guide on sanitising a wheelchair.
Next on the agenda was a poster to highlight stretches for wheelchair users and advice for parents on how to sit, feed and communicate with their child.
On World Cerebral Palsy Day we’re delighted to share these resources with anyone who might find them useful.
Despite a lot of progress for disability inclusion over recent years, it’s clear from the global pandemic that there’s a long way to go. We will only rebuild a more inclusive world if we share knowledge and expertise, and advocate together for disability rights.
For more information on Motivation’s work visit: www.motivation.org.uk