COVID-19 Protection and Prevention
Amar Seva Sangam hands out COVID-19 protection packages to people with disabilities
Handi-Care Intl. has been supporting Amar Seva Sangam (www.amarseva.org) since 1991. ASSA provides services for people with disabilities in rural communities of Tamil Nadu, India. This includes therapy, education and vocational training in both institution based and community based (in their own homes) settings for both children and adults. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, people with disabilities are not allowed to access these services and are especially at risk for a number of reasons:
- Distancing is not an option for many as they rely on others including personal support workers and caregivers to support their needs including movement, bathing, feeding.
- Their physical condition and medical co-morbidities put them at higher risk of developing the severe complications of COVID-19.
- Information on COVID-19 infection prevention strategies focused on the needs of people with disabilities are not being disseminated through media or other sources.
- Due to COVID-19 restriction, many people with disabilities who operated small businesses or other informal livelihood ventures (ie home cell phone repair or machine repair shops, selling goods, etc.) are unable to work and there is a significant loss of income, which is not compensated by government programs.
Country wide lockdown which places restriction on movement within the community (including bus travel) and lack of income prevents them from acquiring needed protective material including face masks, hand sanitizersand hand wash. Acquiring these materials is particularly important for people with disabilities as many are in direct physical contact with caregivers and support workers. In addition, COVID-19 rules surrounding restriction of movement within the community affects people with mobility issues even more, creating another barrier to obtaining these materials. Government programs provide basic needs including rice and grains, but not protective material.
We have devised an innovative plan to address this crisis. Amar Seva Sangam can mobilize a cadre of 38 community workers who can:
- Prepare and provide urgent relief materials to people with disabilities. They will prepare COVID-19 relief kits. Each kit will include 200ml hand sanitizer, 400ml hand wash and 10 face masks.
- Provide direct education to people with disabilities and their families on how to protect themselves against COVID-19 during visits when they hand out kits. They will also provide an educational handout on COVID-19 prevention strategies focused on people with disabilities.
- Connect people with disabilities with available community resources which are difficult to access during this period of lockdown including pharmacies, medical clinics and assistive equipment providers.
Special permission will be obtained from the local authorities for travel of our community workers to deliver these kits and providing education. In total, we will reach 1500 people with disabilities and their families and provide new kits every 10 days. Over a 90 day period, we will require 13500 kits. Each kit will cost about $1.5 CDN. Funding is also needed to pay for the salaries of the community workers for the 3 months. $46,000 CDN will help cover the expenses of this 3 month COVID-19 relief program for this very vulnerable population.
Many of you have sponsored children under our "Adopt A child" program and please realize that these children and their families are under increased risk.
We appeal to you for help by way of donation of any amount towards this very urgent cause, preferably thru e-transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org. Tax receipts will be issued for donations of $20 and more. In the comment section, please indicate "Covid Relief Kit"