COVID-19 crisis

People with disabilities in COVID-19 crisis

Amar Seva Sangam 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:

(1) 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.

(2) Their physical condition and medical comorbidities put them at higher risk of developing the severe complications of COVID-19.

(3) Information on COVID-19 infection prevention strategies focused on the needs of people with disabilities are not being disseminated through media or other sources.

(4) 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.

(5) 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 sanitizers and 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.

Amar Seva Sangam has devised an innovative plan to address this crisis.​​