COVID-19 in Pakistan

Quarantine isolates children with disabilities

Seven-year-old Samina lives in Pakistan. She is not able to walk, and cannot use her hands for certain tasks like bathing, combing her hair, or holding some objects. Samina used to be isolated due to her disabilities, but when Humanity & Inclusion invited her to be a part of a children’s group in her neighborhood, things began to change. 

Until the coronavirus hit. COVID-19 has forced Pakistan into quarantine, putting huge restrictions on Humanity & Inclusion's activities for vulnerable children, like Samina. Our team is still finding ways to ease the impact of the lockdown on children like Samina and her family, but the virus has effectively placed Samina back into her home. Into isolation. 

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Before quarantine

Before the coronavirus, Samina was outside every day, playing with other children and making friends for the first time in her life.

Before our team provided her with a wheelchair, her friends would carry her around the playground so she could participate in the same activities as them. Physical therapists gave Samina rehabilitation care at the community-based center, and at home she did physical therapy exercises as many as four times a day to help improve her mobility and to use of her hands.  

Nine years ago, Samina’s family fled armed violence and has been living in displaced camps since. Her father is a daily laborer. “We are very poor,” her mother says. "We have never been able to arrange a medical treatment for Samina. But thanks to Humanity & Inclusion’s team, she was getting stronger.”

Samina smiles while holding a doll in her wheelchair in Pakistan.

Support amid lockdown 

“All the improvements we have observed on her physical and mental condition in recent months risk to be wasted," says Sumaira Bibi, Humanity & Inclusion’s monitoring officer in Pakistan. "Samina felt very elated after each outside activity and we clearly observe a visible increase in her mental growth. Kids need to interact with children and play. By playing with toys, she was able to better move and use her hands and fingers. Such activities are essential for their well-being and growth. Samina also need to follow her rehabilitation exercises to ensure that her mobility will not be totally lost.”

Although our community workers cannot continue organizing children's activities during the lockdown, our teams are finding ways to provide vital support. “We have kept in contact with Samina's mother to help ensure that Samina performs her physical therapy exercises at home regularly," Bibi explains. “It is important to maintain her mobility. Sessions on health and hygiene, as well as social distancing are also being organized with Samina's family to help fight COVID-19."

Feeding a family

Samina’s father hasn’t been able to work for the past three weeks. They have very little to eat. Humanity & Inclusion donors ensure that her family will receive food, as well as a hygiene kit.

Like many parents, Samina’s mother and father find it very difficult to see their children so frustrated, depressed, and helpless during this global health crisis. Samina’s parents hope that the ongoing situation improves quickly so that she can meet up with the children’s group again. It’s not only fun for Samina, but it’s also one of the best therapies for her growth.

Humanity & Inclusion in Pakistan

Donor support has enabled our teams to work in Pakistan since the early 1980s, initially addressing the needs of Afghan refugees. Today, our mission has evolved to include issues that emerge from natural disasters. Learn more about our work in Pakistan.

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