COVID-19 in Pakistan

Vulnerable family of 5 relies on humanitarian assistance

The most vulnerable individuals, including people with disabilities, are bearing the brunt of the lockdown imposed in response to COVID-19. It has left many without food or money. Humanity & Inclusion is helping the most vulnerable individuals, including Saima and her family, survive the crisis.

Saima has used a wheelchair since childhood. When she was only one-year-old, she contracted polio, causing her to become paralyzed. Today, she lives with her family in an impoverished area in Karachi, Pakistan. The lockdown has made their daily lives almost impossible to bear.

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Reliant on humanitarian assistance

Saima husband’s is a day laborer. Since being forced to stop working a month ago, the family of five found themselves without enough to eat. Finding food is now an ordeal. Saima and her husband have to travel two hours from their home to a food distribution point in order to find enough to eat. They depend entirely on humanitarian assistance.

Health services have become inaccessible

A few months ago, when her son fell seriously ill, Saima was unable to take him to hospital for treatment. She had no other choice than to keep her child at home until he recovered, without medical assistance.

“I should have gone to hospital, but it is quite far in a wheelchair and I didn’t want to risk catching the virus,” she explains. “I have to use my hands to push myself in my wheelchair. So instead, I stayed at home with my son until his fever broke.”

Learning a new skill

Before Pakistan was hit by the epidemic, Saima was being trained by Humanity & Inclusion in embroidery and sewing. “Like most people with disabilities in Pakistan, Saima was completely excluded from the school system and job market,” says Sumaira Bibi, Humanity & Inclusion’s project monitoring manager in Pakistan. “Once trained, she will be able to make a substantial contribution to the family’s income.”  

With their combined income, the couple would have been able to send their children to the nearby school. Like the rest of us, Saima looks forward to the COVID-19 crisis ending. She told our team that she hopes the suffering fo the poorest in society, including people with disabilities, comes to an end. In the meantime, Humanity & Inclusion team is there for Saima and her family. We’re working harder than ever to ensure family’s like Saima’s have the care and support they need to get through this crisis.

Humanity & Inclusion works to protect the most vulnerable 

As of May 11, we count 161 new projects that aim to protect our beneficiaries and staff from the virus, and to help them during their countries' lock downs. As COVID-19 takes aim at our planet's most vulnerable neighbors, we're ensuring that people with disabilities, people with injuries from conflict, children, women, and especially older people have the information--and even the soap--to stay healthy. Learn more about our COVID-19 response.

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