Madagascans with disabilities are highly vulnerability to the pandemic. Humanity & Inclusion has adapted many of its projects in Madagascar to assist them.
The Covid-19 pandemic has not spared the people of Madagascar. The country has gone into lockdown several times since March 2020, when the government declared a national health emergency.
“It's important to help people with disabilities and all of the beneficiaries of Humanity & Inclusion's projects get through this unprecedented health, social and economic crisis," explains Emilie Sauvanet, Humanity & Inclusion's program director in Madagascar. "Our teams have revised each of their projects and the way activities interact with each other in order to get as close as possible to the people we assist."
One of those people is Offrancia, who has had epilepsy since she was 10. Humanity & Inclusion began working with Offrancia, now 38, in 2019, providing personalized social support for Offrancia to receive medical care, financial assistance to secure the future of her medical treatment, and psychosocial assistance.
As a small business owner, Offrancia faced an economic crisis when Covid-19 hit. Humanity & Inclusion provided Offrancia and her family hygiene and protection kits and shared information on the virus and how to prevent its spread. Like 335 other families, Offrancia's family also received two cash transfers of 100,000 Ariary, the local currency – equivalent to approximately $25 – to help make ends meet.
"Part of the money was very useful to buy food, and medicine for my treatment, and I diversified my merchandise stock with the rest," explains Offrancia, who has since reopened her business.
Humanity & Inclusion has also trained 33 people from disability advocacy organizations to help inform people with disabilities on ways to protect themselves during the pandemic. So far, they have made at-home visits to more than 1,000 vulnerable families in the Atsinanana and Analanjirofo regions.
Onisoa, a sign language interpreter and trainer at an inclusive school in Atsinanana, is among those conducting at-home visits.
"Awareness-raising is a particularly effective way to reach the most vulnerable families, including the families of people with disabilities," says Onisoa. "This method allows us to talk with their relatives or guardians, to understand their living conditions, and to provide them with advice on personal protective measures. Some visits take longer, especially for people with sensory disabilities. But we're convinced we're on the right track."
Norbertin, a father of two, works on Onisoa's team. “Although I am visually impaired, I am healthy and I want to help my fellow citizens by ensuring they take Covid-19 seriously,” he says.