I am living with a disability and since 2016 when the Anglophone crisis started,my life with a disability has been one challenge to another. I experience gun shoots, massive and indiscriminate killings of women,children and girls.Killing of unarmed persons with disabilities and perpetration of different forms of violence.
As time evolves the crisis gets worse and lifestyle become more dangerous,expensive and very uncertain.Children dropout of school,people loss businesses,jobs and sources of livelihood.We are forced into displacement and most of the time live in very crowded rooms mixed with men. SGBV at this point is at its pick and we can only watch and pray. Little girls have become sex tools and teenage motherhood is talk of the day.
When we have not even manage the shock of the humanitarian crisis, another kind of crisis appears called the Coronavirus. I call it "Queen Corona" because of its powerful influence on the world that caused the whole world to experience a lock down. At first it was only my region in Cameroon which can experience the lock down due to the humanitarian crisis.But now I know that COVID-19 is stronger because the whole world is facing lock downs.
During this pandemic,women and girls with disabilities have faced challenges practicing the preventive measures put in place by WHO and the government of Cameroon. As persons with disabilities we have a lifestyle of touching or gripping places or persons to gain stability.How then can we maintain social distancing?.We live on low income, how can we afford soap,sanitizers and mask all the time. Due to strict measures of transport movement,we are bound to stay at home and by implication start developing new health hazards due to over weight.
"COVID-19 is worse than a humanitarian crisis"
With all the challenges women and girls with disabilities face in the pandemic,I have been working with partners to meet their needs.These women/girls with disabilities have been sensitized on preventive measures such as
- Maintain one personal assistant most of the time
- Have enough sanitizer to apply even on your assistive devices like crutches and white canes
-Wash your more often than using sanitizers
-They have been trained on skills to produce liquid soap,hand sanitizer and bars of soap. This is more cost effective and sustainable and community members are sensitized on daily basis to be disability friendly.
And this women/girls have been assisted with reusable sanitary pads,bars of soap,detergents and disinfectants, accessible information on covid-19,face masks,liquid soap and sanitizers.These items have help them be able to have sanitizers in their purses wherever they are going. I fear has reduced and we look forward to continue supporting and empowering women/girls in communities.
CEO/Founder @ Community Association for Vulnerable Persons