Persons with deafblindness and multiple disabilities in India have been severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Government acknowledges the need to understand disability-specific requirements to ensure their protection.
How we are helping
This project will assess the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on persons with deafblindness in order to raise awareness of the improvements needed in the response system.
About the project
The Government of India responded to the Covid-19 pandemic with a series of measures including a national lockdown and increased testing capacity. Citizens were supported through various initiatives including an economic package of INR 21 trillion in May 2020, cash transfers for women and elderly, food distribution for the poor, free travel schemes, and interest-free loans for state governments.
Deafblindness is a unique and complex disability which combines varying degrees of hearing and visual impairment, resulting in extreme challenges in communication and mobility. Persons with deafblindness struggle with accessing virtual platforms and pandemic-related information, and cannot readily secure support which is available for persons with other disabilities (such as helplines, or Braille materials). Fortunately, adults with deafblindness have been added to the priority list of the Covid-19 vaccination guidelines
Persons with disabilities have increased, pandemic-related vulnerabilities. The need to identify these disability-specific requirements is recognised in the Disability Inclusive Guidelines for Covid-19.
This project will identify the support gaps for persons with deafblindness, raise awareness of these issues and improve understanding of the measures needed to address these gaps in care.
This will be achieved by:
- conducting a study on the impact of Covid-19 on persons with deafblindness
- building the capacity of 75 civil society organisations (CSOs) and local leaders in India to better support persons with deafblindness and multiple disabilities
- conducting regional networking meetings for adults with deafblindness, parents/family members, and special educators to raise awareness of the issues faced by persons with deafblindness as a result of Covid-19
- engaging in advocacy with government policy makers on the specific needs of persons with deafblindness and multiple disabilities
- ensuring adults with deafblindness have been added to the priority list of the COVID-19 vaccination guidelines
Sense International India (SII) has been operational since 1997 and is the leading (perhaps only) organisation working with deafblindness in India. They work in 23 States with an extensive network of DPOs and CSOs, and carry out local and national advocacy. SII was invited by the Government of India to join a sub-committee on employment for persons with deafblindness and multiple disabilities. They provide home-based/day-care services, inclusive education and income-generation skills training. SII build’s capacity of parents, teachers and empowers persons with deafblindness to advocate for their rights.
Blind People’s Association serves as the Deafblind Regional Centre (DbRC) for India’s western region. They provide education, employment opportunities, equal rights and quality of life to all persons with disabilities.
National Association for the Blind serves as the DbRC for India’s northern region. They offer services for children with visual impairment and additional disabilities with a special emphasis on education and skill development.
Shishu Sarothi serves as the DbRC for India’s north-eastern states. They work in early intervention, rehabilitation, education, livelihoods, advocacy and awareness as well as protection of rights and legal aid for children and persons with disabilities in North East India.
Akanksha Lions School for Mentally Handicapped serves as the DbRC for India’s eastern states. They run a special school for children with disabilities, covering all forms of disabilities including cerebral palsy, autism, deafblindness and multiple disabilities.
Spastic Society of Tamilnadu serves as the DbRC for India’s southern states. They work to empower persons with disabilities to fulfil their potential by providing person-centred programs and services and engaging community partners.
We support people's participation in democracy and development by providing grants, platforms, and expertise.