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Lockdown measure may worsen children with disabilities condition

Inclusion Rehabilitation

Because of COVID-19, Pakistan is under quarantine, as are the activities organized by Humanity & Inclusion (HI) for vulnerable children.

Samina at the playground activities with her friends

Samina at the playground activities with her friends | © HI

Seven-year-old Samina is not able to walk and to use her hands for certain tasks like bathing, combing her hair, and holding objects. Her recent inclusion to children activities and rehabilitation exercises was making a real difference for her. But due to COVID-19, Pakistan is on lockdown, and so are the children activities.

Samina used to be isolated due to her disabilities. That is, until HI invited her to be a part of a children’s group in her neighbourhood. Activities are on halt but HI finds a way to ease the impact of the lockdown on her and her family.

A few weeks ago…

Due to the spread of COVID-19, Samina is locked inside her home, and back in isolation. Before the coronavirus, she was out every day, playing with other children and making friends for the first time in her life.

Before she was provided with a wheelchair, her friends would carry her around the playground so she could participate in the same activities as them. Samina also received rehabilitation care at the community base center. She did physical therapy exercises 3-4 times a day to help improve her mobility and have better use of her hands. 

Samina’s family has lived in displaced camps for nine years after fleeing armed violence. Her father is a daily labourer. “We are very poor,” her mother says. We have never been able to arrange a medical treatment for Samina. But thanks to HI’s team, she was getting stronger.”

Activities on hold

Due to COVID-19, activities in Pakistan have all come to a halt. Samina is back to her life before, when she stayed in her bed in one corner of her home without any friends or toys to pass her time with. But HI finds a way to ease the impact of the lockdown on Samina and her family.

“All the improvements we have observed on her physical and mental condition in recent months risk to be wasted,” explains HI’s Monitoring Officer Sumaira Bibi. “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.”

HI decreases the impact of the lockdown

Although our community workers are not able to continue children activities during the lockdown, our teams are finding ways to provide support.

“We have kept contact with her mother to ensure she performs physical therapy exercises with Samina at home regularly. “It is important to maintain her mobility. Sessions on health and hygiene are also being organized with Samina family to prevent COVID-19, respecting social distancing. Her family will also be provided with the hygiene kit and food,” explains Sumaira.

Financial difficulties during a global health crisis

Samina’s father hasn’t been able to work for the past three weeks due to the shutdown, and they have very little to eat. 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.

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