By OUR STAFF REPORTER
DEHRADUN, 11 May: Local NGO Latika Roy Foundation (LRF) is providing free services to disabled children and their families during the prevailing pandemic. The 25-year-old Foundation has also been distributing dry rations and medicines to help low-income families with disabled children tide over the crisis.
The COVID-19 crisis has disproportionately affected disabled people, already marginalised by stigma and discrimination. UN Secretary General Antonio Getteres has stated, “All children… are affected. However, some children are destined to bear the greatest costs…” Among those who will be worst hit, he said, are disabled children.
For children with psychosocial disabilities and autism, social isolation leads to frustration, aggressiveness and constant fidgeting. Their care, normally shared between parents, schools and other centres, now lies solely on their families, who could themselves be unprepared and overwhelmed by the lockdown. As the crisis deepens and family stress levels rise, disabled children become even more vulnerable to domestic violence and abuse. In the light of this, the Foundation is in close touch with the families of disabled children to spot signs of problems early and to provide emotional and mental health support in a timely fashion.
Dr Shubha Nagesh, Director, Follow-up Programs, LRF, states, “With global evidence pointing to an increase in violence against disabled people, particularly women and girls, our organisation is supporting families and caregivers to ensure the safety and well-being of disabled children at this challenging time.”
The Foundation’s staff continue to support disabled children and their families remotely through the lockdown, sharing information, following up on progress, advising parents on home management, and counselling them on their own mental health and psychosocial wellbeing.
Jo Chopra, Executive Director of the Foundation, says, “We are literally all in this together. Everyone has a crucial role to play in keeping our community safe. We are doing our part so that parents can do theirs.”
Those who you have a disabled child or know someone who does, they may contact the Latika Roy Foundation to inquire about its free services for disabled children and their families at 8439000 110.