The entire globe is now in its knees by this deadly adversary called the Corona virus (Covid-19).
Schools closed, jobs lost, businesses crushed, hospitals flooded and countries locked down. According to the Oxfam report 2021 it will take a decade for the poor streaked persons to recover. What do you think of persons with disabilities where poverty is a twin brother?
Worst still as persons with seeing difficulties to live through this era. Feels like another form of disability just emerged and multiplied the setbacks we have to deal with in our daily lives.
In other words, we argue persons who are blind have been added another impairment. On the other hand, he needs to ensure we break barriers of inclusion.
Several studies by IDA 2020 HI 2020 and WBU 2020 agree that persons with disabilities were even marginalized before but COVID-19 has amplified the tribulations.
First governments and world health organization made regulation pronouncements which COVID-19 came with: “don’t touch surfaces, don’t shake hands, don’t touch even your face then cough into your elbow.”
Additionally, all most all the media houses have perpetuated the same by way of adverts and educating the public. Non visual access has been the order of the day thus living the persons with seeing difficulties behind.
Moreover, the most traumatizing experience is when individuals do not seek to offer support but can talk about you as if all persons with seeing difficulties can’t hear.
All the above have a direct impact to the lives of persons living with visual impairment. We literally touch everything around us. That’s our way of seeing. Touching is our language. This includes Braille, our mode of reading, it’s accessed by touch. Telling a blind person not to shake hands is like telling you with sight to identify the people around you while blindfolded. Think about it. Is it even possible? Whenever you feel like checking yourself out in the mirror, you do it without any restrictions, but this pandemic is telling a blind person not to even touch their own face to feel if they’re fit enough to walk in the public with confidence. Very perilous indeed. Again, how do you expect to guide a blind person after coughing into your elbow? That’s where we actually hold while being guided. The mask has covered our eyes that now we can’t see clearly. We depend on all our sensory organs except the eyes to see. But this mask is pulling our ears and blocking our noses. How do we survive?
Surely a blind person has been more disabled by the environment of the pandemic. We have been delinked from the world. Caused to stay away from our fellow human beings but of course this has increased isolation practices.
Crutch users, wheelchair users do you feel me?
Can we meet on the disability sausage channel to discuss this and much more?
It seems survival for the fittest is becoming he order of the day.
The views expressed here are for the author and do not represent any agency or organization.
Mugambi Paul is a public policy, diversity, inclusion and sustainability expert.
Australian Chief Minister Award winner
“excellence of making inclusion happen”