Coronavirus stories from Nepal: receiving vital support

Nepal Disabled Women Association (NDWA), distributing hygiene and medical supplies to people with spinal injury and wheelchair users at Nepal Disabled Association, in Kathmandu.
Author:CBM UK
Posted on: Tuesday, 25th August, 2020

Many people with disabilities in Nepal have been facing huge challenges as a result of Coronavirus and the lockdown to curb its spread. CBM is working with our partners to ensure that the most at-risk households get the support they need.

In this blog, you can read the stories of some of the people we’ve been able to help during this crisis, and find out about the life-changing difference your donations make.

With most people with disabilities working in the informal sector, many have been struggling to support themselves and their families during lockdown – like Sanjay and Chotemunna.

Sanjay (35), after receiving emergency relief parcels from CBM’s partner Nepal Disabled Women Association (NDWA).

Sanjay (35), after receiving emergency relief parcels from CBM’s partner Nepal Disabled Women Association (NDWA).

“I am a street vendor. I used to sell bed-sheets, pillows etc. in the roadside. But I have not been able to work since this lockdown started. It is getting very difficult now. We used to survive through our shop but we have no money left now… I would like to thank NDWA and CBM for providing me with this support during this difficult situation.”

Chotemunna (27), using an assistive device to walk, in Kanchanpur, Nepal.

Chotemunna (27), using an assistive device to walk, in Kanchanpur, Nepal.

“I have a physical disability. I am a member of the local self-help group. Previously, NDWA provided training to our group and also gave me a tailoring machine. I have a tailoring shop but my shop is closed due to lockdown. I am struggling financially because of this. The food ration is running out. I received a food package with rice, pulses, oil, salt, etc. This will support us since we are struggling after my business is down. I am grateful to NDWA and donors for this support.” 

Lockdown has also made it extremely difficult for people to access the medical care and equipment they need, for example people who have a catheter to empty their bladder need to be able to access medical items to avoid serious infection or health problems. CBM partner the Nepal Disabled Women Association (NDWA) has been proving vital medical supplies to people with physical disabilities – like Nirmala and Hansa.

Nirmala (28), in her wheelchair, holding two packages from NDWA with medical items, in Kanchanpur, Nepal.

Nirmala (28), in her wheelchair, holding two packages from NDWA with medical items, in Kanchanpur, Nepal.

“I am a member of a local self-help group supported by NDWA… I have a spinal injury. Today I received catheter, CIC [clean intermittent catheterisation] pipe, bandage, diaper and antiseptics from NDWA. These all are very essential to me. Usually, I have to ask other people to bring it for me. Once I had to bring CIC pipe from all the way to Kathmandu. It is difficult to arrange these items locally. I am very happy that NDWA brought me these essential materials in my village. I am very happy and grateful. I like to thank them for this support.”

Hansa (32), in his wheelchair, being handed medical supplies by a member of the NDWA team, in Kanchanpur, Nepal.

Hansa (32), in his wheelchair, being handed medical supplies by a member of the NDWA team, in Kanchanpur, Nepal.

“I have a spinal injury. I received CIC pipe, bandage, diaper, etc. These items are very essential to me as they are difficult to find locally. I have to reuse the same item repeatedly and there is a chance of infection. I am happy that NDWA provided these essential items in my village. I like to thank this organisation for this support.”

CBM and NDWA have also been able to support Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs), such as Nepal Disabled Association – in particular providing aid to wheelchair users and people with spinal injury, like Muna, Sabin and Devi.

Muna (20), at her home in Lalitpur, Nepal.

Muna (20), at her home in Lalitpur, Nepal.

“I am studying Humanities and I’m currently in the first year of the Bachelor’s degree. My college is closed now and I am attending online classes from home. I am a wheelchair user. I am confined to my home after this lockdown was announced. I cannot go out like before. I haven’t got the chance to attend college and meet my friends in person. I find this hygiene kit very useful. I opened it and I find that there are soaps, sanitary pads, towels, nail-cutter, etc. They all are very useful to me. I like to thank you all.”

Sab (30), holding medical supplies provided by NDWA.

Sab (30), holding medical supplies provided by NDWA.

“I am a person with spinal cord injury. Our main challenge is the physical barrier. We need various assistive tools for urinal and defecate purposes... During these three months of lockdown, we didn’t have money to buy those kinds of things. Even if we could arrange for the money, we couldn’t go out to get them. We also need medicines for pain, urinal infection, etc. We couldn’t buy those as well. It was very difficult… I had to reuse the same tool by washing them again and again. This support is very helpful. I was worried that I might get sick or get an infection by using the same item again and again for the last three months… I would like to thank NDWA and CBM from the bottom of my heart for this generous support in this situation.”

Devi (40), holding medical supplies provided by NDWA.

Devi (40), holding medical supplies provided by NDWA.

“During the lockdown period, people with disabilities received food relief items like rice, oil, etc. from various organisations and government bodies. However, for people with spinal injury, the supplies like CBM just provided e.g. diapers, jelly, catheter, etc., are an everyday necessity like food. For this reason, people with spinal injuries were facing challenges throughout the country. Many people with spinal injuries don’t have a job, they stay at home. For those who had a job are not able to go back to their work. Some have received only partial salary and others are not sure if they get any money at all. So, there was a crisis during these three months for even those who received some money. Primarily food was scarce and we faced challenges due to lack of health and hygiene supplies. That is why our community faced more challenges. Now CBM has supported us… We would like to thank CBM for providing us, the community of spinal injury, these very essential daily use medical supplies.”

As part of our COVID-19 response, CBM is supporting also inclusive schools such as the Blind Children Education Centre – a specialist school for children who are blind.

Members of the Blind Children Education Centre, after receiving food packages from NDWA. Binod (3rd from right) 55, is the Founder.

Members of the Blind Children Education Centre, after receiving food packages from NDWA. Binod (3rd from right) 55, is the Founder.

 “This centre was established eight years ago. There are 15 blind students and 4 staff members… We aim to bring needy blind children here and teach them until higher secondary level… We run our centre through donations. The lockdown has affected us as we are receiving less support now. There is a larger need now and our supporters have also reduced… We would like to thank NDWA and CBM for this support. Our food ration was depleting and this support has filled it again.”

CBM is providing aid to inclusive workplaces like the Entire Power in Social Action (EPSA) organisation, which is a centre for women with disabilities to live and to earn a living.

Members of Entire Power in Social Action Nepal, after receiving food packages from NDWA. Sangita (far left), 39, is the Founder.

Members of Entire Power in Social Action Nepal, after receiving food packages from NDWA. Sangita (far left), 39, is the Founder.

“We provide vocational training to women with disabilities. After training is completed, we employ them in the production of various kinds of handicrafts materials… We also provide residential shelter which is safe and disabled friendly. There are 25 residents but if we count day members also then we support more than 55 women. This lockdown has affected us in a great deal. All our orders have been cancelled. We used to go for trade fairs abroad every year but that also got cancelled… This support from NDWA and CBM will help our kitchen running. This is a big thing at the moment.”

CBM is also supporting the Possible Life Centre, an entrepreneur group of people with disabilities, including one of their members Agni.

Agni (32), with his family. Agni (32), sat at a desk using a sewing machine.

Agni (32), with his family and using a sewing machine.

“There were 17 people (four families) in this centre before the Corona situation. Currently, we are three families here. We do tailoring. We used to get orders from contractors for various kinds of garment pieces and we used to prepare them here. I also help in the marketing front. But this lockdown has affected our business completely. We cannot go out and all our orders have been cancelled. Moreover, people with disabilities have been highly affected. This corona has affected everything… This support from NDWA is very crucial for us.”

Look out for Part 2 of this blog series, which is coming soon, to hear from people working on the frontline to deliver this life-saving aid to the most at-risk households in Nepal.

Find out more about CBM’s COVID-19 inclusive response.

Top image: Nepal Disabled Women Association (NDWA), distributing hygiene and medical supplies to people with spinal injury and wheelchair users at Nepal Disabled Association, in Kathmandu.



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