COVID-19: HI continues to provide support to children with disabilities in Dadaab refugee camp
Families of children with disabilities in Dadaab refugee camp are particularly vulnerable to the Covid-19 crisis. They can no longer afford to buy the food they need to survive.
Hamze is looked after his mother and his physio at the HI center | © HI
Hamze is a four-year-old refugee with cerebral palsy. He lives in Dadaab and HI’s physiotherapists have provided him with rehabilitation care since birth.
His mother, Maryann, was also born in the camp in 1999, after her parents fled the war in Somalia. Her husband left her when Hamze was born and she now raises her child alone.
Every week, Hamze and Maryann attend rehabilitation sessions in the orthopaedic-fitting centre run by HI in the camp.
Maryann is learning to provide her son with the care he needs to protect his health and well-being.
HI has given Hamze a splint to prevent knee joint contractures and a specially adapted wheelchair to support his posture as he moves around.
Since March and the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, HI’s team has also been teaching Maryann how to protect her family against the virus.
She now understands the need to take precautions such as regular handwashing and wearing a face mask in public.
“HI has provided me with information on the steps to take to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 in the camp. It's a deadly disease that can affect anyone,"
She and her parents are extremely poor and depend on humanitarian aid from HI and other NGOs to survive. Before the epidemic, she used to clean her neighbours' houses.
"Unfortunately, my neighbours are also afraid of getting sick, so I can’t work there anymore. I no longer earn an income, and I cannot feed my son and my parents,"
This loss of income only adds to the problems experienced by Maryann. Her son has special needs because of his illness and she can no longer afford to buy him milk. Food has become expensive in the camp.
Maryann thanks HI for the daily support the organisation provides to people with disabilities in the camp, helping them meet their needs in these difficult times.