MOGADISHU: In Somalia, in the absence of reliable census data, persons with disabilities are estimated to be at least 15% of the population. The majority are among the poorest part and most vulnerable groups of the population. Persons with disabilities face various physical, attitudinal and institutional barriers to access food, healthcare services, education, and protection on an equal basis with others. They also face disability-based discrimination, which is exacerbated in situations of crisis, and when it intersects with other factors, such as poverty, gender or age. The 2020 SODEN clearly identified persons with disabilities as one of them, particularly vulnerable groups. As a citizen of this country, we deeply express a huge concern about the deterioration of the psychosocial and socio-economic wellbeing for Somalis with disabilities due to the impact of COVID-19.
According to Somali Disability Empowerment Network (SODEN’s) SODEN Report 2019 about the Livelihoods situation of the disabled people in Somalia, it was noted that people with all kind of disabilities face lack of economic empowerment some persons with disabilities were depended on begging other people in the markets, roads and busy places. Majority of Somali families whose members of their families are PWDs used to depend on remittances from the diaspora.
As this COVID-19 has affected the global health system and jeopardized its economics, Somalia can be a huge victim to COVID-19 impact unless mobilizing available public resources to augment what private sectors and international development partners are doing to help the poor and vulnerable including PWDs. During this lockdown situation, PWDs will be at risk of hunger and lack of daily psychosocial and socio-economic wellbeing life. With the additional Federal Government of Somalia announcements by the Prime Minister on Wednesday 1st of April, 2020 to have all schools, businesses, government offices, and public gatherings closed pending further notice, it is an additional burden for the children with and without disabilities, the closure of schools and other support structures will have major impacts on them due to absence of protective environments and access to basic needs.
In conclusion, SODEN, as a representative organization of the people living with disabilities (PWDs) in Somalia, is appealing to all Public and Private Sectors, Funding Partners, Local and International NGOs, among many others to come forward with any kind of support and assistance to the PWDs during this difficult times.
Mohamed Farah – Chairperson
Somali Disability Empowerment Network (SODEN)
Via Mogadishu port rd, Hamarjajab, Mogadishu-Somalia