NEW DELHI: Avadesh (38), a physically handicapped person who works as a helper in a shared auto, has hardly earned anything in the past one month since the Covid lockdown has been imposed.
“I met with an accident seven years ago, which led to a dislocation of bone on my left leg. I cannot walk properly but used to earn my living by working as a helper in a shared auto on the Peeragarhi-Uttam Nagar route,” said Avadesh, the breadwinner for the family.
But since the current lockdown has been announced to contain the viral infection, “we didn’t get passengers and our auto driver decided to go off-road from May 5. My mother and younger sister are dependent on me and it has become difficult to arrange two-square meals”, he added.
Avadesh is not alone. Many persons with disabilities have been affected in the pandemic, and an NGO, NIPUN, has been distributing dry ration and sanitation kits among such people in Meera Bagh. Over the last two days, NIPUN provided ration and other essential items to 50 people with mental illness and various physical disabilities.
Pradeep Kumar, its secretary, said, “In the next phase, we are planning to involve the government and like-minded NGOs to provide community-based rehabilitation to persons with disabilities. We want to help them get skill-based employment.”
Twenty-five-year-old Deepak, another physically handicapped person, has been jobless for nearly a year while his mother, a domestic help, has lost employment around a month ago. “I used to work in an electrical equipment factory. I lost the work last year and, despite my repeated attempts, have failed to find another work,” said Deepak.
While his elderly father is bed-ridden, his mother’s employers stopped calling her after the lockdown was imposed last month. “I also have a younger sister. It has become difficult to buy medicines for my father or pay the rent of Rs 2,500,” said Deepak, thanking NIPUN for providing the ration.
Another beneficiary, Gulab Mandal (20), said, “My sister Geeta and I are blind while my younger brother is a Class XII student. Our mother is a domestic help, but has no work in the lockdown. We request the government to help us.”