When 2020 finally began on the first of January, we all had high hopes and resolutions. However, it all came to nought. The corona virus put a halt to everything! Schools were closed, churches were prohibited and social events were banned! The only thing left for us all to do was to stay at home as much as possible.
As we commemorate the 2020 International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD), we take note of the fact that the world was not prepared for a pandemic like the new corona virus. The hardest hit came to be the disabled.
As Gateway to Elation, we noted that blind people had no ready access to information through the preferred media of their choice. There were no Braille pamphlets to alert blind Zimbabweans on the dangers of COVID-19 and there were no free audio materials to inform blind people.
The corona virus can easily be conquered with safety information regarding it’s ability to stay in surfaces and as blind people, touching is another way of connecting and orientating ourselves with our environment! Therefore, arming us with such information would have made us safer from the virus, thereby, creating enough safety for people around us as well.
Gateway to Elation intervened by providing data bundles to beneficiaries with access to mobile phones. Firstly, these bundles enabled beneficiaries to continue learning from the online tutorials which we provided. These lessons were delivered via WhatsApp mostly since it is the most accessible social media app here in Zimbabwe.
Secondly, we encourage our beneficiaries to utilise the said bundles to seek for truthful information about the corona virus. This includes joining official WhatsApp chat lines like the WHO WhatsApp chat bot, Techzim bot and official news groups.
In addition, we urged participants to be vigilant and to listen to the radio wherever possible for more official news.
The International Day of Persons with Disabilities is commemorated annually on 3 December. The 2020 IDPD is being held under the theme
“Building Back Better: toward a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 World”.
Therefore, it is our hope that blind and disabled people shall be incorporated in the building of this post COVID-19 world. Gateway to Elation believes a holistic integration has the potential to minimise and/or eliminate the fatality of the corona virus!
To all blind people who will attend IDPD commemorations around the world, please be as safe as possible and enjoy responsibly! COVID-19 is real and it kills!
In conclusion, we wish to appreciate the role played by our donors. Their unwavering support enable us to carry on with our work of empowering blind Zimbabweans! Our volunteers help in making sure day-to-day running of the initiative is smooth and that includes web development. Your investment in time and money towards this project is indeed, priceless! To learn more on how you can assist Gateway to Elation, please visit the support page.
Thank you! From Robert Malunda and the Gateway to Elation team.