COVID-19 has had a catastrophic impact on the lives and well-being of people with disabilities right around the world. Today, on International Day of People with Disabilities, MSI Asia Pacific seeks to ensure the world we build is a better world for all.
During the global COVID-19 pandemic people with disabilities have faced greater hardship, far higher rates of unemployment, food insecurity and challenges to protect themselves from the virus. They have less access to vaccines and health information than people without disabilities. This impact has been compounded in low and middle-income countries where people often live in a cycle of poverty and disability that’s hard to escape.
People with disabilities are still overwhelmingly overlooked in crises, which is why MSI Asia Pacific joins the #BetterWorldForAll movement to call on governments and communities to address injustices experienced by people with disabilities and recover in a way that emphasise inclusive public health and safety.
MSI Asia Pacific is helping raise awareness by sharing CBM Australia’s new video Build Back a Better World for All which shares the experiences of people with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic and their hopes for a more inclusive world.
“Acknowledging the disproportionate impact COVID-19 has had on people with disabilities and ensuring their voices are heard by those who hold power is key to creating a world where all can participate. This video shows the needs and priorities of people with disabilities and is a great conversation starter for how we can start building that world,” explains Chris Turner, Executive Officer and Regional Director, MSI Asia Pacific.
“We, MSI Asia Pacific, are playing our part by recruiting a Gender Equity, Safeguarding and Inclusion Advisor. By having a dedicated role for inclusion, MSI Asia Pacific is committed to maximising opportunities to reach people with disabilities and respond to their sexual and reproductive health needs.”
An example of this is our partnership with Marie Stopes Cambodia and the Cambodian Disabled People’s Organisation (CDPO).
“The aim is to support CDPO’s work in enhancing people with disabilities’ access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health (SRH) information and high-quality, safe, and affordable services,” said Chris.
This partnership includes:
-Training on SRH to people at disabilities organisations across seven provinces
-Awareness raising sessions on SRH for people with disabilities
-Organising visits to Marie Stopes Cambodia centres for people from disabilities organisations so they can get a better understanding of available services and build connections with one another.
-Raising awareness on SRH through the radio and roundtable discussions.
“We have an opportunity to shape our future and build a world that factors in the priorities and perspectives of people with disabilities. On International Day of People with Disabilities we are campaigning for a world where all people feel valued and heard; and can access their human rights. The time is now,” Chris Turner continues.
International Day of People with Disabilities was first proclaimed by the United Nations in 1992, and aims to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and development, and to increase awareness of the situation of persons with disabilities in every aspect of life.