Malawi: Macoha Strengthens Covid-19 Awareness Amongst Children With Disabilities

18 January 2021

During its assessment tour on the impact made on its early childhood education development for children with disabilities in Chiradzulu, Mangochi and Phalombe, Malawi Council for the Handicapped (MACOHA) took the opportunity to spread awareness of COVID-19 as well as its preventive measures.

Project coordinator, Mercy Mpunga - who is MACOHA's women and children programmes officer - said they thought it wise not to take the national awareness campaign for granted but to assess the situation on the ground how best children with disabilities can be protected.

"We discovered there were a lot of issues that caregivers for children with capabilities needed to know as regards to the pandemic which haven't reached them yet," she said.

She said the caregivers were provided with soap, hand sanitizers and washing buckets to be used at their community based caregiver centres.

The Access to Early Childhood Development and Education for Children with Disabilities in Malawi is funded by Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) at a cost of $50,000.

Mpunga said the project endeavors to strengthen the participation of parents of children with disabilities, school authorities and communities with emphasis on ensuring that children with disabilities attend school and parents are able to make assistive devices.

"As the project reached its final stages, there was need to assess the impact made and we visited parents of children with disabilities as well as caregivers in the three districts.

"During the visits, many parents are sending their children to various early childhood development centres and some are attending primary schools after MACOHA's intervention."

Mpunga urged the parents and caregivers not to relent in sending their kids for early childhood development and education.

Many caregivers bemoaned lack of interest by parents to take their children with disabilities to community based care centres.

She also said the caregivers bemoaned inadequate skill services such as sign language, shortage of caregivers and in adequate play materials for their learners.

Just recently, MACOHA completed training parents of children with disabilities and other community members in cerebral palsy in the three districts in the production of assistive devices using appropriate paper technology using local resources.

This is MACOHA's drive to further achieve its goal of empowering people with disabilities for them to actively participate and integrate in social economic development activities of their communities and country.

MACOHA worked hand in hand with parents and guardians of children with disabilities taking cognizance from researches that prove children with disabilities enjoy good health and wellbeing if taken care of from infancy.

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