Disability in Goma. The Power of Staying Together Against Covid-19, War, and Stigma

Credit: Elena L. PasquiniBy Elena L. PasquiniROME, Apr 22 2021 (IPS) Sylvain Kakule Kadjibwami lost the use of his legs during one of those ambushes that bloodlessly bleed North Kivu. “When I was shot, I thought it was the end of my life, but when I shared it with other disabled people, I discovered that life is still possible,” he said. Now it is Covid-19 that risks destroying the dreams of Sylvain, a small trader from Goma, a city whose roads are volcanic rock-ridden screes where pick-ups trudge. Those who walk face the risk of falling at every step. However, for those who cannot, the same roads can become traps where it is not only war that kills but also a stigma fostering misery and disease. Confined to their homes by poverty, even before the pandemic, people living with disability in the capital of North Kivu, in the East of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, must overcome obstacles higher than those erected by the lava of the Nyiragongo. They are obstacles made even more challenging by the coronavirus containment measures that are severely affecting the fragile local economy, made up of informal activities and community solidarity. “Since the outbreak of Covid, here, in North Kivu, more than a dozen disabled people have died not because they had Covid: They have died of hunger because they had nothing to eat,” Herman Cirimwami, coordinator of the Paph, a Congolese organization that assists and protects people with disabilities, including pr...
Source: IPS Inter Press Service - Health - Category: International Medicine & Public Health Authors: Tags: Africa Aid Armed Conflicts Crime & Justice Economy & Trade Featured Food & Agriculture Headlines Health Human Rights Humanitarian Emergencies Multimedia TerraViva United Nations Video Source Type: news

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