Monday, 06 Jul 2020
Australia’s leading disability-inclusive international development agency warns the COVID-19 pandemic poses a real threat to the social and economic wellbeing of people with disabilities.
“Eighty percent of people with disabilities already live in poverty. We know that disability is both a cause and a consequence of poverty,” CBM CEO Jane Edge said. “Now, with COVID-19, we fear many more millions of people will be impacted.”
The World Bank now estimates that COVID-19 will push 71 million people into extreme poverty. With the worst case scenario, this increases to 100 million – erasing 30 years of progress in the fight against poverty.
That is why CBM Australia is joining other leading international development agencies in the call to #EndCOVIDForAll.
“While Australia has done a remarkable job to slow the spread of COVID-19, for many middle and low income countries the situation is only getting worse,” Ms Edge said. “We have an important role to play in supporting countries that are less equipped to deal with this virus, and a responsibility to ensure no-one gets left further behind.”
Since the lockdown, many people with disabilities have reported less access to vital support services and are losing employment first. In Indonesia, a large National survey found that 80% of people with disabilities experienced substantially reduced incomes, half of those with 50-80% income loss. Putra, a blind man, and member of the Disabled Peoples Organisation (DPO) Bandung Independent Living Center said, “What really affected me during this outbreak of coronavirus is my work as a Shiatsu therapist, which has now completely stopped.” Putra has since struggled to afford food and everyday essentials. Not only has Putra been financially impacted, he’s lost access to the daily support of others who would usually help him with activities that can’t be done alone.
The pandemic is also having greater negative impacts on women with disabilities, who are beginning to experience violence from partners and family members at least two to three times the rate of other women during the pandemic.
Australia has an opportunity to create a future in which we can all participate and thrive, through sharing our expertise and funding beyond our shores. Ms Edge said that “Through listening to people with disabilities, and considering their specific needs and priorities, we can take action to build a better, more inclusive world. A world where COVID-19 has in fact ended for all.”
You too can help. Join your voice with ours, as we call on decision makers to #EndCOVIDForAll
This virus is not over for anyone, until it’s over for everyone.
Jane Edge is Chief Executive Officer of CBM Australia and a member of the Board of the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID).
CBM Australia is a Christian international development agency, committed to improving the quality of life of people with disability in the poorest places in the world.
CBM Australia is a member of the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID)
 Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities for Sustainable Development, 2020. The experience of persons with disabilities with COVID-19.
 DPO Network, 2020. People with disability are missing out: The financial burden of COVID-19 on families with disability across Indonesia. Forthcoming.
 Women Enabled, 2020. COVID-19 at the Intersection of Gender and Disability. URL: https://womenenabled.org/blog/resources/covid-19-at-the-intersection-of-gender-and-disability.