Aug 4, 2020

The Rickshaw Project & Our COVID-19 Response

Ration distribution team
Ration distribution team

With the COVID-19 pandemic gripping the world, persons with disabilities being one of the largest marginalized communities have been going through even more economic ordeals. With an impending lockdown, no time was lost and swift actions were taken. NOWPDP was one of the first organizations of its kind to move to the digital space to ensure that physical interaction of any sort is curbed.

With this “new normal” emerging, NOWPDP’s main mission became: Welfare. Skills. Livelihood.

In this time of uncertainty, NOWPDP has received generous support from our well-wishers with the goal to ensure 3500 people with disabilities not only receive rations but also a large chunk of them get skills development training so that they can focus on becoming economically independent.

Welfare

A great emphasis on welfare has been prioritizing survival and sustenance. NOWPDP has been striving to ensure that 3500 people with disabilities across Sindh receive rations. The ration includes basic staple items such as wheat flour, rice, lentils, etc. NOWPDP drops rations to their homes and also distributes it in camps in their respective cities. All precautionary and hygienic measures are taken to protect both the recipients and the team. Our Rickshaw Project drivers played a major role in moving these rations in different areas, so it reaches the most deserving individuals.

Call Center by persons with disabilities for ration drive

A purpose-built call center setup was brought forth for the ration drive, where the call center agents are all persons with disabilities including the team lead. They all have to go through comprehensive data and sift through it, filter and verify it by calling the individuals who fit the ration eligibility criteria. The fieldwork of distributing ration could not have been possible without their assistance. This initiative has also generated employment in the time of COVID-19 because all the Call Center Agents receive stipends.

Skills Development

Skills development is one of the main pillars that NOWPDP emphasizes on. Acquiring a skill development training has a great chance of bolstering an individual’s probability to secure employment. Similarly, the team decided to focus on such training even more so that persons with disabilities have more economic opportunities as COVID-19 subsides. Therefore, with the lockdown coming in the scenario, the team lost no time in stopping all physical classes and moving them to digital space for everybody’s safety.

This was a change that nobody had prepared for and what ensued was very commendable despite being challenging. The teaching style and curriculum were worked upon and the most important facet of this initiative was to ensure that both trainees and trainers with disability find this change accessible. Therefore, people with visual disability were guided on the kind of software to use and people with hearing and speech disability had a sign language interpreter at all times. It is much to the team’s delight that the attendance in digital classes was 75% with fewer dips than expected. The training to immediately move to digital platforms were Computer Operations and Call Center.

Webinars

Despite the physical operations halting, we decided to use digital media to connect and communicate. For years now, we have worked to create an online community that is representative and includes our beneficiaries. Therefore, we ventured into having webinars and using social media tools to connect, boost morale, and give out important information.

As highlighted in the picture, the First Lady of Pakistan was also present during our first webinar and even sent in a message on the platform. The webinar was on“COVID-19: Persons with Disabilities - How to prevent it; what to do if affected?”


We do not know when this ordeal will end and what this would mean for all of us but what we do know is that we will strive to make this world a better and more inclusive place for all. There is still a lot of work to be done which is why your support is a great driving force for NOWPDP to transform the lives of as many people with disabilities as possible.

* Permissions were taken from the people used in this report. 

Call center setup for ration distribution
Call center setup for ration distribution
Online skills development classes
Online skills development classes
Jul 23, 2020

Impact your donation created in Pakistan

During our recent food distribution drive, we reached out to 3500 families of persons with disabilities in Sindh, Pakistan. It gave us the opportunity to meet thousands of amazing individuals impacted directly or indirectly by COVID-19. Everyone was grateful to the support you provided in this critical time through your generous donation. This email shares the stories of Baaghal, Saad, Rani, Salar, and Naseeb. This Eid, help us create ease in the lives of persons with disabilities and their families by continuing your support. 

 
Baaghal
"Son, I am very old now and I have seen a lot in this life despite not having the ability to see. I am blind and my son Ali has a physical disability. He never always had a disability like this. He used to work as a laborer and took a great big fall. That day, my life turned upside down; I have never felt so scared. He now sells kids toys at a kiosk. But with this lockdown, it is really hard for him to earn for us. This ration from your organization has come at the right time. Thank you.”

Saad

"I am very excited to hear from you that there is a place in Karachi that helps get artificial limbs to persons with disabilities for free. As soon as this coronavirus situation gets better, I will request my father to take me to that place. I hope to get a better education and when I get older, I want to see myself as a very successful man.”

 

Rani 

“I am a Dalit woman, so I am a minority within a minority. It is hard being a Hindu, then from a caste that is not respected in the community (Dalit), and being a woman also doesn’t help. We really are not represented much. Sometimes feels like we do not have a voice. 
My family men are blacksmiths. That is our business. We are also nomadic. We don’t stay anywhere for very long. The moment our business finishes, we set off to a different area. To be honest, it is better. We don’t have to face harsh words or disrespect anywhere for long.

My uncle and mother in law have a disability and I am here on behalf of them. Others wouldn’t give us ration once they find that we were Dalit. Thank you for not thinking of us as any lesser.”
Salar 
Salar has a neurological disability. He’s only seven but very smart for his age. Since childhood, he and his family have gone through a lot of hardships. His father is no more and his mother makes living by stitching clothes for people. The only stability they have is from one of their brothers who is in the army – currently posted in KP. His family wishes there were institutions like rehab centers that could diagnose and help him get better since Salar is brimming with energy and wants to do so much.
Naseeb 
Naseeb is a young child of not more than three or four. His eyes follow everything and he observes silently – sometimes giving a delightful smile when he is caught looking. He has a hearing and speech disability so he makes up for the speaking with his warm eyes following everything you are doing.

He doesn’t go to school but when told that he can go now, owing to the new Sujawal School opening for children with disabilities; he erupted into a peal of contagious laughter that had many around him laughing too.
* Necessary permissions have been taken from the beneficiaries for using their name, pictures, and testimonials. 
May 22, 2020

Our COVID19 Response: Welfare, Skills & Livelihoods

Azra is one of our call center trainees
Azra is one of our call center trainees

With the COVID-19 pandemic gripping the world, persons with disabilities being one of the largest marginalized communities have been going through even more economic ordeals. With an impending lockdown, no time was lost and swift actions were taken. NOWPDP was one of the first organizations of its kind to move to the digital space to ensure that physical interaction of any sort is curbed.


"Didn’t realize that just after completing my computer operations training at NOWPDP, I will be tasked with something so critical. I along with my colleagues were responsible for data gathering and verification of people who will be made eligible for rations distribution based on the criteria provided by NOWPDP. This is a great learning opportunity” - Azra


With this “new normal” emerging, NOWPDP’s main mission became: Welfare. Skills. Livelihood.

In this time of uncertainty, NOWPDP has received generous support from our well-wishers with the goal to ensure 3500 people with disabilities not only receive rations but also a large chunk of them get skills development training so that they can focus on becoming economically independent.

Welfare

A great emphasis on welfare has been prioritizing survival and sustenance. NOWPDP has been striving to ensure that 3500 people with disabilities across Sindh receive rations. The ration includes basic staple items such as wheat flour, rice, lentils, etc. NOWPDP drops rations to their homes and also distributes it in camps in their respective cities. All precautionary and hygienic measures are taken to protect both the recipients and the team.

Call Center by persons with disabilities for ration drive

A purpose-built call center setup was brought forth for the ration drive, where the call center agents are all persons with disabilities including the team lead. They all have to go through comprehensive data and sift through it, filter and verify it by calling the individuals who fit the ration eligibility criteria. The field work of distributing ration could not have been possible without their assistance. This initiative has also generated employment in the time of COVID-19 because all the Call Center Agents receive stipends.

Skills Development

Skills development is one of the main pillars that NOWPDP emphasizes on. Acquiring a skill development training has a great chance of bolstering an individual’s probability to secure employment. Similarly, the team decided to focus on such trainings even more so that persons with disabilities have more economic opportunities as COVID-19 subsides. Therefore, with the lockdown coming in the scenario, the team lost no time in stopping all physical classes and moving them to digital space for everybody’s safety.

This was a change that nobody had prepared for and what ensued was very commendable despite being challenging. The teaching style and curriculum were worked upon and the most important facet of this initiative was to ensure that both trainees and trainers with disability find this change accessible. Therefore, people with visual disability were guided on the kind of software to use and people with hearing and speech disability had a sign language interpreter at all times. It is much to the team’s delight that the attendance in digital classes was 75% with fewer dips than expected. The trainings to immediately move to digital platforms were Computer Operations and Call Center.

Webinars

Despite the physical operations halting, we decided to use digital media to connect and communicate. For years now, we have worked to create an online community that is representative and includes our beneficiaries. Therefore, we ventured into having webinars and using social media tools to connect, boost morale and give out important information.

As highlighted in the picture, the First Lady of Pakistan was also present during our first webinar and even sent in a message on the platform. The webinar was on“COVID-19: Persons with Disabilities - How to prevent it; what to do if affected?”


We do not know when this ordeal will end and what this would mean for all of us but what we do know is that we will strive to make this world a better and more inclusive place for all. There is still a lot of work to be done which is why your support is a great driving force for NOWPDP to transform the lives of as many people with disabilities as possible.

* Permissions were taken from the people used in this report. 

Team during ration distribution in Karachi
Team during ration distribution in Karachi
Ration verification call center
Ration verification call center
Online classes for trainees with disabilities
Online classes for trainees with disabilities
Webinar - First Lady of Pakistan also participated
Webinar - First Lady of Pakistan also participated
 
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