Cash transfers are distributed to families of vulnerable children with disabilities in the Antanety II region | © F. Ranaivotahiana, SOSVE / HI
HI's teams and its partners are working to help the worst affected families of children with disabilities survive the crisis. They are providing cash transfers to vulnerable families during the health emergency.
As a result of the lockdown, curfews, and travel restrictions, most households have found themselves experiencing major financial difficulties and are no longer able to meet their needs. Many have little or no work. This has seriously impacted their health, family life, and psychological and social well-being.
To alleviate situations of extreme poverty, the MITEHAFA project, financed by the European Union, transfers 100,000 Ariary to the most vulnerable families of children with disabilities. These families are identified in advance.
"I work as a domestic help and occasionally as a washerwoman. My work has completely dried up and I don’t earn anything now," explains Mamitiana Aimée, a mother and one of the project’s beneficiaries. She is 39 years old and raises her two boys, 13 and 11 years old, alone. Her husband left her when her youngest son was only three months old.
Mamitiana Aimée's family was added to a list of households most vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic because of her highly unstable financial situation. This made her eligible for a cash transfer equivalent to almost one month's average salary.
"This financial aid fills a void during these difficult times. I am extremely grateful,” adds Mamitana.
Cash transfers are made in the open air or at secure sites in line with the health prevention measures implemented by the authorities to prevent the spread of the virus. Recipients were given identity vouchers before the day of the transfer, which they needed to show in order to collect their money.
The project team and police made sure social distancing rules were applied.
As well as cash, heads of family are given information on protecting themselves from COVID-19 and support on crisis-related issues.
Activities focus on information and awareness-raising to change behaviour and reduce stress, the management of psychological distress caused by the pandemic, resilience-building for vulnerable households and people with special needs, and planning for a possible second wave of COVID-19.
Mamitiana Aimée is aware of the seriousness of the situation. She follows the virus prevention advice she sees in the media. When she collected her cash, she was also able to talk with our teams:
"The information helps us better protect our children and families, and we almost never leave the house,” she says. “The virus is invisible, but it can kill us. We take the situation very seriously.”
This operation will alleviate the financial hardship suffered by 3,000 vulnerable families and raise their awareness of COVID-19 prevention measures. It also forms part of the Malagasy government's strategy for dealing with the crisis.