Assistive devices support mothers with disabilities in childcare
UNICEF and Agate rights defense center set up a revolving fund on assistive devices for mothers with disabilities
When Karine Grigoryan became pregnant, she found herself amidst countless challenges, ranging from accessibility of healthcare facilities to the quality of gynecological services, especially when it comes to servicing women with disabilities.
“Women and mothers with disabilities are subjected to violence six times more frequently than those without disability. Organizations that have services for persons who have experienced violence are inaccessible, both in terms of the physical environment, as well as human resources. Very often their staff lack the skills necessary to work with persons with disabilities or is not sensitive enough to needs. Instead of helping us to solve our problems, they often put extra pressure on us with attitudes that are well intended but still hurtful,” shares Karine Grigoryan, founder of “Agate” rights defense center for women with disabilities.
“In the post-natal period, all women need the support of their family members, regardless of their abilities. No matter how fun, childcare is inasmuch a hard job. Hence, any support as such would be invaluable for both mothers and fathers, which is why I thought of the need for a revolving fund so that mothers with disabilities have access to necessary tools and devices to ease their first steps in childcare,”
“Public perceptions of women with disabilities often challenge the free use of their rights and their abilities to contribute to the society. Mothers are considered primarily responsible for childcare in the household, and, in case of disability, women are viewed as less capable of caregiving and hence discouraged to get married and have children. Sometimes this leads to women with disabilities starting to believe that they indeed do not have the capacity to have or take care of their children,”
“It’s very important that Agate Center raised this issue. Armenia has a vibrant high-tech industry, and it’s high time that we try to expand the availability of assistive devices in the country. Access to appropriate, quality assistive devices can mean the difference between enabling or denying women an independent and dignified life. It can empower both individuals and communities.”
UNICEF, together with other partners and UN agencies, has been working to raise awareness on the variety and benefits of assistive technologies with a focus on the education sector. In the past two years, UNICEF has supported line Ministries to develop a policy framework on assistive technologies, a list of available technologies and technical specifications, as well as their funding mechanisms.
Additionally, UNICEF works to enhance and enrich the SafeYOU application for girls and women with content about these issues and available solutions.
In April, UNICEF, Agate Center and other partners organized a panel discussion in Gyumri, bringing together caregivers and professionals to launch the revolving fund and present the available assistive devices, their functionalities and how to obtain them.
At present, the revolving fund covers nine assistive devices from a baby monitor, easy-hold multi-functional silicone cuffs to a pickup tool or a baby food dispensing bottle. The full list of devices is available on Agate Center’s website.
Interested caregivers can either rented a device for a symbolic amount of money or purchase them. The Center organizes the procurement and delivery for families who wish to purchase the assistive devices, saving extra time for parents. If interested, you can reach out to Agate NGO through phone +37477 043 042 or on their Facebook page.
The programme is funded by UN COVID-19 Response and Recovery Multi-Partner Trust Fund.