A glimmer of hope to support the special needs of people with disabilities

A glimmer of hope to support the special needs of people with disabilities

Solofonirina Claudia RAKOTOARISON
Amboasary Atsimo, village de Berthine Ma
UNICEF/2020/MAROLAHY Dominique
10 July 2020

Amboasary Atsimo, April 15, 2020: Berthine Ma is a mother of three children aged 5, 8 and 11, all of whom are actively enrolled in primary schools. They are living in the village of Anjahamavelona, located at about 9 miles from the main city of Amboasary Atsimo. With her husband, they earn a living from subsistence farming. Every single day, parents leave for work in the fields early in the morning. A hard work that can barely cover their most basic needs. Their daily earnings cover food, school fees, and any other accessory family expenses.

Though, the periodic health care they must give to their 11 year-old son with a disability starts to weigh heavily on their budget. “Because of his disability, our oldest son starts to have some health issues. We then need to take him to the community health center every day to receive the necessary medical care. It is an additional burden on our modest budget. Added to the school fees of the three kids that we would like to keep paying.…”, points out Berthine Ma.

Berthine Ma et son mari
UNICEF/2020/MAROLAHY Dominique

Taking care of both: the health care of my child with a disability and the education of my children

Since Berthine Ma’s family moved to the village of Anjahamahavelona few months after the selection of the FIAVOTA cash transfer programme beneficiaries, they were not able to benefit from it. While we visited their village, she told us her dearest wish: “I would really love that one day, my family can benefit from an aid program taking in charge people living with a disability, but also a programme that can support family revenue so that we can keep sending our three children to school”.

Social Protection Services adapted to the needs of different categories of people: The Joint SDG Fund Programme

Our meeting with the family is particularly timely as we are currently in the preparation phase of launching an integrated social protection programme. Funded by the SDG Fund, the programme brings together four UN agencies jointly working on social protection in Madagascar which are UNICEF, UNFPA, WFP and ILO. The programme also sees the participation of other agencies including FAO, WHO and OHCHR.

The main objective of the programme is to provide an integrated package of social protection interventions specifically tailored to the needs of different categories of people, especially people living with disabilities.

The integrated social protection programme comprises the following components: a cash transfer component, aimed at supporting the daily consumption of the most vulnerable households and the schooling of children (UNICEF); a component supporting the access of the poorest households to universal health coverage (ILO); a component on agricultural insurance and productive activities (WFP); and component supporting the fight against gender-based violence (UNFPA).

Thanks to this joint programme, Berthine Ma's family, who has primary school-aged children and a child with a disability, if qualified and selected in the programme, could receive the necessary support to help give better care for their children.
"I really can't wait to take my CEPE exam and move on to the sixth grade," shouts their eldest child!