Day of the Elderly: Norway, UNICEF and Light for the World help elderly with disabilities

Because of the coronavirus, the source of income for many elderly with disabilities was affected due to the fear of the pandemic.

Miraldina Gabriel & Claudio Fauvrelle
A chegada da COVID-19 foi muito assustadora para todos, mas principalmente para as pessoas idosas como o Sr. António Francisco, que mora no distrito de Búzi, na província de Sofala. Ele tem uma deficiência física desde que tinha 8 anos de idade, “lembro que primeiro comecei a perder os movimentos nos meus pés, e de seguida, foi um momento muito doloroso para mim e minha família, eu tive de desistir da escola, o meu pai teve que deixar de trabalhar para andar comigo nas consultas no hospital,”
Light for the World/2021/Miraldina Gabriel
10 January 2022

BÚZI, Sofala - The outbreak of COVID-19 was very scary for everyone, but especially for elderly people like Mr. António Francisco who lives in Búzi district, in Sofala province. He has had a physical disability since he was eight years old, "I remember that first I started to lose the movement in my feet, and then it was a very painful time for me and my family, I had to drop out of school, my father had to stop working to walk me to the hospital." recalls Mr. António.

To survive, António makes and sells straw baskets, sieves, hats and mats, an art that makes him very recognised within his community; many of his neighbours buy these household materials from him, and in addition, he shares his experience by teaching the boys of his community his craft. "I used to love playing football, I was a good goalkeeper and I thought that one day I could make a living playing football, but as it was not possible and because my father also worked with straw, I learnt this art from him and today I like to teach the younger ones".

Because of the coronavirus, his source of income was affected due to the fear of going to the market to sell his art, given the crowds of people in these places, and António knew how dangerous the COVID-19 pandemic was for him and his wife given their advanced age.

In 2020, through a partnership between Light for the World and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), with financial support from the Government of Norway, António and about 5,000 other families of persons with disabilities, living in the district of Búzi, were given food baskets, hygiene materials, blankets and mosquito nets. Others continued to be supported in different ways this year in the resettlement neighbourhoods of Dondo and Nhamantada.