People with disabilities hit hard by COVID-19 in Thailand

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the whole family has to live off the generosity of neighbours

Sirinya Wattanasukchai
A mother and her young kid sitting against the wall inside her house.
UNICEF Thailand/2020/Sirinya Wattanasukchai
05 June 2020

Mareyam Awae, 31, lives in Pattani with her 38-year-old husband and two children, aged 4 years and

2 years. The family receives a 1,600-baht per month allowance from the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security for people with disabilities as both Mareyam and her husband have communication disorder.

Inside a house with no furniture.
UNICEF Thailand/2020/Sirinya Wattanasukchai

Sometimes, Mareyam’s husband would earn around 4,000 to 5,000 baht per month doing construction work, but now due to the coronavirus pandemic, the family’s income has gone down to just 1,600 baht. This means Mareyam can only buy milk for her children every once in a while. The whole family has been living off the generosity of neighbours who have been kind enough to give them food regularly.

4 bowls inside a big plate
UNICEF Thailand/2020/Sirinya Wattanasukchai

When we met Mareyam, she had just 240 baht left to buy food for the next two weeks before her allowance arrived. When asked how she would survive for two weeks on such a small amount, Mareyam smiled ruefully, a smile that clearly indicated she had no idea.