The impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt in Sierra Leone. Strict quarantine measures are in place for anyone with the infection. This can be especially devastating for people with disabilities, who are often dependent upon others for support.

The Dorothy Springer Trust is working hard, in collaboration with the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL), to combat the pandemic among people with disabilities. We are delighted to report that friends and supporters have raised over £5,500 since the start of the pandemic, to confront this challenge.

As reported in April, DST used the first part of the money raised to produce communications materials with clear messages about safety precautions, focused on people with disabilities. Our signature song, published on 20 April, was launched at an event with the Government of Sierra Leone’s Emergency Operations Centre on 6th May. The song has also been used in a video which explains the messages in more detail. You can watch this below.

Since then, the funding we received has also enabled DST to purchase sanitation and prevention items including 60 buckets, over 450 bars of soap and 60 hand sanitisers. 1,000 face masks were also made in the Freetown Cheshire Home. DST distributed these items to 20 different Disabled Persons Organisations, consisting of over 1,500 disabled people, in the rural and urban areas of Freetown. Since then, the Government has agreed to fund DST to make an additional 1,000 face masks to support the national response.

The final strand of our COVID-19 project is to ensure that any people with disabilities who are affected by COVID-19 receive the support they require. DST is using its connections with a wide network of Disabled Persons Organisations to monitor cases as they occur. Earlier in June one person with disabilities and his family was confirmed as having COVID-19. They were quarantined on 2 June. DST has been swift to respond, providing support, including funds to help with food and other basics. We are pleased to report that the family involved have responded well to treatment.

The COVID-19 project has been covered by major television networks, internet news providers and print media. Our signature song is also receiving airtime on radio stations. This is great news and will help ensure the COVID-19 protection message gets across to people with disabilities.

The generosity of our supporters is making a difference in the lives of people with disabilities in Sierra Leone. DST expresses heartfelt thanks to all those who are making this happen.

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