On the 8th July 2021, EUD attended a webinar organised by the Qatar Foundation for Social Work, along with UNICEF, the Perkins School for the Blind, and World Enabled. The event was titled ‘The power of partnerships in securing the rights of people with disability in the context of COVID-19’. Its aim was to discuss to how governments, international and civil society organisations, and the private sector could work collectively to ensure the mainstreaming of disability rights in all measures in response to COVID-19.
Ahmad al-Kuwari, CEO of the Qatar Foundation for Social Work, acknowledged that the pandemic had triggered collective efforts towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, especially for persons with disabilities, but that it had also led to accessibility being undermined in various countries. Katherine Holland, Executive Director of the Perkins School for the Blind, raised the issue of accessibility and the challenges facing persons with disabilities, remarking that ‘many times children with disabilities cannot attend schools because of transportation or health issues’. Meanwhile, UNCIEF’s global Chief of the Disability Section, Rosangela Bergman Bieler, highlighted the dangers faced by persons with disabilities, who are at ‘greater risk of contracting COVID-19 due to accessibility barriers to basic hygiene measures and difficulties in maintain physical distancing’.
This event was excellent opportunity to gain an insight into how COVID-19 has affected social work around the world and specifically the rights of persons with disabilities, advancing the agenda of ‘leaving no-one behind’.