31 years ago today, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law after two years of lobbying and organizing. This historic win was made possible by the work of activists like Ed Roberts and Judy Heumann who had been fighting for disability rights for decades. The ADA made public spaces, transportation and job opportunities more accessible to people with disabilities, but disability activists point out there is still a lot to be done to achieve equity.
In emergency situations or crises, the needs of disabled people are often neglected by the interventions designed both by governments and NGOs. The COVID-19 pandemic proves no different — disabled people are not able to get the medical care they need because going to the hospital puts them at risk for COVID, children with disabilities lose the support they need to access the internet and online learning. The barriers faced by adults with disabilities loom even higher due to mobility loss for them and their caregivers during lockdowns, loss of income from layoffs, shortage of hygiene products, etc.
Hesperian’s resources help people with disabilities take charge of their own health and advocate for better care for all disabled people. Our book, A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities, addresses the social stigma and inadequate care that people with disabilities face in addition to providing essential health information. Our classic Disabled Village Children was written to meet the needs of disabled children living in communities with limited resources. The book shares knowledge on how to care for children with disabilities through detailed information and a plethora of illustrations.