COVID-19 Response: FTCJ will start a new project for visually impaired in the Philippines
As part of our overseas programs, Free The Children Japan has endeavored to support blind and visually-impaired people in the Philippines in partnership with Philippine Blind Union.
At present, under the consequent community quarantine lockdowns as a measure to limit the spread of COVID-19, blind and visually-impaired workers engaged in the massage industry are not able to gain income to meet their family’s daily needs. About 6,000 masseurs have no income source for about half a year. Some of them in desperation, have resorted to begging for alms in the streets of Manila.
In the Philippines, it is difficult for visually impaired people to access sufficient education because there are few schools for people with disabilities and safety school route. Also, many people can not afford to go to school due to poverty. Therefore, they face difficulty in getting job with stable income. Most of them work as masseurs.
This year, they have lost their work and income due to COVID-19. Massage treatment is difficult to maintain social distancing, so they can’t resume their business. There were also few patients come to take treatment due to afraid of infection. For those reasons, visually impaired masseurs in the Philippines gain no income from March.
Under these circumstances, Free The Children Japan has conducted crowdfunding for supporting visually impaired masseurs in the Philippines. Donation will be used for trainings of Computer and business running skills to enable them to establish new income resources. We hope this action leads to enlarge opportunities for employment and social participation for blind and visually-impaired community in the Philippines.