COVID-19 from the margins: Gendered-Disability experiences in Sri Lanka

KANDASAMY, Niro
PERERA, Binendri
SOLDATIC, Karen
Publication Date 
2021
12 pp

Recent research in the global South has highlighted that persons with disabilities are a vulnerable category of persons during the COVID19 outbreak. This paper provides some preliminary insights into Sri Lankan government responses to the outbreak, which, as we will be highlighting, take an ableist approach that further neglect the interests of persons with disabilities while entrenching disability dependencies on informal structures of familial and household support and in turn, increasing their marginality and economic insecurity. The COVID-19 outbreak hit Sri Lanka during a period of political turmoil – national Parliament had been dissolved on 3 March 2020 with elections initially called for 25 April 2020, six months prior to the official end of the Government’s elected term. Drawing upon rapid interview narratives, we present the lived experiences of two women with disabilities and the unique challenges they are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic. As we write this paper in September 2020, we acknowledge that the longer-term impacts of COVID-19 will not become immediately visible, particularly for disabled people from ethno-religious minority groups, including those residing within the former conflict zones.

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