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COVID19: The latest updates from our teams supporting people with deafblindness around the world

15 February 2021

It’s been almost one year since the outbreak of COVID19 and the huge impact of the pandemic is still being felt across the globe. Sense International continues to adapt to the ever-changing situation to support people with deafblindness and multi-sensory impairments (MSI). Here are the latest updates from our teams around the world.


Hand washing stations in Kenya

Sense International’s UK Aid Direct COVID19 response project in Kenya has had a huge impact on the lives of people with deafblindness/ MSI. The project will provide food and medicine, hygiene facilities in schools, mental health support and accessible information on how to stay safe.

In Kenya, a nationwide curfew remains in place, but all schools are open and teachers have resumed work. So far, this project has:


  • Installed handwashing facilities at 22 schools
  • Trained 831 teachers and 24 support staff on handwashing techniques
  • Supported nine schools to produce quality soap for handwashing
  • Provided 130 tablets loaded with information about COVID19 to people with deafblindness/ MSI and their families
  • Provided food parcels to 175 families
  • Provided mental health support to 45 people

Making soap in Kenya


In Uganda, life for people with deafblindness/ MSI and their families was significantly impacted by COVID19 restrictions. Businesses and other economic activities were brought to a standstill, leaving many families with no source of income or financial support to cover their basic needs.

Sense International Uganda organised donations of food and household items to be provided to people with deafblindness/ MSI and their families. A grandmother caring for twins with deafblindness said: “The government promised to provide food to Ugandans but so many people including my family did not receive the relief. I’m grateful for the support we have received from the therapy and now the food from Sense International.”

Grandmother with her twin grandchildren recieving items


In India, Sense International India has been supporting people with deafblindness/ MSI with emergency funding, helping families like Seemanthini’s.

Seemanthini with her special educator

Six-year-old Seemanthini was born with deafblindness and lives with her parents and brother. Her father works as a labourer, but the lockdown has meant there are no longer opportunities for him to work, which has affected the family’s income and ability to buy enough food.

Sense International India provided a food and hygiene kit. Seemanthini’s father said: “I don’t know how to thank you. This is helpful for my family. You will be blessed for this kindness.”

Seemanthini’s father collecting a ration kit


In Bangladesh, social distancing measures are in placebut many facilities are open including shopping centres, cinemas and restaurants. Sense International’s team in Bangladesh is providing home-based services for people with deafblindness and their families, while maintaining social distancing measures.


Social distancing measures are still in place in Nepal, but many amenities are open including shopping centres, cinemas and restaurants. Sense International’s team in Nepal is providing support to families and children through calls, training and meetings. Learning materials have been provided to people with deafblindness/ MSI and their families to continue the learning process at home.


Lockdown measures are in place in Peru and Sense International is coordinating projects to allow them to continue despite these measures. Since the outbreak of COVID19, Sense International Peru has been running virtual training sessions for teaching and non-teaching staff supporting people with deafblindness. The sessions have covered topics including communications strategies and sensory approach strategies.


Romania is still in a state of “national alert” with restrictions in place, which means many of Sense International Romania’s activities have been replaced by online activities. These include online meetings for young people with deafblindness/ MSI and an online advocacy campaign for children with deafblindness/ MSI to create videos at home about rights issues.

First published: Tuesday 18 June 2013
Last updated: Friday 6 December 2019