On the 7th of April, founder and executive director, Nidhi Goyal was invited to be a speaker at a webinar hosted by the Asia Pacific Women with Disabilities United (APWWDU) to talk about 'Response to COVID-19 and Women with Disabilities in Asia and Pacific'. Other experts from Asia Pacific included UN CRPD committee members Risnawati Utami from Indonesia and Miyeon Kim from South Korea, and other renowned activists like Rama Dhakal and Pratima Gurung from Nepal, Manique Gunaratne from Sri Lanka, Samantha French from Australia and others. The discussion was moderated by Abia Akram, Chairperson, National Forum of Women with Disabilities (Pakistan);.
The discussion centred around the need to make COVID-19 and quarantine policies gender-sensitive especially in the current times when many women and girls with disabilities are isolated and unable to procure food, medicines, etc. The participants moved on to identify the gaps and challenges they were facing in their respective countries and gave recommendations accordingly.
Nidhi Goyal highlighted the lack of access to resources for persons with disabilities, especially to caregivers. While listing the recommendations, she stressed the importance of strengthening civil society and government partnerships as the immediate response as well as the strengthening of data sharing and mobilisation to identify and locate persons with disabilities. She also spoke of accessible helplines and accessible local information dissemination chains so that women with disabilities are able to receive information and reach out for help. For long term Interventions, Nidhi stressed on the need for more robust national policies as well as strengthening data security to deal with the issue of violence against women with disabilities.