The blind are doubly vulnerable, say blind associations

 | Tue 5 May 2020 15:45 ICT

While the novel coronavirus has affected just about every group and level of society, there are some who are suffering more than others.

CityNews visited the Society of the Blind Chiang Mai today who have been greatly affected by the financial effects of the virus.

Many blind people work in the spa and massage industry, all of which has now been closed for months.

Charan Fankhamai, president of the Massage Thailand Association of the Blind (Chiang Mai) said that many of the blind masseuses have nowhere to go without government support. Whereas some used to be able to sing or play musical instruments at markets or public gatherings, those avenues too are now closed. Lottery sales have also been very slow over the past few months, so there has been no chance of earning an income.

“Blind people have it much harder than the rest of you,” he said to CityNews. “We can’t just go out of our homes and ask for help, often we are unable to access government assistance as they are very complex and time consuming and we cant navigate it alone. So at this point we just sit at home, wait and hope.”

According to Parakorn Khamdej, the president of the Blind Association of Chiang Mai, “We have been affected double of what others are feeling in Chiang Mai right now because we can’t stand in a line waiting for food, we struggle to register for the 5,000 baht government relief and we can’t go out and ask for help.”

The associations are working hard to rally support and donations to deliver to members most at risk and there are also the goods and moneys donated by the kind hearted.

“We could always do with more support,” said Parakorn. “It is going to take us twice as long to recover from this.”