Yangyel Lhaden 

Compared to the first lockdown, the services in the second lockdown have been better, according to persons with disabilities in the capital.

Jigme Namgayl a person with blindness ran out of essentials recently. He called 1009 in the morning hours and essentials were delivered to him in the evening.

He lives with six visually impaired trainees availing musical lessons. He said that he heard about the hotline number through the media and called the number immediately that day.

He was out of essential items in the first lockdown but there was no one to help. His plight was reported in the media and the next day he got the groceries.

Officials operating the 1009 call centre said that from the start of second lockdown till January 7 they delivered essential items and transportation services to 15 disabled persons. The officials also cater to senior citizens.

Pema Dorji, a physically disabled tailor, after struggling with essential items during the first lockdown made sure he stocked up. “I did not expect such services would be made available to us.”

He said that with lockdown extended resources at home were exhausting and was looking forward to avail services from 1009. “I am even short of money and I can buy essentials if I get kidu.”

A person with blindness said that for those disabled persons living alone this service came as a great relief.

Migmar Wangmo, a person with blindness, lives with five other women with blindness. She said that she and her friends were unaware of such services. “Being visually impaired we do not have easy access to news or information.”

She said that she would now contact 1009 for help. “We have one special movement card and I made use of it once.”

The official with 1009 said that for persons with disabilities and senior citizens they provided services as quick as possible.

The official also said that they faced challenges to distinguish if a person was really disabled as few incidences of people trying to outwit them had occurred.

A man claiming to be visually impaired wanted to go to his wife in Babesa. He called 1009. Thromde office arranged a vehicle to drop him.  On the second day, he called the police to go back to his home saying he forgot his medicines. The following day, the official said that he again called 1009 to avail their help.

“We came to know he was not blind as he registered a case with police last year when he was hit by a vehicle,” the official said.