When COVID-19 hit, it hit hard. The pandemic’s sudden and unexpected arrival to our province has impacted all of us, disrupting our routines, our jobs, and our interactions with each other. Even before its arrival, thousands of New Brunswickers with a disability and their families were already living precariously – and COVID-19 fractured their fragile support systems. I’m writing you today for your help.
Mohamed Ragab and his family were among those for whom COVID-19 nearly led to a crisis. At the height of the pandemic, Mohamed and his wife Mona were expecting the birth of their third child, Nora. Mohamed had already made the difficult decision to leave his job as a marine engineer to work as an overnight taxi driver, so he could be home more to help his wife care for their new baby and their middle child, Yhaia, who is eight years old and has autism.
As the situation progressed, schools closed, and Mohamed’s work as a taxi driver dwindled. Inevitably, the family lost many of their natural supports. In early April, Mohamed had to leave his job as a taxi driver to self-isolate for two weeks so he could accompany Mona to the hospital for Nora’s birth.
As Mona’s due date approached, they began to stress about who would care for Yhaia while they were at the hospital. Unable to rely on friends due to strict restrictions, the family started looking at options to hire a support worker to be with their son. Unfortunately, due to Mohamed’s recent loss of income, they were unable to afford the costs. With nowhere else to turn, Mohamed reached out to NBACL for help.
Thanks to our quick response time and collaborative approach, we were able to help locate and hire a support worker for Yhaia. Because of our generous supporters, Mohamed stood by Mona’s side as they welcomed baby Nora to the world, knowing that Yhaia was safe and happy at home.
“We couldn’t have made any of this possible without the support we received,” says Mohamed. “When it looked like everything was falling apart, Community Living was there for my family, and they were there for Yhaia.”
We wanted to share the Ragab family’s story with you because they could be anybody. In fact, the situation facing many families is serious and unprecedented, and the need for support has never been greater. In just one week during the pandemic, NBACL staff completed over 350 wellness check-ins to assist individuals and families in handling this challenging time. As we navigate the pandemic’s second wave, the need remains high.
On average, it costs $1700 to provide essential supports for a family like Mohamed’s for a year. This holiday season, we have set a goal to raise the funds needed to ensure that we can support the next 15 families who reach out.
Your donation will help provide opportunities through essential supports, services and programs to individuals with an intellectual or developmental disability and their families, such as:
- Helping families navigate crisis situations by equipping them with tools and resources;
- Creating a sense of belonging for those who need it most;
- Helping students with an intellectual or developmental disability and their families charter a path for life after high school;
- Supporting adults with an intellectual or developmental disability to create a safe, supportive home of their own; and
- Ensuring people with disabilities have access to food, shelter, medication, mental health supports and other necessities disrupted by COVID-19.
You can play an important role in creating opportunities for people with an intellectual or developmental disability to live full and valued lives in all aspects of society. Help us build rewarding, meaningful lives for the people we support, just like yours and mine. Please give generously.
Thank you for your continued support.
Board President, NBACL
P.S. As the pandemic continues on and winter approaches, we expect a greater need for support and connections. By making a monthly financial commitment, you would help us meet the increased demands we’re anticipating. Please consider starting a monthly donation to help.