Covid-19: Opportunity for Artists & Craftspeople with Disabilities



The Southern Africa Federation of the Disabled (SAFOD) is an umbrella network of national federations of organizations of persons with disabilities in ten countries. SAFOD coordinates programs and activities that seek to nurture and strengthen its national affiliates and other stakeholders to promote inclusive development and human rights for persons with disabilities. Our work includes training, research, coordination, advocacy, information-sharing, and stimulating persons with disabilities’ political and social development.

Over the past few months, SAFOD’s work has been thwarted by the advent of COVID-19, which has affected everyone, directly or indirectly; it is affecting the health and socio-economic status of societies in both developed and developing countries alike. People with different forms of disabilities are not spared. SAFOD believes that persons with disabilities may even be affected the most due to a myriad of factors. For this reason, SAFOD has drafted the COVID-19 Response Strategy for Persons with Disabilities in Southern Africa that proposes a list of interventions targeting persons with disabilities and their carers.

However, the regional strategy is still work in progress. Being a relatively new phenomenon, there is still a lot about COVID-19 that we are learning every day especially with regards to the situation of persons with disabilities. We are, therefore, constantly updating our response strategy.

To help us continue perfecting our strategy, SAFOD has been collecting data through a survey that is mainly targeted at persons with disabilities in the region. Through this survey, we are interested in understanding how the COVID-19 crisis is affecting them and how they feel about the ongoing response interventions at the local community, national, and even regional levels, so that we can use the results of the survey to inform well-articulated response strategies.

To ensure the inclusion of all sectors in this work, we are now also targeting the artists and crafts persons with disabilities to share their own experiences. What is particularly interesting about this exercise with artists and craftspeople with disabilities is that, unlike the others, they won’t be filling any online survey forms (of course, we’re not necessarily stopping them from participating in the survey if they so wish).

Through the Arts & Craft Project managed by SAFOD, the Loughborough University, and the Aston University, we want them to share their experiences by submitting their crafts and/or artistic expressions that depict how COVID-19 is affecting them, or persons with disability in general.

What work are we looking for?

We are looking for creative and artistic expressions that enable people with disability to communicate their inner feelings to the world around them, by communicating in ways that words cannot always describe. We are specifically looking for the following forms of artistic expressions.

  • Painting and drawing
  • Sculpting
  • Weaving
  • Crocheting and/or needle work
  • Drama
  • Music
  • Poetry and/or creative writing
  • Dance
  • Photography


We are specifically looking for anything that depicts one’s feelings, views, or observations about how COVID-19 is affecting them, and their feelings, views, or observations about the current interventions at regional, national, or community levels.  

Examples of artistic expressions may include, but not limited to, the following:

  1. Doing a painting/drawing depicting accessibility issues for patients with disability in a hospital setting.
  2. Taking a photograph(s) about food relief distribution to vulnerable people in a community, specifically depicting the situation being faced by persons with disability during the distribution program.
  3. Writing a poem about the inaccessible information on radio and/or TV and how this is affecting people with disability.
  4. Writing a creative story to celebrate one of the successful COVID-19 interventions within your community that has positively impacted people with disability.
  5. Weaving a mat that depicts COVID-19 message(s) on it for persons with disabilities.
  6. Making a crotchet facemask.
  7. Highlighting through drama the challenges that artists and craftspeople are facing business-wise in times of COVID-19.
  8. And others.

How to submit

  1. If you are a sculptor, weaver, crotchet maker, painter, cartoonist, you do not need to send us the real physical sample of your work. All you need to do is take photo of your work and upload it on our website form here
    • Make sure all the photos are in high resolution
    • If using a phone, always ensure that the photos are taken in landscape layout rather than portrait layout (tilt the phone sideways, not the normal upright).

  2. With regards to music, since it is not possible to take a photo of music, we encourage you to upload either your song (MP3) or at least the lyrics on the website.

    However, those who are into dance have an option to submit a photo or a video of the dance, as long as it clearly depicts the COVID-19 theme.
  3. Poets and creative writers can send us their written sample.
  4. Dramatists can send a recording audio file or video file depicting their work.


  1. All work will be published on the website and associated social media platforms for the Arts and Craft project for free (free marketing of the work of the artists and craftspeople!).
  2. All work will be accompanied a short profile of the creator.
  3. The messages in the artistic expressions may reach policy makers, governments, NGOs, etc., thereby benefiting people with disabilities through projects that are initiated as a direct result of this type of advocacy (self-satisfaction for your achievement!).
  4. It will be an opportunity for the participating artists and craftspeople with disabilities to build networks with others.
  5. It will be a learning podium and a source of inspiration for the participating artists and craftspeople with disabilities who will learn from others about how they are impacting societies through art and crafts.

Terms and conditions

  • We will not use all submissions for any purpose other than what we specify on the online submission form or the website.
  • We will ensure no one submits anything without checking the relevant box on the form to confirm and give us permission to use the submitted work for the specified purposes.
  • We will appropriately give credits for all the work submitted and published.
  • We do not promise any monetary reward. All work will be submitted voluntarily by the creators.

  • All those submitting their work must confirm they are indeed the creators and confirm that SAFOD and its partners will not be held liable for misinformation.
  • All those submitting their work must confirm they have a disability.

We will not accept any work that does not depict the COVID-19 theme in any way.