Giovanna Osorio. The doer.
Giovanna Osorio chairs the Kipu Llaxta Psycho Inclusive Association. A psychologist by profession, she is part of a brigade and an active member of the Disaster Risk Management Steering Committee, a platform formed by civil society and state organizations to make the groups most at risk from disasters visible.
Every morning, Giovanna begins the day by seeing her patients in her office called “Plenamente” (To the fullest) in the district of San Martin de Porres in Lima. Together with her assistant Carmen, she divides her time between her work as a psychologist and the objectives of Kipu Llaxta, where she and her team seek to do social work in favor of people with various types of disabilities.
“The majority of people who have just met someone with a disability, look at this person like oh, how do I talk to him/her?, oh, how do I treat him/her?, oh, I don’t want to offend him/her. They do it because they really don’t want to hurt, but that, the way they treat them is because they don’t know.”
Kipu Llaxta, among other things, tries to work on initiatives that are not being addressed by other organizations and thus not duplicate efforts. One of the goals that Giovanna highlights is that people with disabilities begin to be seen as doers and promoters of change. Although she celebrates the progress in terms of visibility, she still sees a lot of work to be done.
“For example, when we participated in meetings of the Roundtable to Fight against Poverty and also when we had to join efforts with the Municipal Association of North Lima working group, we asked them if a person with a disability had ever participated in their groups. We were told that they hadn’t.”
Giovanna sets the example. She accepted the call for the Inclusive Disaster Risk Management project promoted by Save the Children together with Humanity & Inclusion. Although she was not familiar with the topic, she quickly understood its importance. She realized that many people with disabilities were excluded from drills or recovery processes after emergencies.
“The first thing we did was to ask the WhatsApp groups or fora in which we participate the following question: Would you recommend that Kipu go into disaster risk management? And everyone asked us: what is that? (…). We are in danger because by not knowing, well, many things can be done very badly and it can also generate quite a lot of damage.”
Her participation in the project was key, and she ended up becoming the first brigade member with a disability in the group. One of the things that she values most about her participation in the project is having made visible the importance of the participation of the most at risk groups in case of disaster. She feels that now, for example, the Municipal Association of North Lima values their participation in the celebrations of the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction.
“While they were talking, for example, about shelters… we were talking about accessible and inclusive shelters. While they were talking about evacuation routes, we were talking about accessible and inclusive evacuation routes. While they were talking about the Family Plan, we were talking about a Family Plan that was inclusive and accessible. While they were talking about the backpack, we were talking about the inclusive backpack.”
“The fact that a group of people with disabilities participates and that they can say ‘yes, we have received contributions from this group’ already makes them visible, and therefore, is a way for them to realize that everyone can contribute something from their point of view. “
Giovanna continues to move forward without being overwhelmed by the challenges ahead. She will continue working from Kipu Llaxta for the inclusion of people with disabilities. She dreams that this will be part of public policies and State instruments, in order to achieve sustainable changes and have a truly inclusive future for all.
About the intervention
The Inclusive Disaster Risk Management project has been implemented by Save the Children and Humanity & Inclusion, with support from OFDA/USAID and ECHO from the European Union. With this intervention, we seek to improve and disseminate the framework of reference for Inclusive Disaster Risk Management to increase the protection and resilience of groups at greatest risk: people with disabilities, women, older adults, indigenous population, as well as children and adolescents.
In Peru, the participation of organizations of people with disabilities has been promoted in a platform that brings them together with disaster risk management organizations and various state entities. Thus, the Steering Committee for Disaster Risk Management was formed, and today it has joined the Working Group on DRM of the Roundtable to Fight against Poverty.