About Asende

Asende, wearing a suit, stands in a hallway

Interview conducted on August 28, 2020

Location: Zoom

Asende is the father of 14-year-old Mala. They are originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

English | Swahili

Asende's Story: English

Interviewer: We believe it is really important for the voices of individuals with disabilities to be heard, and we appreciate you taking the time to participate in this project and share your children's story.

Interviewer: Can you describe a typical day in Mala's life before the pandemic hit in mid-March?

Asende: Uh, I think that before we began experiencing this problem, it was alright, and again with these problems I think he is just alright.

Interviewer: Are there any specifics? Like, before he went to school in person, and now he does school from home, are there any specific ways that it has changed?

Asende: It is true that there are changes concerning that. Because even he himself, you see...

The challenge is that he was a person who loved to play with his peers but here there is no child his age. He feels very lonely and keeps saying, all the time, that, "Uh! I could have gone to school. Why are they refusing to open schools?"

So, I comfort him on such days. It is a big challenge.

Asende's Story: Swahili

Interviewer: Ameshukuru kabisa kwa sababu wanataka kupata maoni ya watu walemavu na jinsi wako na mafamilia zao na amefurahi kwa sababu wewe unashuhudia pia.

Interviewer: Haya. Kabla hatujapata shida ya COVID... siku ya Mala...siku yake ilikuwanga namna gani kawaida?

Asende: Aa, nafikiri, kabla hatujapata hii matatizo ilikuwa tu sawa lakini na hizi tena nafikiri yeye yuko sawa tu.

Interviewer: Imebadilika namna gani kwa sababu zamani alikuwa anatembea na kwenda shule, na sasa hivi wanasomea nyumbani. Unaona imebadilika namna gani?

Asende: Ni kweli hapo kuna mabadiliko kuhusu hilo. Kwa sababu hata yeye mwenyewe... unaona ...changamoto yeye alikuwa ni mtu mwenye hupenda kucheza na wenzake, lakini hapa hivi hakuna mtoto wa rika yake. Anasikia kama vile upweke sana kila mara kukudai kwamba, "Uh! ningeenda shule, hivi wanakataa shule kwa nini?"

So nambembeleza bembeleza kwa siku kama hizo. Ni changamoto kubwa.

Nationalities Service Center / INSPIRE

Nationalities Service Center (NSC) is Philadelphia's leading immigrant and refugee service organization empowering immigrants to thrive in our communities and pursue a just future.

NSC's Innovative Support Program for Immigrant and Refugee Empowerment (INSPIRE) serves immigrants and refugees with extensive healthcare needs and disabilities through case management and occupational therapy supports. Utilizing a strengths-based case management approach, the INSPIRE case managers work alongside clients to achieve goals, understanding, and self-sufficiency.


  • Christina Kubica, MSW, LSW - Program Manager, Refugee Health and INSPIRE
  • Kara Friesen, MA - Lead INSPIRE Case Manager
  • Darya Nemati - INSPIRE Case Manager

About the Project

Independence Media logo

This project was made possible with generous support from the Independence Public Media Foundation.

For more information

Contact us at iod@temple.edu.