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People with disabilities - the excluded among the excluded

A young boy sitting on the floor having supports fitted, India
© Handicap International

Handicap International addresses a wide range of disability issues in India. Our aim is to ensure that people with disabilities are systematically taken into account in development programmes.

Handicap International launched it's first project in India was launched in 1988, providing technical support for a community-based rehabilitation centre in Pondicherry, southern India.

After launching an emergency response to the Gujarat earthquake in 2001, the organisation developed a more permanent presence in India and has gone on to develop public health services and disability-related projects across the country.

Out teams currently manage projects in five Indian states: Jammu and Kashmir, Gujarat, Delhi, Orissa, West Bengal and will soon commence activities in Chhattisgarh.

Key facts

India is an emerging world power with a flourishing economy. However, 41.6% of its population still live below the poverty line (UNDP 2011) and there are major economic and social disparities between different states.

The World Bank estimates that India has between 40 and 80 million people living with a disability. The poorest people in society face the greatest barriers to care, education and employment. For these populations, disability serves to fuel poverty and social exclusion.

Natural disasters such as drought, hurricanes, flooding and landslides are a constant threat in India, with the poorest states worst affected. On average, 40 million people are displaced from their homes by natural disasters every year. The impact from natural disasters has a particularly severe impact on people with disabilities.

• Human Development Index: 134th out of 187
• Life expectancy: 65
• Population: 1.21 billion
Source: UNDP HDR 2011

Flood relief in India
Responding to India's devastating floods
The Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir has been affected by the worst flooding the region has seen in 60 years. Handicap International and its local partner rescued more than 3,000 people trapped by flood waters and distributed aid to the most vulnerable victims.
Mehraan's leg needed to be amputated after he was hit by a car at the age of 3.
Mehraan: Supporting a future pilot to walk again
India, August 2013. In Kashmir, extreme poverty is everywhere and healthcare services are almost non-existent. For people with disabilities, many of whom are children, the situation is catastrophic. Living in isolated villages high up in the mountains, there is no one to provide the specific support these disabled children and adults desperately need.
Asif at the rehabilitation centre
Now, at cricket, I want to do the running myself!
India, May 2012. In order to improve the access of people with disabilities to quality health services in isolated areas of Kashmir, Handicap International is supporting the Hope Disability Center, a local organisation working in three districts of the Jammu and Kashmir state. Asif Haider, a 14 year old boy, is one of the many beneficiaries of this project.

Our projects

emergency logo

Supporting flood-affected communities

Our teams provided assistance to the most vulnerable people affected by the flooding that struck the Orissa region of India in September 2011.
> Find out more

emergency logo

Including vulnerable populations in natural disaster risk reduction and preparedness (South Asia)

Regional project conducted in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
Goal: The systematic inclusion of people with disabilities in natural disaster risk reduction, disaster preparedness and emergency response actions in Orissa and West Bengal. Information about the specific needs of people with disabilities in disaster situations is disseminated and all relevant stakeholders are encouraged to take part in disaster preparedness and disaster response activities.
Beneficiaries: 2,200 people with disabilities in seven districts have received initial needs assessment, referral and rehabilitation services. Nearly 2,500 health staff and staff from disabled people's organisations have received training.

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Enhanced assistance for people with disabilities

Goal: To improve the quality of services for people with disabilities living in isolated areas of Jammu and Kashmir. Handicap International is building the capacity of our project partner, Hope Disability Centre, to provide rehabilitation and referral services. We are also expanding rehabiitation services in public facilities, and promoting the rights of people with disabilities among local government and communities.
Beneficiaries: Overall, nearly 60,000 people have benefitted. Direct beneficiaries are children and adults with disabilities who hacve been provided with care. Other beneficiaries include public health employees and NGO staff receiving training as part of the project, and the general public.

Health logo

Including disability issues in the public health system

Goal: Promoting access to health care for people with disabilities in Gujarat, in order to break the cycle of poverty and disability and foster social inclusion. The project works to ensure that disability issues are taken into consideration in the health and education systems.
Beneficiaries: People with disabilities and their families living in 16 districts, 32 disabled people’s organisations, 100 rehabilitation service providers and 9,000 people working in the health sector.

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Disability-inclusive development: capacity-building for the rehabilitation sector (South Asia)

Regional project conducted in Bangladesh, Afghanistan, India and Sri Lanka.
Goal: To extend access to rehabilitation care for people living in isolated areas of Orissa by promoting interdisciplinary action and standardised practices amongst rehabilitation professionals, local authorities and community-based rehabilitation centres.
Beneficiaries: People with disabilities, rehabilitation professionals and community-based rehabilitation centres.

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Creating an environment suitable for children and adults with disabilities living in shanty towns

Goal: To improve access for children and young adults with disabilities to healthcare, rehabilitation and basic social services by providing technical support to a specialist rehabilitation centre in the most isolated shanty towns of Delhi’s north-east district.
Beneficiaries: More than 400 children and young people living in 6 shanty towns in North East Delhi.

Inclusion logo

Increasing opportunities for people with disabilities to support themselves through income-generating activities

Goal: To reduce the barriers faced by people with disabilities in accessing income-generating activities. The project builds the capacity of institutions offering vocational training so that they can offer better access to people with disabilities.
Beneficiaries: 300 people with disabilities in Orissa have already benefited from the project, along with vocational training providers.

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