Skip navigation |


Supporting the most marginalised

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

Handicap International addresses a wide range of disability issues in India by working to change national and local policies. Our aim is to ensure the needs and contributions of people with disabilities are routinely included in development actions and responses to natural disasters such as floods and cyclones.

Handicap International launched its first project in India in 1988, providing support to a community-based rehabilitation centre in Pondicherry, southern India.

After launching an emergency response to the Gujarat earthquake in 2001, we established a more permanent presence in the country and have gone on to develop public health services and disability-related projects in the region.

Key facts

India is an emerging world power with a flourishing economy. However, 30% of its population still lives below the poverty line and there are major social and economic disparities between different states.

There are an estimated 40 to 80 million people with disabilities in India. The poorest members of society are the worst affected due to their limited access to care services, education and employment. For them, their disability only serves to increase their poverty and social exclusion.

Natural disasters such as drought, hurricanes, flooding and landslides are a constant and acute threat in India, with the poorest and most vulnerable people worst affected.

• Human Development Index: 135th out of 187
• Life expectancy: 66
• Population: 1.25 billion
Source: UNDP HDR 2014

Preventing landmine accidents
Handicap International launches new project to prevent landmine accidents in Jammu and Kashmir
Over 60 years of conflict have left the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir heavily polluted by landmines and other explosive weapons. Accidents are frequent and half of all the victims are local people often employed the military. Although Urdu is the first language of most people in the state, many of the signs that warn people about the proximity of these weapons are in Hindi.
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.

Our projects

Health logo

Improve support available for people with disabilities in the State of Jammu and Kashmir

Goal: To improve the quality of services for people with disabilities living in isolated areas of Kashmir. Handicap International is improving facilities at a rehabilitation centre that we run in partnership with the Hope Disability Centre. We are supporting the centre to expand available rehabilitation provision, and referral services for other appropriate support. We are also advocating for the rights of people with disabilities to be recognised and protected.
Beneficiaries: Nearly 56,000 direct beneficiaries including children and adults with disabilities and public health employees.

Health logo

Improving support for people with disabilities in the State of Chhattisgarh

Goal: To improve the quality of rehabilitation care for people with disabilities in isolated and conflict-ridden areas of the State of Chhattisgarh. We are working in partnership with a local community support organisation called GSS, to improve existing facilities at Dantewada district hospital and local referral systems. In addition, we are promoting awareness of the rights and needs of people with disabilities.
Beneficiaries: Around 1,200 direct beneficiaries and 22,000 indirect beneficiaries of our awareness-raising activities.

Other recent projects include:

Emergency activities

Ensuring the most vulnerable people are included in natural disaster risk preparations

Regional project running in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and at regional level.
This project finished in December 2014.

Goal: To develop a model of disaster risk reduction planning that can be implemented across the country as well as internationally. In partnership with ActionAid and Oxfam GB, we are working to share good practice in including people with disabilities in disaster risk management plans and initiatives.
Beneficiaries: people with disabilities and organisations involved in disaster risk management.

Rehabilitation logo

Support to the rehabilitation sector

This project finished in June 2014.
Goal: To extend access to rehabilitation care for people living in isolated areas in the Nayagarh, Mayurganj and Koraput districts of Odisha. Handicap International is providing training and support to enhance the quality and availability of rehabilitation care. We are encouraging more partnership working across regions with a view to sharing good practice and influencing national rehabilitation policies.
Beneficiaries: People with disabilities and their families, rehabilitation professionals and community-based rehabilitation centres.

Inclusion logo

Promoting the rights of people with disabilities by improving advocacy skills in the State of Gujarat

This project is now closed.
Goal: To help advance the rights of people with disabilities in the State of Gujarat and nationally. We are supporting a disabled people’s organisation in the state of Gujarat to share best practice and advocate for the inclusion of people with disabilities. These activities are intended to encourage other disabled people’s organisations in their advocacy efforts and influence public decision makers.
Beneficiaries: Some 35,000 people with disabilities in five districts of the State of Gujarat benefit indirectly from the awareness-raising and advocacy activities of disabled people’s organisations.

Related Links