On the first anniversary of the Nepal earthquakes, International Development Secretary Justine Greening has announced that the UK will match public donations to a new appeal to help thousands of people living with disabilities to access rehabilitation services and get back into education and jobs.
The earthquakes in Nepal left many injured or disabled and put enormous pressure on health services, with large numbers of facilities left destroyed or damaged. From now until 18th July, the UK government will match public donations to Handicap International’s ‘Every Step Counts’ appeal pound for pound.
International Development Secretary Justine Greening said:
“Natural disasters and war are terrible experiences for anyone to live through and then get their lives back on track. But for those disabled by injury or disease it can be so much more difficult. By doubling donations to Handicap International’s ‘Every Step Counts’ appeal, we will reach thousands of people living with disabilities in Nepal and the Democratic Republic of Congo with rehabilitation support and jobs training. This means people will have the chance to become active members of their community again and help create a better future for their country.”
Aleema Shivji of Handicap International UK said:
“We are delighted to have this amazing opportunity to double the impact of our support for people with disabilities in Nepal and other crisis-affected countries. All too often, disabled people are isolated or excluded, meaning they become invisible or forgotten in their communities. Together, we can ensure that disabled people are not left behind.”
Handicap International’s earthquake response
When the first earthquake struck Nepal, Handicap International teams immediately set to work to provide treatment to earthquake victims. Hospitals were quickly overwhelmed by the disaster. To prevent the development of permanent disabilities, many of the injured needed emergency rehabilitation care.
In the last year, Handicap International has provided 6,231 injured survivors with physiotherapy, delivering more than 16,000 rehabilitation and psychological support sessions. It also distributed 4,700 mobility aids such as crutches, walking frames and wheelchairs.
About physical rehabilitation
For people with disabilities and those injured as a result of natural disasters or war, physical rehabilitation is the first step towards regaining independence. It gives disabled people the opportunity to be self-sufficient, enabling them to go to school, work, and be included in the community.
Sadly in many countries, including Nepal, disabled and injured people struggle to access the care they need and can easily find themselves excluded and forgotten.
Unmet rehabilitation needs can delay discharge from hospital, limit everyday activities, cause deterioration in health, increase dependency on others, and decrease quality of life. The negative outcomes can have broad social and financial implications for individuals, families and communities. Yet, in some of the poorest countries of the world, rehabilitation services are often insufficiently funded, or do not exist at all, especially in rural and remote areas.
Trapped under the rubble, Ramesh lost both legs
18-year-old Ramesh Kitra was trapped under rubble for almost 72 hours. After eventually being pulled free he was rushed to Bir hospital in Kathmandu. He kept his badly damaged legs for almost five days before the decision was made to have them both amputated.
Ramesh said: “I just had to accept this new life I have been given without my legs. It’s not been easy but I’m really trying to start again and adapt to my new life.”
About the appeal
- Handicap International’s Every Step Counts appeal aims to raise essential funds to help disabled and injured people walk again by supporting sustainable rehabilitation care in countries that need it most.
- From now until 18th July, every pound donated to support people with disabilities will be doubled by the UK government, enabling twice as many disabled children to walk again.
- Donations to the Every Step Counts appeal will go to countries where Handicap International provides disabled people with essential rehabilitation care, including Nepal, Jordan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
- The matched funding provided by the UK government will support rehabilitation projects in Nepal and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
How to donate to the appeal
- Online: www.everystepcounts.org.uk
- Over the phone: 0870 774 3737
- By post: Handicap International UK, Every Step Counts appeal, 9 Rushworth Street, London SE1 0RB
Photographs and case studies available
Photographer Alison Baskerville recently visited Nepal to meet young survivors of the earthquake who had lost limbs in the disaster. Ramesh Kitra’s photo story is available to download from Dropbox: http://bit.ly/1Tn5OP1
A larger selection of photographs and case studies are available for media use – please contact our press team.
About Handicap International
Co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Handicap International is an independent charity working in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster. We work tirelessly alongside disabled and vulnerable people to help meet their basic needs, improve their living conditions and promote respect for their dignity and fundamental rights.