HI launched its first operation in India in 1988, providing technical support to a community-based rehabilitation center in Pondicherry, southern India. After launching an emergency response to the Gujarat earthquake in 2001, the organization developed a more permanent structure in India.
Rukiya was injured in a house fire. She received a prosthesis and physiotherapy from HI, and can now walk again. | © D. Van Ophalvens / HI
For now, HI is part of IFRA (Indian Forum on Rehabilitation for All) an informal network. This network is mainly to influence the government of India to improve the quality of rehabilitation services and to advocate the need for proposing a resolution on rehabilitation to World Health Organization.
HI has established itself as a disaster risk reduction actor with technical expertise on disability inclusive processes and tools. In the states of intervention, working with state governments, local and international NGOs and organizations of persons with disabilities.
Currently, HI is working on opening up private sector employment opportunities for people with disabilities (Technical Assistance to MICHELIN). HI is supporting organizations IDEA and SAKSHAM for a study is aiming at identifying the aspirations of persons with disabilities aged 15–40 years in terms of their career choices, expected remuneration, and preferred job location.
India is considered one of the fastest growing economies if the world. However, it continues to face socio-economic challenges. 21.9 % of its population lives below poverty line and, if the country is categorized as a low middle-income country, according to the World Bank, India accounted for the world's largest number of poor people in 2012 using revised methodology to measure poverty, reflecting its massive population.
There are numerous forms of discrimination and social exclusion prevalent in India, notably against women, people from the lowest casts, of different cultures, and from isolated rural zones. People with disabilities are subject to multiple forms of discrimination and are ill-informed about the available social welfare systems. Women are undervalued and experience injustice, particularly when accessing services and the jobs market.
Last, the country is highly exposed to natural disasters such as droughts, cyclones, flooding and landslides.
Number of HI staff members: 4
Date the program launched: 1988