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North Korea

Humanity & Inclusion has been working in this country for the past 19 years. Its goals are to support the inclusion of children with disabilities in education, provide access to rehabilitation and orthopedic fitting services, and promote the rights of people with disabilities.

A woman wearing a pink polo and purple pants sits on a turquoise stool and is being fitted for a prosthetic leg by two men wearing white coats and white hats, kneeling besides her in a physical therapy room.

A woman receiving a fitting for an artificial limb at a rehabilitation center. | © Myriam Abord / HI

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Although the country is politically isolated, Humanity & Inclusion has been working in North Korea since 1998. Today, the organization runs projects in Pyongyang and six provinces. Its spheres of action are to ensure children with disabilities have access to education, to improve rehabilitation services, to support the inclusion of people with disabilities in society and to reduce the risk of natural disasters while taking into account people with disabilities.

Humanity & Inclusion’s work in the country began when the Korean Federation for the Protection of the requested help in developing its operations. The goal was to improve the aid provided to people with disabilities in a country that has long been isolated. Today, the organization continues to support this federation in its efforts to provide quality services to people living with disabilities and build an effective network, campaigning for the recognition of disability rights. In 2003, Humanity & Inclusion supported the adoption of the Law on Protection of People.

Furthermore, in order to enhance children’s access to education, Humanity & Inclusion helps improve the living conditions of children with visual disabilities in Humhung Blind School.

In order to improve rehabilitation services, it also offers direct support to a number of orthopedic fitting centers, hospitals and clinics. The aid provided varies according to the need: it may involve renovating premises, training physical therapists and orthopedic technicians or supplying equipment and consumables. In addition, the organization of mobile camps has made it possible to extend provision of rehabilitation services to remote regions. Lastly, Humanity & Inclusion aims to ensure people with disabilities are taken into account in natural disaster risk reduction activities, particularly by providing training and raising the awareness of the relevant authorities (SCEDM – State commission on the management of emergencies and disasters). The organization has also implemented a project in a school to make students aware of the risk from natural disasters. Disaster risk education activities are implemented in five communities and three schools in the provinces of North Hwanghae and South Hamgyong.

Areas of intervention


An isolated country with a highly vulnerable population.

At the end of the Korean War in 1953, the Korean peninsula was divided into two states: the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) and the Republic of Korea (South Korea).

Since the significant support provided by countries in Eastern Europe came to an end, the country has been even more isolated and the everyday lives of the North Korean population are in crisis, both from a social and a health perspective. A shortage of medicines, energy supplies and a chronic lack of infrastructure make this one of the poorest countries in Asia.

Number of HI staff members: 10 (and four staff members based in Beijing also working for the China program).

Where we work

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