Kenya: Permanent emergency in world’s largest refugee camp


Handicap International launched an emergency response in eastern Kenya to support a massive influx of refugees from Somalia in 2011. Fleeing drought and famine in the Horn of Africa, hundreds of thousands of people settled in the Dadaab camp, the world's largest refugee camp, with a population of 450,000 people.

Handicap International has more than a decade of experience in Dadaab. Mobile teams work to identify people with disabilities, direct them to existing basic services, and make sure they are receiving the support and aid they need. At the height of the crisis, teams set up three Disability and Vulnerability Focal Points to provide people with rehabilitation care and advice, and served as locations for distributing crutches and wheelchairs, and doing practical exercises.

To ensure the future needs of refugees are met, Handicap International has trained refugees to conduct physical therapy sessions and home visits. Teams also work with other humanitarian organizations in Dadaab to teach them about the rights and needs of people with disabilities, and to provide them with technical support so their programs can better include people with disabilities. This includes ensuring bathrooms and water points, for instance, are accessible to people in wheelchairs.

Additionally, staff combat violence directed at people with disabilities by recording incidents and providing victims with legal, psychological, and medical follow-up.

Handicap International remains committed to the welfare of children with disabilities, and organizes fun activities for them, such as building with Legos, completing puzzles, or putting objects in a bucket to promote their psycho-motor development.

In 2015, Handicap International provided assistance to 12,000 people in Dadaab.