Michele Lunsford

  • published Fighting COVID-19 in News 2020-03-31 14:03:27 -0400

    Fighting Covid-19

    The Covid-19 pandemic has claimed the lives of more than 4.1 million people and infected more than 192 million people globally, with numbers still rising. In the United States alone, there are more than 34.2 million cases cases as of July 23, and more than 610,000 people have died.

    Humanity & Inclusion's field teams have launched their most expansive emergency response in 39 years. Our goal: ensure the people we assist every day—people with disabilities or chronic health conditions, people with injuries, refugees, and especially aging adults—have the support they need to be protected from the virus.

    We know that fair, universal and equitable access to vaccines is essential in stopping the spread of this deadly virus.

    Protecting the most vulnerable

    As Covid-19 continues to take aim at our planet's most vulnerable neighbors, Humanity & Inclusion donors are ensuring that people with disabilities, people with injuries from conflict, children, women, and especially older people have the information—and even the soap products—to stay healthy.

    Donor support has helped launch or adjust more than 170 projects to help more than 2.2 million people we serve and staff keep the virus at bay. These projects also help people during their countries' lock downs. An example of projects include awareness and prevention actions in Algeria, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Colombia, Ethiopia, Haiti, Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Sierra Leone, and other countries.

    Download Humanity & Inclusion's policy paper which includes a summary of our main concerns and recommendations for an inclusive response to Covid-19.

    Help us reach as many people as possible.

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    Hygiene awareness for everyone

    Our teams are providing adapted stay-healthy messages to people with disabilities to ensure they have accurate, accessible information. Other messages are specifically targeted at caregivers. All of our messages are conveyed in a way that ensures that target audiences can understand the message.

    Please support the communities we serve

    Visionary, globally minded donors can help break the spread of Covid-19 abroad. We are so grateful to supporters for stand by the sides of the people we serve as they confront the pandemic.

    They will need your continued support.

    Make a designated gift to our Covid-19 response today.

    Covid-19 interventions, a selection of projects

    Humanity & Inclusion teams are mobilized in most of our organization's 59 countries of intervention to help limit the spread and to fight Covid-19.


    Our logistics team has made two storage areas available for national and international humanitarian organizations, along with a fleet of trucks to move hygiene kits, food, and medical supplies into position. Read more about our work supporting Rohingya refugees during this challenging time.

    We're extremely concerned about refugees living in overcrowded camps. Jean-Loup Gouot, our program director in Bangladesh, explains the risks faced by the most vulnerable, including people with disabilities


    Despite a daunting economic crisis caused by restrictive measures to combat the spread of Covid-19 in Cambodia, Humanity & Inclusion continues providing in-person and virtual rehabilitation care. Read more about how our teams continue to support people with rehabilitation needs.

    Central African Republic

    Humanity & Inclusion's Logistics team in the Central African Republic is storing and transporting medicine and other essential supplies on behalf of other humanitarian communities. Jimmy Müller Baguimala Kobé, a logistics officer for Humanity & Inclusion, offers a glimpse into the challenges facing the team as they deliver life-saving aid during the pandemic and conflict in the region.

    Democratic Republic of the Congo

    In the DRC, our teams are extremely concerned about the lack of health structure in the country and the challenges that come with protecting individuals living in a dense area. In this video, François Madieye-Yaba Fall, Humanity & Inclusion's Director in Democratic Republic of the Congo, explains the impact of COVID-19 on people in the DRC, especially in Kinshasa, the capital.


    Humanity & Inclusion's teams continue to monitor people we support via phone and video, and provide core, stay healthy messages. We are also distributing hygiene kits to people with disabilities and providing psychosocial support to those who need it most. In this video, Lucile Papon, Humanity & Inclusion's Head of Programs in the Middle East, explains the situation in Amman, Jordan and the impact the virus is having on our operations.


    Our team is taking special measures in Madagascar in response to the health emergency. As part of two projects organized with CARE International and funded by the European Union, local relief teams are being trained to convey core prevention messages on the disease and to limit its spread. The teams are staffed by volunteers, including people with disabilities. Read more about our response in Madagascar.


    In Nepal, where confinement is in force, Humanity & Inclusion is working on making prevention messages accessible for people with disabilities, and planning on offering hygiene kits. We will also work on answering questions about food shortages since supply chains are sometimes broken—making it even more difficult for the most vulnerable. In this video, Shrinkhala Khatiwada, Miss Nepal World 2018, urges everyone to ensure inclusion and accessibility while fighting Covid-19.

    In 2021, Nepal continues to battle a second wave of infections that is overwhelming hospitals and resources. Read more about our response in Nepal.


    Covid-19 makes the situation even more difficult for people with disabilities. One example is shared by Angelina Robinson, Humanity & Inclusion's Director in Pakistan. In this video, she tells the story of an HI program participant who could not take her sick child to the hospital due to her disability and the ongoing pandemic.


    In Rwanda, the tension linked to the epidemic have added to the emotional commemorations (April 7) of the 1994 genocide. Humanity & Inclusion, whose continuing activities concern refugee camps, is planning to intervene on inclusive education and psychosocial support. 


    In Somalia, where oral culture dominates, Humanity & Inclusion's team is leaning on our database of several thousand people we've worked with to send prevention messages and offer psychosocial support. 


    In Togo, our teams produce soap and bleach to respond to hygiene issues related to Covid-19. This story goes into more detail.

    Please make a gift today to help support those who need it most.

    Just $30 provides a hygiene kit for a family of 5 for one month.

    Make a gift today.


    *All funds raised through our www.hi-us.org/COVID_donation page will be designated to our Covid-19 response efforts. However, any funds raised beyond the needs of our Covid-19 response will be used to support other vital programs around the world.

  • COVID-19 Response | Adapting our actions to combat the virus and protect the most vulnerable

    Our field teams are changing the ways they work to help slow the spread of COVID-19. This includes reviewing their current actions, while implementing new projects to protect people from the virus. We’re also dealing with the impact of the crisis, focusing on people with disabilities, children, women, as well as isolated and older people.

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    As of March 31, there are 809,600 confirmed coronavirus cases in 179 countries and territories. In the 55 countries where Humanity & Inclusion works, 94% are affected by the pandemic. It is vital to prevent the spread of the virus in Africa, Latin America, South and Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. Despite the small number of officially identified cases in many of these countries, we must act now. 

    Protecting the most vulnerable

    “We are adapting our operations in all countries where this is still possible,” says Fanny Mraz from the Emergency Division at Humanity & Inclusion. “Our first aim is to protect our beneficiaries—those who are among the most vulnerable to this virus. The challenge is to prevent transmission of the virus and meet the basic needs of vulnerable people, so they do not become even more vulnerable and ensure they have access to food, hygiene products and health services.”

    “In line with the situation in the field, we are making these changes in every country. We have placed some projects on standby, adapted others, and launched new ones specifically to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. For the time being, our priority sectors are hygiene, protection, access to livelihoods, psychosocial assistance, and logistics support to humanitarian actors for the transport of humanitarian aid.” 

    Reinforcing 37 existing projects

    Nearly 40 of our projects have adapted their actions to implement (or to prepare) measures in response to the virus, including multiple awareness and prevention actions in Algeria, Bangladesh, Colombia, Ethiopia, Haiti, Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Sierra Leone, and other countries. We have also adjusted our logistics activities and humanitarian assistance in central Africa to include the use of gloves, masks, and hand sanitizing gel, particularly in Rwanda. The number of projects shifting to a COVID-19 response is subject to constant change. 

    Hygiene awareness--for everyone

    Any emergency sanitation and medical responses must be combined with awareness-raising and educational messages. This helps protect everyone and strengthen the impact of the fight against the pandemic. Raising awareness about good hygiene, like washing hands and coughing into elbows, and protection measures is urgently needed to combat COVID-19. Our teams have been trained to protect themselves and provide the people they assist with inclusive prevention information. Learning aids, such as posters, comply with international guidelines on the crisis, as well as accessibility standards.

    “We recommend ways that members of the Humanity & Inclusion team and their beneficiaries can protect themselves when they meet each other. This includes hand washing with soap, the use of hand sanitizing gel, social distancing, and in certain cases, wearing FFP2 masks in health facilities. We face the same problems as people everywhere. It will be just as difficult to get FFP2 masks as it is in Europe, perhaps more so. Other problems will probably include a spike in discrimination and violence based on disability, gender and age, but also towards groups like migrants, displaced people, asylum seekers, refugees and returnees,” Fanny adds.

    Our teams will provide adapted messages to people with disabilities to ensure they have accurate, accessible information. Other messages are specifically targeted at caregivers. All of our messages will be conveyed in a way that ensures the target audience can receive the message. 

    Future actions: an emergency response adapted to COVID-19

    Humanity & Inclusion’s Emergency Division has created a COVID-19 crisis emergency response framework that integrates the need to support pre-determined priority sectors for governments, communities, and individuals in the countries where we work. Where it is not possible to access populations, we will implement a specific response based on the media, digital resources, and internet sites. 

    “Emergency action includes the distribution of hygiene equipment and livelihood assistance. Atlas Logistics, Humanity & Inclusion’s logistics operations unit specialized in supply chains and logistics solutions for other humanitarian aid actors is ready to respond. Atlas Logistics can make its logistics platforms and expertise in analyzing access problems available to the humanitarian community,” says Fanny Mraz. “We should also provide close support to people with intellectual disabilities who can develop specific symptoms—severe stress and anxiety—in these situations. We will also keep a close eye on the stigmatization of people affected by COVID-19, particularly people with disabilities.”

    Securing the resources for action

    Our teams on the ground will require additional resources to combat the COVID-19 crisis. We will need financial support, along with special equipment which is currently in short supply around the world, and in short supply to our local teams.  

    We will do everything we can to protect as many people as possible and help break the spread of COVID-19. We are so grateful to our supporters for standing alongside us as we take on this challenge. But we will need your continued support.

    Make a monthly gift to help us sustain this work and reach as many people as possible.

    Become a monthly donor

  • published Help victims of landmines 2020-03-30 14:59:22 -0400

    Help victims of landmines

    Kanha, 18, walks on her newly-fit prosthetic leg with support from a physical therapist from Humanity & Inclusion in Cambodia.

    Humanity & Inclusion acts and campaign in places where "standing tall" is no easy task

    Over the years, Humanity & Inclusion has evolved into the world's most comprehensive mine action organization, working to prevent accidents through education and clearance, and to support the victims.

    When you support Humanity & Inclusion, you help: 

    • Ensure landmine victims can recover from their injuries both physically and mentally;
    • Clear landmines so that families can live without fear, in safety;
    • Educate the local population, especially children, how to spot, avoid, and report the weapons they find.

    Please help victims of landmines.
    Make a gift today.

    Share our critical, life-saving petition

    Together as a community of compassion, we have the power to shift policies that can save and protect innocent lives. Share our petition with your friends and so they can join you in the fight to end the use of landmines for good.

    Share our Facebook post.
    Retweet our post on Twitter.


  • What we know about COVID-19 and how Humanity & Inclusion teams are responding

    The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed the lives of more than 900,000 people and infected more than 28 million people globally, with numbers still rising. In the United States alone, there are more than 6 million cases cases as of September 10, and more than 190,000 people have died.

    Such suffering is layered with job losses, food insecurity, and unrest. The coronavirus has reached all 61 countries where Humanity & Inclusion works—impacting each of our 2.8 million beneficiaries.

    Humanity & Inclusion donors have fueled a huge COVID-19 emergency response. As of mid-June, they have launched or adapted more than 170 projects to protect people confronting the virus with too few resources, especially those with conflict at their doorsteps. Awareness and prevention activities are helping people in Algeria, Libya, India, Nepal, Sierra Leone, and other countries to learn the practices, and gather the materials, such as soaps, to keep their families safe. 

    Our priority is to make sure that the people we assist every day—people with disabilities or chronic health conditions, people with injuries, refugees, and older people—are not overlooked.

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    What is COVID-19?

    COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a new virus, coronavirus. This new coronavirus first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, and is called COVID-19. COVID-19 is a contagious virus that causes mild to critical respiratory symptoms with fever, cough, and shortness of breath. It can be transmitted through person-to-person contact, though much remains unknown about how it spreads.

    What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

    Symptoms of COVID-19 include respiratory illness with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. In more severe cases, it can cause pneumonia and severe acute respiratory syndrome. At greater risk are people with chronic health conditions and older individuals.

    How can I prevent getting COVID-19?

    The World Health Organization has the following recommendations for the general public to reduce exposure:

    • Frequently wash your hands by using soap and water (for at least 20 seconds), or else use an alcohol-based hand rub
    • Maintain at least 3 feet distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. Note that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention suggests 6 feet.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
    • Stay home if you feel unwell.

    How is Humanity & Inclusion responding to COVID-19?

    Our top priority is the health of our staff and beneficiaries. We’re doing everything we can to provide our teams with information on the protection and health measures to take to protect themselves and the community from the virus. Right now, we count more than 170 new projects that aim to protect our beneficiaries and staff from the virus, and to help them during their countries' lock downs. As COVID-19 takes aim at our planet's most vulnerable neighbors, we're ensuring that people with disabilities, people with injuries from conflict, children, women, and especially older people have the information--and even the soap--to stay healthy.

    How dangerous is COVID-19 for people with disabilities?

    The pandemic is present in all of the countries where we work. The people we assist every day--people with disabilities, people with injuries, refugees and displaced people—have the right to the same protections and precautions. The most vulnerable of the vulnerable, our beneficiaries already experience poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster. The dire situation may prove disastrous for people living in some countries where we work, and more specifically for the very individuals we assist, some of whom live with underlying health conditions, such as diabetes, or the effects of being older. The goal is to provide them with more support than ever.

    Donate to help Humanity & Inclusion ensure that individuals with disabilities are included

    We will do everything we can to protect as many people as possible and help break the spread of COVID-19. We are so grateful to our supporters for standing alongside us as we take on this challenge. But we will need your continued support.

    Make a monthly gift to help us sustain this work and reach as many people as possible.

    Make a monthly gift

    Make a single gift

  • COVID-19 Response | Physical therapists help prevent the spread in vulnerable communities

    Humanity & Inclusion’s teams are making changes to the way they work and assisting at-risk populations in response to the global spread of COVID-19. This will include providing local people with accessible, stay healthy messages, and offering access to physical therapists via WhatsApp. Our emergency rehabilitation expert Pauline Falipou explains:

    “We are particularly concerned about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the most vulnerable people in the countries where we work—Africa, Central and South America, and Asia. We are making changes to our working practices in order to continue providing rehabilitation care, for example, where health conditions allow.

    We are going to make sure that our physical therapists can continue their work organizing rehabilitation sessions for people who need them in countries where the virus ha yet to have a major impact. Our physical therapists will also pass on key messages about health and hygiene measures, such as hand washing, social distancing, etc. As they are in direct contact with the most vulnerable people, they are on the front line—the best place to convey this sort of information.

    In addition, we are setting up a program of rehabilitation videos that patients can watch so that they can continue doing their rehabilitation exercises at home. They can also talk to their HI physical therapist via WhatsApp.

    We also want to make sure patients who have had surgery or who have been infected with the coronavirus, and need to get back on their feet, are able to benefit from rehabilitation sessions in hospitals where hygiene guidelines are followed.

    More broadly, we are very concerned about the impact of the economic crisis COVID-19 is likely to cause, particularly on the health care system and the ability of the most vulnerable people to access rehabilitation services.”

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  • published Yasser: The 12-year-old who lost everything in News 2020-03-27 10:00:17 -0400

    Yasser: The 12-year-old who lost everything

    Yasser was doing his homework with his father on the rooftop of the house in Ta'z when a missile exploded. The next day, the 12-year-old boy came out of a coma at the hospital. His father was killed, his house was destroyed, his left leg was gone. After a month of recovery, Yasser's mother decided to take him to Sana'a to follow the rehabilitation care recommended by Humanity & Inclusion's team. 

    Yasser, who was injured in a bombing in Yemen, learns how to walk on his new prosthetic with support from HI physical therapists.

    Sana, a psychologist with Humanity & Inclusion, recounts the first time meeting Yasser. "Yasser had lost the taste for everything. He no longer spoke. Refused any contact. It was necessary that we help restore his confidence and the desire to live.

    "We took him out of his isolation. He was given a cane that provide better mobility than the crutches he had. He was included in a group with other children his age who were all in the same situation–having to make the same efforts to relearn how to walk. The possibility of an artificial leg gave him the hope of becoming a child again."

    Since 2015, Humanity & Inclusion has provided 4,200 prosthetics and orthotics and 21,000 mobility devices such as wheelchairs, crutches, and walkers, to Yemenis like Yasser. We've also conducted 20,000 rehabilitation and psychosocial support sessions.



    Photo captions: Yasser learns how to walk on his new prosthetic leg with support from physical therapists from Humanity & Inclusion.

  • COVID-19 response | A unique expertise to fight the virus

    Humanity & Inclusion’s teams are assessing its scope for action and plans to use its expertise in emergency situations, working with and for people with disabilities and older people, and its experience of past epidemic situations to protect the most vulnerable.

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    The COVID-19—or coronavirus—epidemic is spreading at a rapid rate in all of the countries where Humanity & Inclusion works. Some countries are reporting their first cases, while others have already experienced an exponential rise in the number of cases and deaths. The spread of the coronavirus threatens to cause major health disasters where we work.

    A unique expertise to fight the virus

    Humanity & Inclusion remains committed to helping those most in need by continuing to assist its beneficiaries wherever possible, without exposing our teams to danger. We are also preparing to adapt our response in the field. We plan to use our expertise in major epidemic situations to help people, particularly those exposed to the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    History of action against epidemics

    In our 38 years, we have responded to other major epidemics, in order to prevent their spread and to protect local communities.


    In 2016, in Sierra Leone, our teams worked to contain the spread of Ebola. As part of our response, our logistics experts managed the country’s only centralized ambulance service to transport patients who were suspected to be infected and disinfected their homes. The ambulance service played a very important role in breaking the chain of transmission. We did this work in a district of Sierra Leone, including the capital Freetown.


    Our teams also helped prevent cholera epidemics in Haiti after the January 2010 earthquake and in 2010 after severe floods in Pakistan. We did social mobilization work and led awareness-raising activities. We also organized informational sessions for vulnerable individuals.

    Determining our scope of action

    Humanity & Inclusion’s experts are examining how best to respond to the current, unprecedented crisis, and how to adapt its resources to this response. We plan to work within the COVID-19 response strategies implemented by national authorities in the countries in question, and by all actors involved in pandemic response.

    Protecting the most vulnerable from COVID-19

    One of our main priorities will be to take into account the needs of vulnerable individuals. This includes people with disabilities, older individuals, and also people living very close to refugee camps who are particularly at risk of rapid spread.

    Weak health systems combined with humanitarian crises increase the vulnerability of people living in the world’s poorest countries. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres sounded the alarm on March 19, when he spoke of the threat posed to the poorest countries faced with the spread of the epidemic. As 15% – 20% of patients on average require hospital care, and 6% intensive care, health systems in these countries will be unable to cope with the crisis alone. 

    Ensuring accessible messaging & an inclusive response

    Humanity & Inclusion will take part in prevention actions and ensure awareness messages are adapted and inclusive for people with disabilities and the most vulnerable. To start, we published a repository of resources on disability inclusion and COVID-19 as a member of the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC) and the CORE Group Disability Inclusive Health Technical Advisory Group.

    We also plan to provide support to our local partners, such as Organizations for People with Disabilities (OPDs or DPOs), and local authorities.

    Securing the resources for action

    Our teams on the ground will require additional resources to combat the COVID-19 crisis. We will need financial support, along with special equipment which is currently in short supply around the world, and in short supply to our local teams.  

    We will do everything we can to protect as many people as possible and help break the spread of COVID-19. We are so grateful to our supporters for standing alongside us as we take on this challenge. But we will need your continued support.

    Make a monthly gift to help us sustain this work and reach as many people as possible.

    Become a monthly donor


    Photo caption: Humanity & Inclusion staff evaluate people who were injured in the 2015 Nepal earthquake.

  • Yemen | Providing support to Yeminis

    The humanitarian situation in Yemen, one of the Arab world's poorest countries, is alarming. Humanity & Inclusion is on the ground helping survivors and ensuring that individuals living in extreme hardships receive vital aid.

    Read the latest facts and figures report from Yemen (January 2020)

    When war comes to cities, civilians need your help. Today, more than ever, your support is essential. Make a gift today.

    Donate now

  • Yemen | “I’m so happy to have a prosthesis!”

    In 2019, 13-year-old Heba was victim to an airstrike in Sada’a, Yemen. Her injuries were so severe that in order for her to survive, her leg had to be amputated.

    "When I woke up from coma two days later, I saw myself without my leg,” Heba says. “I felt so miserable.”

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    Vital rehabilitation care

    At the Al-Thawra hospital in Sana’a, Humanity & Inclusion’s team of rehabilitation experts explained the possibilities of gaining strength through physical therapy and being fit with a prosthesis. Three weeks later, the team took her measures to produce the prosthetic.

    Thanks to our team of physical therapists, Heba benefited from balance exercises, gait training, and strengthening exercises which allows her to walk on her prosthetic leg.

    Standing tall with pride

    She is now able to go up and down the stairs. "Before, I was in bed and I couldn't stand up, walk, or balance," she says. "I’m so happy to have a prosthesis! I want to go back to school. I hope that I can become a pharmacist.”  

    Future dreams

    In the future, Heba dreams of one day purchasing a large piece of land so she can build a pharmacy and distribute free pharmaceuticals to people in need.

  • Lebanon | Five-year-old Syrian refugee sings with pride

    When Abdullah was nine-months-old in November 2014, he was injured in a bombing raid in Syria that killed his father and destroyed his home. His head trauma caused hemiplegia, which affected his concentration and memory. He had problems talking, moving around, and controlling the movement in his left hand. He only spoke in rapid, garbled sentences.

    Support from Humanity & Inclusion

    In August 2018, at four-years-old, his mother took him to the HI-supported Mousawat Rehabilitation Center for the first time. There, Humanity & Inclusion’s rehabilitation team provided him with physical therapy, occupational therapy, psychotherapy, and speech therapy.

    After several months of rehabilitation care, Abdullah is improving in leaps and bounds. He can walk on his own and use his left hand, which was neglected before his rehabilitation. He can also coordinate the movement in both hands. 

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    Singing with pride!

    Following his speech therapy sessions, Abdullah now uses words correctly and expresses himself in complete sentences. “The first time I saw Abdullah, his self-esteem, and self-confidence was very low,” says a psychologist with Humanity & Inclusion. “He has accepted his disability and feels more at ease with himself.” At a recreation session for children and parents, Abdullah surprised everyone when he grabbed the microphone and sang happily and confidently in front of a whole room of people.

    Thriving in school

    Abdullah returned to school last September. "Abdullah's life is changing,” his mother says. “His teachers really like him, and he has made new friends.”

    Assisting his mother

    To help with her son’s rehabilitation, Abdullah's mother now attends consultations and has been given training. She has also joined a self-help group organized by Humanity & Inclusion. "The support group helped me feel less alone and gave me hope. My life is getting better.”

    Changing attitudes toward people with disabilities

    She has also joined a committee set up by parents to advance the rights of people with disabilities. "The neighborhood where we live has problems accepting people with disabilities, which is the main reason why they and their caregivers feel so much frustration. We’re strong enough now to change these negative attitudes," she adds.

  • Mozambique | Humanity & Inclusion’s impact one year after Cyclone Idai

    Cyclone Idai struck Mozambique on March 14, 2019 killing more than 600 people, injuring more than 1,600, and leaving nearly two million in need of humanitarian assistance. 

    Humanity & Inclusion’s donors stepped up, allowing Humanity & Inclusion to help survivors by reinforcing capacity and ensuring that hard-to-reach neighborhoods receive vital aid, distributing non-food items to the most vulnerable households, and providing psychosocial support to those who need it most. Read our update from the six-month mark.

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    Here’s just a snapshot of some of the work our teams have been able to accomplish in the past year.  

    Including preschoolers with disabilities

    Humanity & Inclusion’s team supported the reconstruction of a community-based preschool in Mozambique and added-in an accessible play area. Our team also provided support to local organizations to ensure that the preschool is inclusive for children with disabilities. Children have a higher learning capacity in primary school when they are able to attend a preschool, so not only is this preschool providing that huge benefit, but it also ensures children with disabilities can learn and be independent as they grow, inside and outside the classroom.

    Access to water for all

    Zacarias (pictured below), 88, lost all of his belongings when Cyclone Idai struck his home in Mafarinha, Donda. He had to fetch water from an insecure well, one mile from his home. Humanity & Inclusion's teams are making it easier for people with disabilities, like Zacarias, who has difficulty seeing, to access water. We're providing more access points to water and inclusive sanitation spots in Beira, with support from the Provincial Board of Public Works and Housing of Sofala. Once all of the access points are complete, more than 600 families in Mozambique will benefit from inclusive sanitary facilities!

    Inclusive employment for a single mother

    Cyclone Idai destroyed Dona Lucia’s (pictured below) house where she and her five children lived. A Humanity & Inclusion team member meets with her regularly to provide livelihoods support. Dona Lucia was integrated into a productive social action program and through that project, she started her own business in sales. With support from a local neighborhood project and Humanity & Inclusion, she was able to rebuild her home! Humanity & Inclusion's teams are providing inclusive employment support to other individuals in Mozambique, like Dona Lucia, giving them dignity, independence, and a decent working wage. 

    Humanity & Inclusion in Mozambique

    Since 1986, our teams have been working in Mozambique. In addition to addressing the needs that emerged following Cyclone Idai, our team of 40 work diligently to ensure all children have access to education, support civil society to improve the social inclusion of people with disabilities, and more. Learn more about Humanity & Inclusion's work in Mozambique.

  • Jordan | “Psychosocial therapy is like magic.”

    Abd Alnor’s mother was shaken when he had his first seizure at age two. She rushed him to the hospital where doctors diagnosed him with epilepsy and developmental disabilities.

    At age four, Abd Alnor started to stand upright. His mother took him regularly to rehabilitation sessions. That is, until they had to flee Syria in 2013.

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    The now 11-year-old continues to have difficulty with daily activities, especially fine motor activities such as dressing and moving his hands. After settling in a refugee camp in Jordan, his mother struggled to find affordable rehabilitation services for her son. He didn’t receive treatment for a long period of time and his mother was very concerned about her son’s isolation. “He doesn’t want to interact with other children and can't play with others,” she says.

    Then, Abd Alnor and his mother were introduced to Humanity & Inclusion’s rehabilitation team. 

    Finding accessible services  

    The family lives in a rented basement with Abd Alnor’s three brothers and sisters near the Irbid refugee camp. They use a wheelchair to go outside with Abd Alnor.

    During their rounds, Humanity & Inclusion’s community-based volunteers met the family and informed them about the accessible services at Basma Hospital, Humanity & Inclusion’s partner hospital in Irbid city. With our support, Abd Alnor resumed his therapy.

    It has been a great change for this family as many refugee families often face serious difficulties to access health services.

    Regular physical therapy

    Physical therapy aims to increase power of the trunk muscles in order to be more independent from sitting to standing. The occupational therapist has helped him to become more independent in daily activities such as bathing and dressing.

    The psychosocial worker is helping Abd Alnor interact with people around him and to be able to play with toys. “Abd Alnor now interacts more with others and tries to play with children,” his mother continues. “He doesn’t feel isolated and isn’t ashamed. The effect of psychosocial therapy is like magic.”

    Visible progress

    Abd Alnor is beginning to improve his movement, especially in the transfer from sitting on the floor to standing. Dressing and grooming continue to be difficult for him.

    He now tries to hold the laces of his shoes by himself. He also enjoys playing with the sand in the center with the occupational therapist. He likes building castles in the mud. His mother adds: "I’d like to see my son do it all by himself."

  • Jordan | Fadi gains independence and hope for a better future

    Having an amputation was the hardest decision 48-year-old Fadi had to make. In 2016, he was diagnosed with skin cancer on the right ankle and in order for him to survive, he had to have the life-changing surgery. 

    "At the beginning, I was shocked when the doctors told me that they had to amputate my leg,” he says. “I asked them if there was no better solution.” Fadi’s main concern with having his leg amputated was how he would financially support his family.

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    “After surgery, I was discouraged and downhearted. But, thanks to the support of my relatives, I started to feel better."

    Deeply impoverished after fleeing the Syrian conflict, Fadi, his wife, and five children rent an apartment in a two-floor building in Rusaifa, Zarga Governorate in Jordan.

    Rehabilitation support from Humanity & Inclusion

    Every working day, Humanity & Inclusion’s mobile teams visits Zarqa to help identify people in need of rehabilitation and psychological support. During one of their visits, they met Fadi. It was just days after his surgery.  

    Humanity & Inclusion’s rehabilitation team provided him with mobility equipment and physical therapy sessions so he could gain strength for a prosthesis. A few months later, he was fit with a below-knee silicone prosthesis. He received financial support for transportation from his home to the rehabilitation center. Otherwise, accessing this vital health care would have been nearly impossible for the father.

    Gaining independence

    "Humanity & Inclusion’s team always supports me when I need help with my prosthesis. Before, I always had to ask someone else to go out and get things for me. From now on, I can walk around and use public transportation without assistance.” Today, Fadi can go grocery shopping, to the mosque, and to the hospital for medical check-ups, all on his own.

    Hope for a better future

    He is now looking for a job. "I wish to find a new job to secure an income for my family,” he adds. "I want to support my children to carry on their education to give them a better future."

  • published Peru in Americas 2020-03-05 16:49:21 -0500


    Humanity & Inclusion in Peru

    Humanity & Inclusion launched its first project in Peru in 2018, and prioritizes helping at-risk communities protect themselves from the country’s many natural disasters.

    Although Peru has seen strong economic growth, many people still live in poverty due to high levels of social and economic inequality. Located on the Ring of Fire in the basin area of the Pacific Ocean, the country is subject to strong seismic activity and can experience earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, as well as floods and droughts.

    Peru has welcomed a growing number of Venezuelan refugees, and the humanitarian needs of this population continue to grow.

    Areas of Intervention

    • Disaster risk reduction
    • Inclusive humanitarian action

    Because the country is prone to natural disasters, Humanity & Inclusion's 13-member team works to improve the protection and resilience of older people, people with disabilities, indigenous communities and women in case of emergency. Our team promotes the inclusion of organizations run by and for people with disabilities in the development and implementation of adaptation and natural disaster risk response strategies. To achieve this, the organization works with local and national actors and helps disseminate best practices. 

    Humanity & Inclusion also assists Venezuelan refugees living in Peru as well as host communities. Our staff improves access to services for refugees, distributes hygiene and food kits, refers people to protection services and trains humanitarian organizations on ensuring their humanitarian activities are inclusive. The organization also provides physical rehabilitation services to refugees with disabilities.

    Donate today

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  • Humanity & Inclusion donors on why they give

    From donors who have been with us since the beginning, to brand new donors, we are grateful—and proud!—to have so many individuals ensuring that we can act where the need is greatest, and in support of people who are so often excluded. Every gift makes a difference in the lives of people with disabilities. 

    Here are the stories of some of our donors who make this work possible.

    A decade of difference

    Loyal donors Phyllis Taylor and her husband, Dick, have supported Humanity & Inclusion since 2007! They’ve seen Humanity & Inclusion expand programs to 60+ countries and have helped our teams help more than 2 million individuals with care in 2018. Learn more about Phyllis and why she's so passionate about helping vulnerable populations.

    Upholding a promise

    In the summer of 2017, we welcomed Anna Custis, a bright, eager U.S. International Council on Disabilities (USICD) fellow. She also happens to be a woman who is hard of hearing. While in college, Anna made a promise to herself that once she got a job, she would become a monthly donor. Learn more about Anna, 24, and what motivates her to give to Humanity & Inclusion on a regular basis.

    A sustainable effort

    In April 2015, when a devastating earthquake struck Nepal, Gina Febbraro and Ajay Kapoor decided to act. After doing a lot of research, and reading Humanity & the stories of our beneficiaries, like Nirmala, they decided to support Humanity & Inclusion. Learn more about this couple's journey and why they continue to support Humanity & Inclusion to this very day.

    Become a monthly donorThese stories were originally featured in our donor newsletter, The Next Step

    The Next Step features top news and stories of impact from Humanity & Inclusion's projects around the world. Check out the digital version and find out how you can receive your very own copy.

    We love to feature our donors. Tell us what motivates you to give!
    Email us at [email protected] or simply give us a call on +1 (301) 891-2138.

  • published Upholding a promise in News 2020-03-04 10:34:33 -0500

    Donor spotlight | Upholding a promise

    Every year, Humanity & Inclusion’s office in the U.S. opens its doors to aspiring professionals who want to further their experience working in the international disability community through a variety of fellowships. In the summer of 2017, we welcomed Anna Custis, a bright, eager U.S. International Council on Disabilities (USICD) fellow. She also happens to be a woman who is hard of hearing.

    During her fellowship, Anna (then age 21) was particularly interested in our health and rehabilitation work. It makes perfect sense, as today, she works as a vocational rehabilitation technician with the Florida Department of Vocational Rehabilitation in Melbourne, Florida. 

    “I’ve seen firsthand the amount of work and resources that go into rehabilitation, and I’ve also seen the impact it can have on peoples’ lives,” Anna says. “From the freedom to move around, to being able to pursue school or finally earn your own money, rehabilitation can really be the catalyst to helping people achieve their goals.” 

    Anna Custis' photo with her quote: I told myself that once I get a job, I’ll be able to sign up to become  a monthly donor.

    Since 1982, in aid of Cambodians, rehabilitation projects have formed a key part of Humanity & Inclusion’s work. During the early years, our core activity was providing rehabilitation care and artificial limbs to landmine victims and refugees, enabling them to regain mobility and dignity. Today, our rehabilitation work covers a wider range of activities from short-term solutions like providing equipment and physical therapy, to more sustainable solutions such as training rehabilitation professionals, building rehabilitation centers and establishing or supporting rehabilitation professional networks.

    Anna was so inspired by this work during her fellowship that she wanted to do more. But like many of us during our college years, she wasn’t able to make a donation—just yet. So, she selected Humanity & Inclusion as the charity to receive donations through AmazonSmile, a website run by Amazon that donates to a charity of your choosing every time you make an Amazon purchase. Each time she purchased school supplies, Humanity & Inclusion received a portion of the funds.

    “I told myself that once I get a job, I’ll be able to sign up to become a monthly donor for Humanity & Inclusion,” Anna continues. “I got my job last June, was able to save some money, and now I finally have the opportunity to uphold the promise I made to myself!

    “The way Humanity & Inclusion cultivates its relationship with donors is different from what I see from other big organizations. There are no super emotionally-driven ads or shock-pieces. That, to be honest, sometimes feel like the purpose is to guilt people into donating. To me, Humanity & Inclusion feels more genuine and relationship-driven compared to their counterparts.”

    Anna joins our dedicated group of First Responders—regular donors whose support helps ensure that people with disabilities can live dignified, independent lives. Anna, and other monthly donors like her, make it possible for Humanity & Inclusion’s teams to respond in places where vulnerable individuals need it most. Thanks to regular, dependable donations, Humanity & Inclusion teams in nearly 60 countries provided support to more than 2.1 million beneficiaries in 2018. We can’t wait to see what we do together in 2020 and beyond!

    This story was originally featured in the Spring 2020 edition of The Next Step

    The Next Step features top news and stories of impact from Humanity & Inclusion's projects around the world. Check out the digital version and find out how you can receive your very own copy.

    We love to feature our donors. Tell us what motivates you to give! Email us at [email protected] or simply give us a call on (301) 891-2138

  • South Sudan | Humanity & Inclusion’s emergency mobile teams assist vulnerable displaced people

    Since 2013, the crisis in South Sudan has forced millions of people to flee their homes. Several thousand South Sudanese caught between fighting and famine have fled the country, while 1.9 million internally displaced people have taken refuge in camps around Juba, the capital, and in more isolated regions of the country. Most are women, children, and older people, including people with disabilities.

    Become a monthly donor

    Humanity & Inclusion has deployed emergency mobile teams to assist the most vulnerable individuals. They provide rehabilitation and psychosocial support to people in conflict-affected areas. The teams consist of specialists who provide technical and material support to rehabilitation centers in remote and isolated areas and directly care for people with disabilities by providing them with rehabilitation and orthopedic-fitting sessions.

    Steven Lavour, a rehabilitation health worker with Humanity & Inclusion, is a member of the Juba mobile team. He is providing support to Isaac Ramadan, a physical therapist from the rehabilitation center in the city of Yei. He is also responsible for supplying the center with mobility aids.

    Growing mobility needs

    “A lot of people in Yei need wheelchairs, crutches, and prostheses,” explains Steven. “Unfortunately, we cannot keep up with the rapidly growing demand. Many people are currently waiting to be fit with an orthopedic device or to receive a mobility aid. People who have fled the Yei region during the crisis are now returning. The challenge for Humanity & Inclusion will be to respond to this rise in demand. It will be several months before we receive and distribute the orthopedic devices, which are being made in Kenya.”

    Conflict in South Sudan

    In fact, for several months, hope has returned to the South Sudanese as the peace agreement signed in September 2018 begins to take effect, with a de-escalation in tensions and a reduction in conflicts. Displaced people and refugees in the camps are planning to return to their villages or have already begun to do so.

    Humanity & Inclusion’s mobile teams have also set up discussion groups for members of the community in order to assess their needs, along with information sessions on disability prevention measures and community-based rehabilitation.

    Humanity & Inclusion in South Sudan

    Our teams have been operating in South Sudan since 2006, working to improve protection, quality of life, and the promotion of rights of vulnerable populations. Since December 2013, South Sudan has been undergoing a political crisis, which has resulted in fighting and massive population movements. The number of internally displaced people has reached 4.3 million and some 1.6 million South Sudanese—63% of which are children—have fled to other countries in desperate need of aid. Our team is on the ground, contributing to the urgent humanitarian response. Learn more about Humanity & Inclusion's work in South Sudan.

  • Democratic Republic of the Congo | Philémon gains confidence through psychosocial support

    “Philémon, my son, was ten years old at the time,” says Véronique as she recalls the day of her son's accident. “He was walking home from school. He was a hundred yards or so from the house where 13 of us live. The traffic is terrible in Goma. A truck loaded with stones missed Philémon by inches, then tipped over and crushed his leg.

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    “The neighbors ran to tell us. I couldn't believe it. I was in a total panic when I got to the hospital. My son was in intensive care. When I finally got to see him, the doctors had already amputated his right leg. It was like a nightmare.”

    Véronique and her husband Jean-Pierre live in Goma, the capital of North Kivu province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a region torn apart by more than two decades of conflict. The couple live in a small home along with their 11 children.

    After Philémon’s accident, he had to stay in hospital for three months, and endured three operations. "His leg was swollen, and he wanted to die,” his mother continues. “He was so depressed. It was torture seeing him like that. When he came home, we would often find him sitting in a corner, crying.”

    Gaining strength

    Humanity & Inclusion’s rehabilitation team met Philémon and gave him a pair of crutches. We then started providing him with physical therapy sessions three times a week at a Goma provincial hospital.

    “His stump is in a good condition,” explains Noela, a physical therapist with Humanity & Inclusion. “But after the accident, they had to amputate the whole leg. He’s going to have to wear a special belt around his waist so his prosthesis stays on. At the moment, Philémon is doing exercises to strengthen the stump and make it more flexible.”

    Rebuilding confidence

    To help boost his confidence, Philémon also attends psychosocial support sessions with Brigitte, a psychologist from Humanity & Inclusion. “He is participating in psychosocial sessions," Brigitte says. "He plays and expresses he feelings, but it’s not easy. Philémon is still very fragile and very withdrawn. He used to have a lot of friends. Now it's more complicated. At school, he is the only child with a disability out of more than a thousand students. It is still difficult.”

    When Humanity & Inclusion’s team asks Philémon what he wants to do when he grows up, he hesitates, then whispers that he likes cars and mechanics. His father adds, “I'm dreaming a little, but I'd like him to be an entrepreneur.”  

  • Afghanistan | Landmine victim gains strength and independence

    "Six years ago, I stepped on a landmine in my vineyard," Hazrat explains. The young man was only 19 years old and was about to begin a day of work with his father and brother when a landmine devastated his life. On that day, he lost both of his legs.

    Following this tragedy, his family preferred to leave their native village in Afghanistan, but decided to stay in the same district of Panjwai—a region where insecurity is widespread. There, they have very limited access to health services and a poor transport system. This is one of the reasons why in the last five years, Hazrat has not received any rehabilitation care—including the use of a wheelchair.

    Gaining strength through rehabilitation care

    Everything changed in 2019 when Hazrat met Humanity & Inclusion’s mobile emergency team. Since then, the young man has been regularly followed in his village, located nearly 50 miles from the Kandahar Physical Rehabilitation Center, which is run by Humanity & Inclusion. The mobile team goes directly to his home where they provide him with rehabilitation care, treatments, advice to compensate for his muscle weakness, as well as, psychosocial support.

    A new, fitted wheelchair = independence 

    Hazrat is most excited about how much his life has changed since receiving his new wheelchair and learning how to use it. "Before, I couldn't move at all,” he continues. “My parents carried me from one place to another inside my home. I couldn't go outside and visit my neighbors and sisters. I am now in the position to do so. I am free and happier.”

    Finding independence and success 

    "We were very worried about Hazrat and his future," his father says. "We came to consider him as a burden because he always needed someone to help him in every movement. He couldn't move alone and go to the bathroom or outdoors. He always had to be assisted by someone in the family. Now everything has really changed. We are less worried because he is independent and because he is also thinking again about his future. He's going to go to school to study and he can succeed!"

    Urgent: Demand the U.S. to change its landmine policy

    On January 31, the Trump Administration announced a roll-back of its landmine policy, effectively allowing the U.S. to resume the use of antipersonnel landmines—a weapon the U.S. hasn't used in decades, and one that's banned by 164 other countries.

    We are devastated. Our executive director, Jeff Meer told the Associated Press that it's "a death sentence for civilians." 

    Demand the U.S. join the Mine Ban Treaty. Sign our petition NOW.

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