Michele Lunsford

  • published Landmine victim to US: ban landmines! in News 2020-02-13 16:41:59 -0500

    Landmine victim to US: ban landmines!

    On Thursday, February 13, 2020 in Geneva, under the Broken Chair—a monument symbolic of the barbarity of mines, Humanity & Inclusion joined landmine survivor, Gniep Smoeun, to call on States Parties to the Ottawa Treaty to pressure the U.S. to reverse their deadly landmine policy shift.

    “I was ten years old when I jumped on an anti-personnel mine in Cambodia," Gniep says as she addressed the public in front of the Palais des Nations in Geneva. "This mine took everything from me: my leg, my childhood dreams.” Gniep was one of Humanity & Inclusion's first beneficiaries from the 1980s. She was fitted with a prosthetic in the Kao I Dang camp located on the border between Cambodia and Thailand.

    On January 31, the Trump Administration effectively committed the U.S. to resume the use, development, and stockpiling of antipersonnel landmines.

    "On behalf of all mine victims around the world, I call for a the international community to push back at the Trump administration and demand the abandonment of this policy that will cause death and suffering."

    Barbaric weapon from another time

    Presented today by the Trump government as "an important tool," it is, however, a weapon that is designed to injure or kill. In 1997, the adoption of the Mine Ban Treaty marked a real victory against these indiscriminate weapons.

    “We thought we had almost won with the signing of the Ottawa Treaty, and then the drastic reduction in the number of victims year after year," Gniep continues. "After all these efforts, the mines had really become 'outlaws,' but today all this is called into question!"

    This decision by the American government reasons like a thunderbolt for the thousands of victims and the hundreds of NGOs which, like Humanity & Inclusion, have campaigned for the ban on this weapon. The United States was one of the few countries that has not yet joined the Mine Ban Treaty. However, for almost 30 years, the country has abstained from using them.

    Fears that trade of landmines will return

    Among the 6,897 victims counted in 2018, only 332 people were victims of so-called conventional mines. The other counted victims were injured or killed by “artisanal” or improvised mines.

    “The market was dry, the mines were no longer sold," said Emmanuel Sauvage, Humanity & Inclusion's Violence Reduction Officer. "With their new so-called 'smart' mines, the Trump government is making an irresponsible decision that could kick-start the market for these cowardly weapons and reach new victims."

    Humanity & Inclusion and Gniep Smoeun call on Signatory States to the Ottawa Treaty to use all their weight to push back on the Trump Administration. Their appeal is launched on the occasion of the 23rd international meeting of directors of national mine action programs taking place this week at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

    The Ottawa Treaty prohibits the acquisition, production, stockpiling and use of anti-personnel mines. It was opened for signature on December 3, 1997 and entered into force on March 1, 1999. 164 States are parties to the Treaty, or 80% of the nations of the world. The annual number of victims identified has been divided by ten in 15 years. In the early 1990s, the world tallied 30,000 victims, compared to 6,897 in 2018. Since the entry into force of the treaty in 1999, at least 2,200 km² of mined land has been cleared and States have destroyed 54 million stockpiled landmines. Mines still terrorize civilians in 60 states and territories, where mine contamination and explosive remnants of war lurk. Since 2014, the multiplication of conflicts has seen the use of mines increase.

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

    Decades of campaigning to protect civilians

    Humanity & Inclusion was created in 1982 in response to the horrific landmine injuries suffered by Cambodian refugees. Soon, we realized that action needed to be taken at an international level to ban these indiscriminate weapons.

    Humanity & Inclusion played a key role in founding the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, for which we were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, following the signing of the Mine Ban Treaty in 1997.

    We are a founding member of the Cluster Munition Coalition, and we actively support the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which came into force on August 1, 2010.

    Humanity & Inclusion is also a founder and coordinating member of the annual Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor, which monitors these two international treaties and produces annual reports on their implementation. And we are a founding member of the International Network on Explosive Weapons.


  • Statement | Hundreds of thousands in northwest Syria caught in humanitarian catastrophe

    February 05, 2020
    Contact: Michele Lunsford
    8143863853

    Logos of the 8 aid agencies: International Rescue Committee, CARE International, World Vision, Save the Children, Mercy Corps, People in Need, Humanity & Inclusion, and NRCAs hostilities continue to escalate in northwest Syria, eight aid agencies are today making an urgent call for an immediate ceasefire as they warn that hundreds of thousands of people—the majority of them women and children—are fleeing the unrelenting violence are caught in a humanitarian catastrophe.

    At least 150,000 people have been forced to flee their homes in the past two weeks, bringing the total number who have been displaced since December 1 to more than half a million.

    David Miliband, CEO, International Rescue Committee

    “In the past two months, close to 300 civilians have been killed as a result of the intensifying hostilities in northwest Syria. If this violence continues, up to 800,000 people currently in the firing line will be left with few options for safety.

    “In addition to civilians themselves, civilian infrastructure continues to come under attack – a hallmark of the Age of Impunity. In the past two weeks, two hospitals have been hit by airstrikes, with reports that several patients and medical staff were injured. One of the ambulances we support was damaged and put out of action for over a week, and we have had to relocate an entire fleet of IRC-supported ambulances as a result of the intensity of the fighting. The IRC is urgently calling for an end to the violence and for those responsible for violations of international humanitarian law to be held accountable. One such opportunity is through the UN Board of Inquiry into attacks on civilian infrastructure in northwest Syria, whose findings should be made public, and those responsible identified and held to account." 

    Michelle Nunn, President and CEO, CARE USA

    “In 2019 alone, there were 85 attacks on healthcare facilities in Northern Syria. The first month of 2020 has seen this appalling trend continue. Escalation of fighting and attacks on healthcare have forced hundreds of thousands of Syrians to flee for their lives with their families, in order to find safety.

    “After multiple attacks on hospitals in Idlib, our maternity and pediatric hospital became the only functioning medical facility for miles around. It has been overwhelmed with women and children seeking urgent medical assistance. Sadly, we had to suspend the provision of emergency medical care and evacuate patients and staff from the facility, after a nearby hospital was hit by several airstrikes a few days ago. There is an urgent need for critical health support for pregnant women, mothers and newborn babies in northwest Syria. The effects of this conflict have been devastating on the civilian population. Women and children, in particular, are at risk and need immediate protection and lifesaving services.”

    Inger Ashing, CEO, Save the Children

    “Children in northwest Syria are terrified. They see bombs and shells falling on a daily basis. Their lives have already been torn apart by years of conflict having witnessed their homes, schools and hospitals destroyed and their loved ones killed before their eyes. Now, all they are trying to do is escape the violence as their lives are being thrown into turmoil once again. Parties to the conflict need to respect international humanitarian law and international human rights law and spare the children and the civilians the brunt of the conflict.”

    Jan Egeland, Secretary General, NRC

    "Tens of thousands of Syrian families are sheltering along the Turkish border as a result of the military offensive by the government of Syria and its allies. Camps are hosting five times their intended occupancy and rental prices have skyrocketed in towns in the north west. Turkey has generously hosted millions of refugees from Syria over the years, this is clear. But the fighting is squeezing people further and further north and at the moment they have nowhere else to go. We are calling on Turkey to let these terrified families seek safety either across the border or in areas Turkey controls in Syria. Turkey cannot be expected to take on the responsibility of accepting more refugees alone. NRC calls on the international community to urgently step up and provide significant additional support."

    Andrew Morley, President and CEO, World Vision International

    “The conditions people are being forced to endure in Idlib are dire. Since April last year, close to 900,000 people have been newly displaced. The exodus of people is staggering, and tens of thousands more are joining them every day. Children are sleeping in flooded fields with no running water or proper protection from the elements. We’ve provided blankets, heaters and cash, but people have no money to buy fuel and have told us that they are now burning clothes and trash to keep warm. It is bitterly cold in Syria at the moment, and families are resorting to ever more desperate measures to protect their children and ensure that they survive the winter.”

    Kieren Barnes, Country Director, Syria, Mercy Corps

    "We know the decision to flee is often a last-minute one, and it's forcing families into the winter, with little or no support, and our teams are barely able to keep up with waves of people who are escaping the violence."

    Bahia Zrikem, Humanity & Inclusion

    “In the past, people were able to rent accommodation from local people who opened their homes to them, but this is becoming more and more difficult as there are simply more people than homes available and conditions are becoming increasingly desperate. Many of those who have fled are sleeping in their cars or camping by the side of the road because there is simply nowhere else for them to go. They urgently need assistance. They need food, shelter, fuel to keep warm and many are in need of health care, especially elderly and persons with disabilities. With thousands more vulnerable people set to arrive in the coming days the needs will only continue to grow and it will become ever more difficult to meet them.”

    To prevent this catastrophic situation from deteriorating further, the International Rescue Committee, CARE, Save the Children, NRC, World Vision International, Mercy Corps, Humanity & Inclusion and People in Need are calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities in addition to immediate access to safety for the millions of civilians currently under fire.

    The international community must condemn this ongoing violence and commit to holding those responsible for violating International Humanitarian Law to account. After nine long years of suffering for Syrian civilians, a peaceful solution to this conflict is now more urgent than it ever has been.             

    End of statement

    To arrange interviews please contact:              

    International Rescue Committee
    Kirsty Cameron
    E: [email protected]
    M: +962 775 402 255
    WhatsApp: +44 7922 041 198

    CARE International
    Fatima Azzeh
    E: [email protected]
    M: +962 79 711 7414
    Skype: fatima.azzeh

    World Vision
    Elias Abu Ata
    E: [email protected]
    M: +962 775 446 556  
    Skype: elias.abuata

    Save the Children
    Joelle Bassoul
    E: [email protected]
    M: +961 8160 006 96

    NRC
    Karl Schembri
    E: [email protected]
    M: +962 790 220 159

    Mercy Corps
    Wilf Dinnick
    E: [email protected]
    M: + 962 7 7548 8223
    Skype: WilfDinnick

    Humanity & Inclusion
    Bahia Zrikem
    M: +962780613603
    E: [email protected]

    People in Need
    Tomas Kocian
    E: [email protected]
    M: +420 777 787 970

    Notes to Editors:

    The IRC has been delivering aid in Syria since 2012, and last year the IRC and partners delivered services to over a million people in the country. In northwest Syria, the IRC and partners are providing healthcare, cash, and other vital services to thousands of people displaced by the recent escalation in violence.

    Experiences of those who have recently fled their homes:

    Ahmad*: "Thank God my children and I are able to take shelter in a cellar and under a roof. Many people who fled their homes could not find a home and do not have a tent to install themselves somewhere. Many displaced families are sharing their acquaintances and relatives are sharing their homes in northern Idleb and Aleppo countryside. Also, I saw many families spending the night in their own cars to continue their journey in the morning and keep looking for somewhere safe to protect their families. I also heard of many cases where people have spent the night in the wild. The situation in Idlib and the countryside is beyond imagination and things are getting worse every day. The sounds of shelling and airstrikes are really horrifying even when they hit in a remote area. I do not know what is going to happen next but I can say things are getting worse and it does not seem things will be better soon. The worst thing one can imagine is to leave home."

    Hadil* who fled Maarat an Numan: “There was relentless bombing, and soldiers were closing in on the village, so we were forced to leave the house. We had to walk a long distance before we arrived here safely. The situation was very bad when we fled. There were continuous bombing and warplanes flying over us. The roads were being targeted, shells fell where we were walking. We stopped during the day and resumed by night. We took only what was necessary. We left all our belongings behind. I only wanted my children to be safe. We’ve been here for 20 days and we live with my cousin. He has an unfinished building that my four children and I share with my in-laws. That’s 12 other families. I can’t begin to describe how difficult it is to live with that many people. There is a lot of tension all the time.”

    Farrah*: “Things are very expensive. Tea, sugar, rice, everything is very expensive… even bread … we cannot afford to eat, we struggle to find money to buy food everyday. Being displaced has ruined us. I don’t want to buy meat or tomatoes, I only want to prevent my children from starving…We no longer even dream of buying tomatoes and meat… Yesterday our neighbors thankfully gave us a pound of rice.. we cook whatever people can give us… I have not bought vegetables for quite some time, I only buy cheap things, like parsley, that’s it…but a chicken for example today costs 3000 SYP. It’s impossible for us to buy one…we need to be frugal to survive.”

    *Name has been changed to protect identity


  • Philippines | Volcano eruption: Humanity & Inclusion assesses the needs of those affected

    Center dunes and burnt trees, the Taal volcano eruption on January 12 left a desolate landscape on Taal Island. Alert level 4 is still in effect: a new eruption could occur in the hours or days to come.

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    Residents of the island and neighboring areas, threatened by the volcano, had to evacuate. According to the Ministry of Social Protection and Development, more than 71,000 families (more than 280,000 people) have been affected. Among them, more than 39,000 families are temporarily sheltered in more than 490 evacuation centers.

    Humanity & Inclusion’s team in the Philippines is assessing the needs of populations affected by the volcanic eruption in the Batangas and Cavite areas. According to our staff, people with disabilities and vulnerable individuals have not gone to the evacuation centers and are staying with relatives or friends. They therefore do not have access to basic services—access to health infrastructure, drinking water, food, etc.

    The damage caused by the Taal volcano (soils buried by ash, smoke clouds) is likely to be long-lasting and to have a significant impact on agricultural land, livestock (many animals were killed), the access to drinking water and air quality.

    Humanity & Inclusion is continuing the needs assessment and is considering an emergency response for the victims of the disaster.


  • Gaza | “When she wakes up, she can’t wait to go to school”

    Humanity & Inclusion’s inclusive education project in Gaza, in the Palestinian Territories, provides Nermeen and her daughter Shahed with personalized support and counseling at school and at home.

    Shahed, 13, has a physical and learning disability. In the past, her mother, Nermeen, was not closely involved in her daughter's education and found it hard to convince her family to accept invitations from the school. "I didn’t take part in outdoor activities because I was afraid of the negative attitude of my family and friends,” says Nermeen. “I avoided situations where people might make comments or give me accusing looks. I had to stay at home.”

    Perceptions of disability

    A support group for parents of children with disabilities helped Nermeen overcome her concerns. “I made my daughter my priority. I chose to be strong and with support from the school and the group, I finally convinced my family. I’m free to take part in lots of different school activities now," she explains.

    Bringing families out of isolation

    The group gives parents a chance to share their daily experiences and problems. This successful initiative provides them with a support network inside and outside meetings. Mothers like Nermeen no longer feel alone: "If I have a problem, I know where to go.”

    Looking forward to school

    Teachers are in regular contact with Nermeen. They update her on her daughter's progress and use a liaison diary to exchange ideas with her, as they do with other parents. As a result, Shahed and her mother communicate with each other more, and she is more fulfilled. "She feels comfortable at school—she’s happy. She has made a lot of friends. When she wakes up, she can’t wait to go to school.”


  • Yemen | Marwan regains his smile and mobility

    One night, as everyone was asleep, seven-year-old Marwan’s neighbor's house was bombed. Everything exploded. The house where the little boy lived with his family was plunged into chaos. There were screams of terror and pain as members of his family ran around aimlessly in the dark.

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    His uncle finally spotted the little boy. "I found Marwan and pulled him towards me, but his right leg was just hanging from him,” he says. “He was screaming and asking for his parents. They were all injured. We took them to the hospital where they were given first aid and referred to a bigger and better-equipped hospital in another province. The doctors said Marwan's leg needed to be amputated. He was crying so hard. After the surgery, he became sad and frustrated."

    When he got out of the hospital, despite their injuries, his parents supported and encouraged him, but he became reserved and depressed. Seeing his condition worsened, his uncle gave him a pair of crutches. He refused to use them at first, but eventually hopped around on them as best he could. When Marwan’s doctor told him he could be fitted with a prosthesis, he felt hope that he might walk again.

    Gaining strength through rehabilitation

    Four months after the explosion, Marwan and his uncle traveled to the Sana’a rehabilitation center in Yemen, run by Humanity & Inclusion. Marwan was measured for a prosthesis and given better crutches to move around more easily while he waited. He also attended psychosocial support sessions and gradually learned how to play with other children and to share in their games again.

    His prosthesis is ready, but he has to learn how to walk again. Marwan is now attending rehabilitation sessions. With his "new leg," he will be able to play his favorite game, soccer, again. His real self is beginning to shine through. He is full of energy and laughter and tells us he wants to be a doctor when he grows up: "A doctor who treats people's legs," he says, very seriously.

    "My nephew can go back to school now and live like any other child," adds his uncle. "I want to thank the entire Humanity & Inclusion team for helping him cope with his disability."

    Humanity & Inclusion and the Yemen crisis

    Humanity & Inclusion (which operates under the name Handicap International in Yemen) operated in the country from the early 2000s up to 2012, focusing on physical rehabilitation. Since returning in 2014, our mission has grown. Today, we provide direct services to individuals affected by the ongoing conflict, particularly people with disabilities, through rehabilitation care and psychosocial support at eight public health facilities in and around Sana’a city. Learn more about our work and the Yemen crisis.

    Support our work

    Your gift today could help our rehabilitation teams provide vital physical therapy so that children with disabilities like Marwan can stand tall. 

    Support our rehabilitation work. Make a tax-deductible gift today.


  • Laos | Thirty years apart, one village: the stories of two injured Laotians

    Houaphan, near Vietnam, was the province that had the highest number of accidents involving explosive remnants of war in Laos in 2018. In the village of Houayhou, some residents like Chue Por Vang, a 30-year-old Hmong farmer, and Kua Tcho Tor, 58, have paid a heavy price.

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    When he was a teenager, Chue's left arm was blown off by a submunition on his way home from school. He was walking with his brother when he came across a device that piqued his curiosity. "It was a very small object, round,” Chue says. “It looked like a small ball...”

    After the accident, his family ran up debts to pay for his hospital treatment, which took five years to pay off. Today, Chue is married and has four children. He is outraged by the presence of unexploded ordnance buried deep in his homeland. "I'm angry," Chue says shyly. "My wife is the only one who can work the land, take care of our 14 cows, and do everything at home. I help as much as I can, but we depend on the land, and we struggle to feed our children. Our family helps us a lot, but our lives are very hard."

    In the same village, Kua Tcho Tor, a 58-year-old farmer, and father of six, also lost his hand at the age of 12 when a "bomblet," a submunition, exploded as he was helping his parents to plant rice. Rushed to the nearest hospital, he only has a dim recollection of what happened next, but he does remember his family having to sell many of their cows to pay for his hospital treatment. "It was the end of the Vietnam War, but we didn't know anything about bombs and mines at the time. We weren't very wary," he explains.

    "My life has been very hard. No one helped me except my close family. Today three of my children are already married. Without my family and my son, who does everything on the farm and takes care of us, life wouldn't be worth living. I'm very proud of him!"

    Humanity & Inclusion in Laos

    Since 1983, Humanity & Inclusion has helped victims of mines and explosive remnants of war in Laos. Our mine action team works to remove mines and educate communities about the risks posed by these weapons. Learn more about our work in Laos.

    Support our work

    Your gift today could help our demining teams to clear land of landmines and cluster bombs, saving the lives and limbs of innocent civilians.

    Support our mine action work in places like Laos. Make a tax-deductible gift today.


  • 30,000 people killed and many injured by explosive weapons in 2019

    In 2019, Humanity & Inclusion’s partner organization Action On Armed Violence (AOAV) recorded 29,500 deaths and injuries from the use of explosive weapons around the world. Civilians continue to bear the burden of harm, accounting for 66% (19,400) of total casualties.

    When explosive weapons were used in populated areas, more than 90% of those killed and injured were civilians. The number of civilian casualties recorded was 17,900 in populated areas, and 1,500 in areas not reported as populated.

    Some countries saw a significant increase in civilian casualties: Afghanistan saw a 9% rise in civilian harm, Somalia saw a 14% increase, and Libya saw a 131% rise.

    In total, manufactured weapons caused 51% of global civilian harm from explosive weapons, and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) caused 49%.

    “In many conflicts, bombing and shelling puts an unbearable threat on civilians and forces the population to flee,” explains Anne Héry, Humanity & Inclusion’s advocacy director. “They also leave heavy contamination by explosive remnants posing a long-lasting threat for civilians after a battle.

    “Bombing in urban areas is a disaster for the protection of civilians in conflict. Political discussions between States have begun to draft an international political declaration against the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. Several states appear as opposed to a strong political commitment. It is unacceptable.

    “Humanity & Inclusion is involved in this diplomatic process aiming at improving the protection of civilians in armed conflict and fights for a strong political declaration to be adopted next May. For this, we need the back-up of the public to put pressure on governments and to ensure they are fully committed against bombing in populated areas.”

    Keep heavy bombs from cities: Urge Congress to protect civilians

    Sign our Care2 petition and help ensure Congress recognizes the harm explosive weapons cause and ask your representative to encourage the Trump Administration to support this political declaration.


  • Haiti | Marysee: “To me, my prosthesis is my real leg”

    "My prosthesis is not really a problem for me, the opposite, in fact—I'm proud of it!, explains Maryse. Without a prosthesis, my life would be much more complicated.” Maryse, 44, was injured in the earthquake that struck Haiti ten years ago, causing her to lose her right leg. Since then, she's held her head high! 

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    Maryse had her right leg amputated two weeks after the earthquake. When she developed a life-threatening infection, doctors were left with no other option. "I thought about my children and realized I couldn't let my amputation end it all. I haven't shed a single tear. I've always looked on the bright side, and I've had a lot of support."

    Four months after the operation, Maryse was fitted with her first prosthesis and learned to walk again in a rehabilitation center supported by Humanity & Inclusion. Our team also helped Maryse open a small store. Now, she sells food and charcoal from a small stall outside her home.

    For Maryse, life has turned out to be not so different since the earthquake: "It's true, I could run and move faster before, but apart from that, my life is pretty much the same. I manage. I still have my little shop. My children go to school. And best of all, I'm still alive. Of course, I have a disability. But today, my prosthesis has become a real leg—my leg."

    When she meets other people with disabilities, she suggests they get fitted with an orthopedic device. Maryse can't imagine life without her prosthesis now. And that's what worries her: "I'm dependent on my prosthesis, and it wears out. It needs to be adjusted regularly. It's always on my mind."

    Humanity & Inclusion continues to support Maryse, and in 2019, she was fitted with a new prosthesis.

    Haiti's 2010 earthquake

    On January 12, 2010, a 7.0-magnitude earthquake devastated Haiti, killing 230,000 people and injuring more than 300,000 others.

    In the wake of the disaster, Humanity & Inclusion ramped up its operations, and mobilized about 600 people who deployed unprecedented levels of resources and assistance.

    Humanity & Inclusion's impact, by the numbers:

    Today, we’re still helping Haitians with disabilities stand tall.
    Donate to support our ongoing work.

     

    NOTE: until Jan 2018, Humanity & Inclusion was known as Handicap International.


  • Haiti | Christella stands tall 10 years later

    Marie Orbenia Cadet lives with her four daughters in a small apartment in Port-au-Prince. "They're all lovely girls," she says. Christella, 20, is the youngest. When she was just ten-years-old, she was injured in a violent earthquake, and her leg had to be amputated.

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    Humanity & Inclusion’s rehabilitation team met Christella and provided her with essential physical therapy to help her regain strength in her limb. Later, our experts fit her with her first prosthesis and helped her learn to walk again. Her mother also received financial support from Humanity & Inclusion to open a small store, which enables her to support her family.

    Christella doesn’t remember much about the day the earth shook in Haiti. She prefers to think about the future. She graduated from secondary school last summer and wants to continue her studies, but she's torn between medicine and business management.

    After spending so much time in the hospital, she’s considering a career in medicine. "When I was in the hospital after the earthquake, a nurse gave me an injection, and it really hurt,” she says. “I don't think she was doing it right. If a doctor had been present, I would have been treated better. If I become a doctor, I can provide patients with better care."

    The only affordable university is in a district where violence can flair suddenly up at the slightest provocation. "There's always noise and gunshots and I can't run fast with my prosthesis,” Christella continues. “So, I’m also thinking seriously about doing management studies. But if by chance I get a scholarship to study medicine abroad, I'll be there in a minute!"

    Christella shares about how she feels to be a woman with a disability: "If someone asks me about my prosthesis, I explain what happened. There’s no problem. It's cool."

    Humanity & Inclusion continues monitoring and supporting Christella, who has recently been fitted with a new prosthesis.

    Watch Christella standing tall!

    Haiti's 2010 earthquake

    On January 12, 2010, a 7.0-magnitude earthquake devastated Haiti, killing 230,000 people and injuring more than 300,000 others.

    In the wake of the disaster, Humanity & Inclusion ramped up its operations, and mobilized about 600 people who deployed unprecedented levels of resources and assistance.

    Humanity & Inclusion's impact, by the numbers:

    • 90,000 people with rehabilitation care
    • 25,000 people with psychosocial support
    • 1,400 people with orthopedic braces or artificial limbs (click here to watch a video of Moise!)
    • 5,000+ wheelchairs, crutches and walking frames to people with disabilities
    • 1,050 shelters for extremely vulnerable families
    • 20,000+ tons of aid for people affected by the disaster

    Today, we’re still helping Haitians with disabilities stand tall.
    Donate to support our ongoing work.

     

    NOTE: until Jan 2018, Humanity & Inclusion was known as Handicap International.


  • Haiti | A huge step forward in rehabilitation care

    Before January 12, 2010, the rehabilitation network was very underdeveloped in Haiti, with just a few professionals working in the sector. Change came with the earthquake which hit the country almost ten years ago.

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    Humanitarian workers arrived in massive numbers from all four corners of the world, assisting the 300,000 people injured in the earthquake. Given that other natural disasters were likely to occur in the future, Humanity & Inclusion (then Handicap International) started looking for a more sustainable solution. In 2012, Humanity & Inclusion’s team collaborated with the Don Bosco University in El Salvador to develop two training courses: one 2-year course for rehabilitation technicians and another 2.5-year course for orthopedic technicians.

    Guetchly-Nise Alcime was one of the first students to sign up. “I was working as a nurse,” she recalls. “After the 12th of January, there were a lot of healthcare professionals, including nurses, in the country. But the rehabilitation sector was only just starting to develop. There were lots of job opportunities, so when I heard about the training course, I signed up.” Guetchly-Nise now works in a rehabilitation center in Port-au-Prince, providing support for amputees who have phantom pain.  

    Mario Pasquet also took a rehabilitation technician training course run by Humanity & Inclusion. After obtaining his diploma, along with other former students, he created ASHATP—the Haitian Association of Physical Therapy Technicians. “We wanted to promote rehabilitation and our work with people with injuries and/or disabilities,” he explains. “We run awareness-raising campaigns against the stigmatization of disability and support rehabilitation technicians looking for jobs.”

    “Thanks to Humanity & Inclusion, we now have enough rehabilitation technicians to work in the field,” adds Mario Pasquet, the President of ASHATP. “Rehabilitation in Haiti has taken a huge step forward. People have a better understanding of what physical therapy is and know that there are centers they can go to if they need. Port-au-Prince now has two universities where students can study physical therapy. There are also organizations like ASHATP which defend the sector’s interests at a national level to obtain greater recognition.”

    For Humanity & Inclusion, it’s inspiring for us to see the progress made in Haiti's rehabilitation sector over the past decade. We encourage the Ministry of Health to continue with this work and to include rehabilitation in its healthcare policy systematically.

    Haiti's 2010 earthquake

    On January 12, 2010, a 7.0-magnitude earthquake devastated Haiti, killing 230,000 people and injuring more than 300,000 others.

    In the wake of the disaster, Humanity & Inclusion ramped up its operations, and mobilized about 600 people who deployed unprecedented levels of resources and assistance.

    Humanity & Inclusion's impact, by the numbers:

    Today, we’re still helping Haitians with disabilities stand tall.
    Donate to support our ongoing work.

     

    NOTE: until Jan 2018, Humanity & Inclusion was known as Handicap International.


  • Haiti | Moïse has his sights set firmly on the future

    Moïse was four years old when he lost his left leg in the earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, 2010.

    Wecheline, his mother, remembers every second of that dark day, 10 years ago this week: "I was taking a meal to my husband when the earth began to shake,” she says. “When I came home, there was nothing left of our house. I could hear Moïse under the rubble. He was crying and shouting, ‘mom, mom, mom!’”

    A week later, Moïse had his leg amputated. "It was a very difficult time for me," explains his mother. “Moïse didn't have any crutches. He couldn't walk around. He had to crawl. When they told me he was going to be fitted with a prosthesis, I jumped for joy."

    With support from Humanity & Inclusion, Moïse received physical therapy from our rehabilitation team and was fit with his first prosthesis in 2010. Since then, Moïse has grown, and the prosthesis, worn from use, has been replaced several times.

    In recent weeks, Moïse has been busy cleaning the house and doing the washing and cooking. But his real passion is soccer. He and his brother often play on the construction site next to their house, which doubles as their soccer field. This past summer, however, his prosthesis, which was too small for him, began to hurt when he walked. Instead of playing himself, Moïse used a soccer app to play on a mobile phone.

    At the end of August 2019, Moïse was fitted with his new prosthesis at a physical rehabilitation center run by Healing Hands for Haiti, which receives support from Humanity & Inclusion. Today, Moïse attends school and enjoys playing soccer with his friends.

    Moïse has his sights set firmly on the future. He doesn't dream of becoming a soccer player anymore. He wants to be an engineer or doctor instead, convinced his leg could have been saved if there had been enough doctors in Haiti after the earthquake.

    Watch his moves!

    Haiti's 2010 earthquake

    On January 12, 2010, a 7.0-magnitude earthquake devastated Haiti, killing 230,000 people and injuring more than 300,000 others.

    In the wake of the disaster, Humanity & Inclusion ramped up its operations, and mobilized about 600 people who deployed unprecedented levels of resources and assistance.

    Humanity & Inclusion's impact, by the numbers:

    • 90,000 people with rehabilitation care (click here to watch Christella's story!)
    • 25,000 people with psychosocial support
    • 1,400 people with orthopedic braces or artificial limbs
    • 5,000+ wheelchairs, crutches and walking frames to people with disabilities
    • 1,050 shelters for extremely vulnerable families
    • 20,000+ tons of aid for people affected by the disaster

    Today, we’re still helping Haitians with disabilities stand tall.
    Donate to support our ongoing work.

     

    NOTE: until Jan 2018, Humanity & Inclusion was known as Handicap International.


  • Yemen | Gaining strength through mirror therapy and psychosocial support

    "I was riding my motorbike when the airstrike happened,” Abdulrahmam says as he remembers the day he was injured in north Yemen. “I was hit by a shard of debris in my right arm. My arm almost fall apart, I was bleeding a lot. I lost consciousness. A truck driver picked me up and took me to Abs hospital. Later on, I was transferred to Sana'a.”

    Abdulrahmam Ali Salem is from Aldabrah, a small village in the Hajjah governorate in North Yemen. The 34-year old father of four works selling vegetables and as a moto-taxi driver.

    The trauma of an amputation

    Abdulrahmam had to undergo emergency surgery and eventually, his arm had to be amputated. After surgery, he met Humanity & Inclusion’s team. We helped him with post-operative care which included bandaging his wound and providing advice about hygiene and wound care. Abdulrahmam received personalized rehabilitation care to strengthen his left arm and gain maximum independence with one hand. He took part in gait training—a type of physical therapy that can help improve a person’s ability to stand and walk. He also received a treatment known as “mirror therapy.”

    What is mirror therapy?

    “Mirror therapy is the use of a mirror to create the illusion of the presence of an affected limb in order to trick the brain into thinking movement has occurred without pain,” Ahmed, a physical therapist with Humanity & Inclusion explains. “It involves placing the affected limb behind a mirror so that the reflection of the opposing limb appears in place of the hidden limb. It aims to reduce phantom limb pain.”

    All the support needed

    "At the beginning, I was very scared and I did not know how I could live with only one arm,” Abdulrahmam says. “Then I met with the Humanity & Inclusion team, who reassured me and showed me that many people live a normal life with only one hand. I also benefitted from psychosocial support sessions. All of this helped me to gain strength again."

    Back to life

    Abdulrahmam continues his steady path to recovery and now has hopes for the future. "I want to go back to my children,” he adds. “The day of my amputation, my wife gave birth. I hope to see my son very soon. I gave him the same name as me. I feel like God sent my son to replace the loss of my arm."

    Humanity & Inclusion and the Yemen crisis

    Humanity & Inclusion (which operates under the name Handicap International in Yemen) operated in the country from the early 2000s up to 2012, focusing on physical rehabilitation. Since returning in 2014, our mission has grown. Today, we provide direct services to individuals affected by the ongoing conflict, particularly people with disabilities, through rehabilitation care and psychosocial support at eight public health facilities in and around Sana’a city. Learn more about our work and the Yemen crisis.


  • Climate change | Humanity & Inclusion helps communities prepare for climate-related disasters

    For the past 15 years, Humanity & Inclusion has been working around the world to help communities prepare for disaster and emergency situations. Our teams have seen first-hand how an increase in extreme and destructive weather events linked to climate change is affecting people with disabilities and vulnerable populations.

    A growing threat

    Humanity & Inclusion is acting in response to a rise in severe weather disasters and chronic climate emergencies. Between 2007 and 2017, an average of 60 more climate-related disasters per year occurred worldwide, compared to the previous decade[1]. This is one of the reasons why HI has recognized the severe weather linked to climate change as a compelling and growing threat to the prosperity of our beneficiaries and exposed groups around the world.

    Many research studies reveal that climate change has an indirect but severe consequence on vulnerable groups ranging from armed violence to food insecurity, water scarcity, mass migrations, and loss of livelihoods [2].

    Disproportionate impact

    Although increased exposure to climate change affects everyone, severe weather has a disproportionate impact on defenseless population, especially on people with disabilities.

    In addition to the immediate impact of unforeseen outset emergencies on all the population groups, people with disabilities are notably affected by natural hazards as they are more likely to live in poor and risk-prone areas and are frequently excluded from emergency preparedness plans.

    Data from the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) demonstrates just how isolated and at risk they may be in the event of a disaster. Globally, one of five persons with disabilities is in the position to evacuate without difficulties in the event of a disaster. Only 17% of people with disabilities are aware of a disaster management plan in their community, and following a disaster, 75% of people with disabilities believe that they are excluded from the humanitarian response.

    Proper preparedness can save lives

    In the photo above, located in a remote commune of northwest Haiti, volunteers in orange vests carry a woman on a stretcher down a rocky hillside. Fortunately, this is only a drill. The volunteers are testing emergency preparation measures and procedures they have installed to ensure that every member of their community can reach to a safe place in the event of a natural disaster. The entire municipality is being evacuated.

    Thanks to a collaborative project run by Humanity & Inclusion and civil protection services, participants know how to provide information, warnings and assistance in an event of inevitable exposure for people with disabilities, children, and older individuals. Places of safety have been prepared in advance which are accessible to everyone. In a poor and isolated area of this disaster-prone country, these preparations offer the best chance of survival to the disproportionate groups.   

    About HI’s Disaster Risk Reduction work

    • HI has been implementing Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation activities for 15 years
    • We are currently running 20 DRR projects in 16 countries
    • HI helps other DRR actors to be inclusive of people with disabilities and vulnerable individuals

     

    [1] Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters

    [2] HI, Disability and Climate-Change: How climate-related hazards increases vulnerabilities among the most at risk populations and the necessary convergence of inclusive disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation, 2018


  • Nepal | USAID’s physical rehabilitation activity gives children like Manju a leg up!

    Manju was born in Dadeldhura, a hilly district in far west Nepal. Her foot and toes on her lower right leg were not fully grown, which prohibited her from walking. Things were so difficult for Manju that she couldn’t even attend infant school like other children.

    However, in 2014, at the age of four, she received a warm welcome at a local rehabilitation center, as well as her first artificial limb. With it, she was able to walk; and she enrolled in the local school.

    Manju is one of the 18,000 Nepalis who are standing taller—and climbing higher— thanks to the generosity of the American people through USAID. Since her very first fitting, she has grown a lot, and USAID’s Strengthening Rehabilitation in District Environs (STRIDE) Activity, implemented by partner Humanity & Inclusion (HI), has already provided her with two replacement prosthetic legs.

    For more than a decade in Nepal, HI has worked to build, strengthen and expand access to rehabilitation. And, since June 2019, this critical work has continued with a brand new project.

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    History

    USAID’s STRIDE activity, managed by Humanity & Inclusion, partnering with local organizations, ended on January, 31, 2019, with a long list of successes. Since STRIDE’s launch in 2010, staff provided rehabilitation services to more than 52,000 Nepali people. Among them, more than 18,000 people learned to walk again using locally-manufactured assistive devices, which were based on appropriate technology. STRIDE also prepared and supported more than 4,000 people with disabilities as they entered the workforce and began earning decent wages. Along the way, STRIDE created a skilled team of rehabilitation professionals—which did not exist in Nepal before the project launched. And at the end of the project, STRIDE handed over five rehabilitation centers to Nepali stakeholders.

    “We are immensely proud of STRIDE, and eager to cement its successes,” said Willy Bergogne, Country Director for HI Nepal. “Thanks to USAID, we’ve been able to dramatically improve people’s access to a range of rehabilitation services. Nepal has more highly skilled rehabilitation professionals and well-positioned rehabilitation centers. But, we need to ensure that these services are sustainable—and successful—in the long-term. This is the challenge we’ve set.”

    Needs and Gaps

    Many of our beneficiaries are living near the poverty line and cannot afford services or the assistive technologies offered by rehabilitation centers. In addition to these gaps, we know that long-term follow-up in remote communities remains a challenge.

    What’s more, Nepalis are living longer than ever, though they face more non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes and cancer. These diseases increase the prevalence of disabilities and the need for physical rehabilitation services throughout a person’s life.

    While rehabilitation needs are growing in Nepal, the capacity to address these needs remains limited. Physical rehabilitation services are mainly provided by local organizations, including the rehabilitation centers that formerly worked with STRIDE. This results in inadequate coverage to meet local needs and puts pressure on sustainability.

    The Ministry of Health and Population acknowledged the growing needs of the Nepali people and the usefulness and importance of rehabilitation services as part of the continuum of care. The ministry included physical therapy as an essential health service in the National Health Sector Strategy 2015 – 2020 and allocated a budget for physical therapy for the first time. However, the public health system only recognizes physical therapy as an essential service; and it is mainly available in urban areas in tertiary level hospitals. The Government of Nepal’s budget for rehabilitation services only partially covers the provision of assistive devices and rehabilitation services.

    The new Leprosy Control Disability Management Section (LCDMS), which is responsible for coordinating the Department of Health Services’ strategies on disability prevention, is a promising step toward a more comprehensive response. However, planning, administration, technical capacities, availability of rehabilitation professionals and resources allocated to fulfill the need of growing rehabilitation services  are limited. Mechanisms and guidelines for monitoring, equitable access and use of quality services are also currently lacking.

    The Path Forward

    To fill these gaps, USAID’s physical rehabilitation activity will help to establish a sustainable, integrated, public-private rehabilitation system. The goal of this is to improve the mobility and functional independence of victims of conflict and others in need of rehabilitation services. The activity aims to strengthen the quality of rehabilitation services, increase access to rehabilitation services and strengthen the sustainability of private physical rehabilitation centers. This critical work, which will be implemented by HI, is made possible due to a $4 million grant made possible due to the support of the American people through USAID. 

    USAID’s physical rehabilitation activity will run through the end of 2024. During this time, the activity will help to establish a sustainable rehabilitation services system using the WHO Rehabilitation 2030 strategy as well as the WHO health system strengthening approach, which targets six core areas:

    1. Governance and leadership
    2. Health and rehabilitation human resources
    3. Rehabilitation information system development
    4. Medical and product technologies, including assistive products
    5. Finance, including health insurance and budgeting rehabilitation activities
    6. Service delivery, including private-public partnership

    The steering committee for USAID’s physical rehabilitation activity, under the leadership of LCDMS, will help guide the process. Institutional and private actors will be crucial partners to ensure that this activity and its services remain relevant and appropriate.

    HI will work with six local partners—the National Federation of Disabled Nepal, an umbrella organization of over 200 Disabled People’s Organizations in Nepal who will coordinate advocacy activities through local networks, and five physical rehabilitation centers (PRCs) previously supported by STRIDE to further enhance local capacities and model practices towards high quality, efficient, and comprehensive coverage in remote communities.

    USAID’s physical rehabilitation activity team will closely work with the broader network of physical rehabilitation service providers and rehabilitation professional associations to have a sustainable system of rehabilitation services.

    “The roots of the project are strong,” Bergogne adds. “Thanks to ongoing partnerships, and a drive to solidify Nepal’s rehabilitation sector, we can look forward to more smiles and tree climbing from children like Manju.”


  • published Haiti | 10 years after the earthquake in News 2019-12-20 14:58:24 -0500

    Haiti | 10 years after the quake

    Empowering Haiti's most vulnerable

    On January 12, 2010, a 7.0-magnitude earthquake devastated Haiti, killing 230,000 people and injuring more than 300,000 others.

    In the wake of the disaster, Humanity & Inclusion deployed one of its largest humanitarian aid operations in Haiti which continues to help strengthen the local physical rehabilitation network. At that time, there were only 13 physical therapists in the entire country and most were working abroad at the time. We ramped up our operations and mobilized about 600 people who deployed unprecedented levels of resources and assistance.

    Orange button with white text: Donate Now

    Humanity & Inclusion's impact, by the numbers:

    Devastating scene

    "Improvised camps sprang up all over the place,” explains Sylvia Sommella, HI's director in Haiti. “Hundreds of survivors slept in hospital car parks. Most health facilities had collapsed.” In 2010, Sylvia arrived in Port-au-Prince a few days after the earthquake. "People were still looking for survivors trapped in the rubble. Many homes had imploded. In some places, the dust stirred up by the collapsed houses was still floating in the air. It was an apocalyptic scene."

    Rapid deployment of emergency assistance

    Humanity & Inclusion intervened directly after the disaster. Our teams strengthened HI’s logistics platform, already in operation for several years, and a few days after the earthquake, the first few physical therapists and tons of humanitarian equipment were already arriving in the field.

    In February, a few weeks after the disaster, HI supplied the first emergency prostheses in makeshift camps. In March, we started working in a rehabilitation center. At the height of the response, more than 600 staff were in the field, supplying vital aid to survivors. Throughout our response, more than 90,000 people received rehabilitation care and more than 1,400 others were fitted with an orthosis or prosthesis. More than 25,000 victims received psychosocial support. 

    Emergency preparedness

    In 2012, HI launched a training program for orthopedic technicians and physical rehabilitation technicians in cooperation with USAID and Don Bosco University in El Salvador. This program, which ran until 2016, trained 86 new experts currently working in Haiti.  

    HI is now focusing on ongoing training, with the goal of further developing the knowledge of local rehabilitation specialists. “We provide support to students and professionals to do online training,” Marie Dorcasse Laguerre, who is in charge of this project, explains. “After each training module, practical field sessions are organized with a physical therapist who acts as a tutor to improve their technical skills. If there is an earthquake in two to five years, professionals will be available in Haiti to deal with the emergency."

    HI also works with professional organizations of physical therapists and orthopedic and rehabilitation technicians, as well as with the National Network for the Inclusion of People with Disabilities (RANIPH). Three hospitals receive support to improve the quality and build the capacity of their rehabilitation services: St Michel de Jacmel Hospital, the Hospital of the State University of Haiti in Port-au-Prince and the Hospital of the Baptist Convention of Haiti in Cap Haïtien.

    Haiti today

    HI also provides support to vulnerable and isolated communities in the north of the country to help them prepare for and protect themselves in the event of new natural disasters. Our team also helps some 450 people with disabilities access employment or business activities. Our team also helps prevent the number of road accidents by visiting schools to explain road hazards to children. Drivers of public transportation can also take road safety courses.

    Background in 2019

    Social crisis

    The ongoing social and political crisis in Haiti has had a serious impact on local communities, especially people with disabilities, and reduced access to essential items, health care, education, etc. People struggle to find food and 35% of the population (3.67 million people) urgently need food assistance.

    In September and October 2019, fuel shortages and insecurity limited the capacity of humanitarian organizations to assist thousands of Haitians. Haitian public services have also considerably reduced their activities. Since November 2019, the situation has stabilized, and humanitarian and development organizations have gradually resumed their work.

    People with disabilities, who are among the most vulnerable and most likely to be discriminated against, are increasingly impacted by the crisis. Since the unrest began, they are disproportionately exposed to risks, such as physical violence and crime. Barricades, demonstrations etc. restrict movement and access to essential and social services like food, drinking water, and health. Humanity & Inclusion must be able to continue providing support to those most in need.

    Frequent natural disasters

    Frequent hurricanes and earthquakes increase vulnerability and damage already fragile infrastructure. Cholera epidemics have weakened the population, although no new cases have been reported recently.

    Today, we’re still helping Haitians with disabilities stand tall.
    Donate to support our ongoing work.

     

     

    Photo caption: Marie, a physical therapist with Humanity & Inclusion, helps fit Maryse, a woman injured in the 2010 Haiti earthquake, with her new prosthetic leg.

    NOTE: until Jan 2018, Humanity & Inclusion was known as Handicap International.


  • published Your favorite photos of 2019 in News 2019-12-20 12:21:34 -0500

    Your favorite photos of 2019

    Humanity & Inclusion supporters shared their love of so many of our incredible photos throughout the year. Here are the top 5! 

    Fayaz stands tall and swings high

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    We love moments like this—when children with disabilities get to play their favorite sports! Fayaz, 5, lost both of his legs when a bomb exploded in India. Thanks to his new artificial legs from Humanity & Inclusion, Fayaz can run & play cricket with his friends.

    Gaza's first accessible beach

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    Everyone should be able to enjoy the beach! Humanity & Inclusion's team made the first accessible beach for people with and without disabilities in Gaza. That way, everyone can catch some rays! 

    Giving land back in Iraq

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    In 2018, Humanity & Inclusion's demining team in Iraq destroyed 200 explosive weapons of war. What happened next? They released 32 million sq. ft. of land back to a village whose economy is based on agriculture. A huge thanks to our incredible deminers for providing safety and peace of mind.

    Standing tall in Bangladesh

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    Not only do Humanity & Inclusion physical therapists provide vital rehabilitation care, but they will go as far as building a makeshift standing frame so that Shumira, a young girl with cerebral palsy in Bangladesh, can stand tall. We love that Humanity & Inclusion staff truly go the extra mile! 

    Removing remnants of war in Chad

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    Since last November, Humanity & Inclusion’s mine action team has cleared more than 400,000 square meters of land—the equivalent of 70 football fields—in northern Chad. The team has identified and destroyed 114 landmines and other explosive remnants of war.


  • Laos | Making land safe for generations to come

    In Laos, Humanity & Inclusion continues its interventions to eliminate the threat and reduce the humanitarian and socio-economic risk that the explosive remnants of war still pose to the country's populations today. Nearly 45 years after the end of the Vietnam War and the American bombings, Laos remains the most contaminated country in the world by unexploded war explosives. Buried in forests and cultivated fields, they constitute both a direct threat to the population, mainly rural, and an obstacle to the development.

    Eliminating the threat of weapons

    Since 2006, Humanity & Inclusion’s demining teams have cleared more than 43 million sq. ft. of land and destroyed nearly 30,000 explosive remnants of war—that’s 30,000 lives potentially saved. Our main objective is to secure areas of human activity, such as villages and agricultural land and keep people safe.

    Saving lives and making the village safe

    In Houaphan province, where our teams have been working since early 2018, thousands of square feet of land still need to be cleared to eliminate the threat. HI has identified 379 villages contaminated with unexploded explosive remnants of war. This includes aviation bombs and cluster bombs, commonly referred to as "bombies" on site. Teams also find many other types of explosive remnants such as grenades, mortars, rockets, missiles, and even landmines. Each of these devices requires a different technique for detection and destruction. And, unusual in Laos which is almost unpolluted by these weapons, the team has also identified 26 minefields that directly affect 12 villages in Houameung district. Such demining operations require a completely different technique, which is even more meticulous because it involves advancing inch-by-inch, and dangerous because landmines explode at the slightest pressure.

    In 2019, during the first 10 months of the year, Humanity & Inclusion teams of 73 deminers found and destroyed nearly 2,000 explosive remnants of war and cleared 32 acres of agricultural land.

    Inclusive employment

    In addition to our clearance work and protecting Laotians from the risk of these weapons, we also provide livelihood support activities so that people with disabilities have the opportunity to work meaningful, waged jobs. Initially conducted in Savannakhet province, HI teams are now continuing their activities in Houaphan, a mountainous province in the north of the country.


  • South Sudan | Going the extra mile to bring rehabilitation to isolated populations

    New Fangak is a remote area of South Sudan surrounded by rivers and wetlands. Many villages are only accessible by boat or plane and the majority of the population of 26,000 are agro-pastoralists.

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    Reaching the most isolated populations

    Humanity & Inclusion’s team of rehabilitation specialists, known as the ‘Flying Team’ travels to some of the most remote areas of South Sudan, like New Fangak, to better understand the needs of the community and how HI may be able to provide relevant services.

    The Flying Team conducts focus groups with members of the community to hear about their concerns and issues linked to health, disability, and rehabilitation. In New Fangak, many people mentioned that polio-like symptoms were prevalent within the population as, historically, the area was cut off from access to vaccinations. The first polio vaccination began just three years ago.

    In Tonga, our team found that people with disabilities lacked access to services due to social stigmas and a lack of mobility aids such as crutches, wheelchairs, and walkers.

    Prevention of disabilities

    The Flying Team conducts a range of training sessions on measures to prevent disabilities and how to include basic rehabilitation procedures. In New Fangak, they worked with 19 health workers from six different organizations and health facilities. This was the first training on the subject of disability and rehabilitation that participants had ever received.

    Training is an important step in building awareness and capacity throughout the more remote locations of South Sudan. Humanity & Inclusion’s Flying Team will continue to visit these locations and offer specialized support and services through awareness raising campaigns, capacity building workshops, and training sessions. Our goal is to ensure no one is left behind, no matter where they may live.

    Many thanks to the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) for supporting this important work. 


  • published Yemen | Balloons lift Hala up in News 2019-12-17 15:36:06 -0500

    Yemen | Balloons lift Hala up

    Hala, 4, was playing in front of her home when she was hit by an explosion. Seriously wounded in the attack, she lost one of her legs. Hala, and her cousin Erada, are among the most recent victims of bombings that are devastating Yemen.

    Orange button with the text \

    Hala and Erada has just received emergency surgery when Humanity & Inclusion’s team met them at a hospital in Sana’a. The family, completely devastated by the attack, was able to access medicine and food from other patients at the hospital for the two cousins who were both in a state of shock. Erada was constantly wondering about the absence of her cousin’s leg and of her own. Hala was sad, frustrated, and deeply traumatized. She cried all the time. 

    Humanity & Inclusion’s team provided Hala with psychosocial support and physical therapy care. Our team gave her a walker and crutches to help her stand. Hala’s family members were informed about the nursing and hygienic care related to an amputation. HI staff also provided them with vital training so they could take care of Hala on a daily basis.

    Hala’s mother immediately understood the importance of rehabilitation exercises for a quick return to mobility. "At first, Hala couldn't walk," she explains. "However, the Humanity & Inclusion team immediately provided her with crutches and patiently made her do her exercises. They needed a lot of patience. And now she is just learning how to walk with her new prosthesis! She exhausted everyone during the process but she finally got back on her feet. She made a lot of progress."

    A Humanity & Inclusion staff member explains that when the team first met Hala, she was very sad. “She almost always cried,” they explain. “She was afraid of people and even of other children. We accompanied her, then gradually included her in activities for children. She started interacting with others and talking with them, exchanging toys. After many months, we fit her with a prosthesis and are now teaching her how to use it correctly. At first, Hala refused to walk with it because she was afraid. But since she loves balloons, we found that if we covered the floor in balloons, she loved walking through them!”

    Things are not easy for the young Hala. When she comes to the Sana'a Rehabilitation Center, she is very shy with others. She has difficulties expressing her emotions and is still very much affected by this tragedy. For example, she sometimes stares at other children and the way they move and tries to touch their legs.

    But, one year after this tragedy, Hala, with all her victories, is gradually smiling again. And that's what matters most to her mother. "I thank the members of the HI team,” she says. “I really appreciate what they have done and continue to do for us. They transformed my daughter's life and help her to overcome all the difficulties and accept her disability.”

    Humanity & Inclusion and the Yemen crisis

    Humanity & Inclusion (which operates under the name Handicap International in Yemen) operated in the country from the early 2000s up to 2012, focusing on physical rehabilitation. Since returning in 2014, our mission has grown. Today, we provide direct services to individuals affected by the ongoing conflict, particularly people with disabilities, through rehabilitation care and psychosocial support at eight public health facilities in and around Sana’a city. Learn more about our work and the Yemen crisis.


  • published Empower people with disabilities 2019-12-12 13:58:58 -0500

    Help Humanity & Inclusion Empower People with Disabilities

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

    Humanity & Inclusion donors make it possible for nearly 3,300 staff worldwide to stamp out exclusion, provide specific and general aid during emergencies, protect civilians from explosive weapons, and much more. Thanks to individual supporters just like you, people with disabilities and vulnerable groups are able to live in dignity in 62 countries impacted by poverty and exclusion, conflict, and disaster.

    For more than 38 years, Humanity & Inclusion has been developing programs in health and rehabilitation and social and economic integration. We continue to work with local authorities to clear landmines and other war debris and to prevent mine-related accidents through education. We respond fast and effectively to natural and civil disasters in order to limit serious and permanent injuries and to assist survivors' recovery and reintegration. We advocate for the universal recognition of the rights of people with disabilities through national planning and advocacy.

    We act and campaign in places where "standing tall" is no easy task. 

    You can help us empower people with disabilities. Support Humanity & Inclusion today!

    Donate to Humanity & Inclusion Now

    When you support Humanity & Inclusion, you help: 

    • Ensure that people with disabilities and vulnerable individuals are included during an emergency;
    • Victims of conflict recover from their injuries both physically and mentally;
    • Clear landmines and other explosive remnants of war so that families can live without fear, in safety;
    • Educate and empower children with disabilities who were once kept at home because of their disability.

     

    Graphic that includes a photo and quote. On the left is a photo of Fatehia who sits on bench next to a physical therapist with Humanity & Inclusion during her physical therapy session. On the right side of the graphic, is Fatehia's quote "Many thanks to Humanity & Inclusion. Their team has helped me make my life better and to communicate with others again. They helped me become strong again!"

    Humanity & Inclusion's Critical Actions

    Rehabilitation

    We train rehabilitation specialists, prosthetic and orthotic technicians and staff managing rehabilitation centers. We develop center-based and community-based rehabilitation services, and support the development of rehabilitation sector within national health and social systems.

    Emergency response

    Our teams provide emergency support to Syrian refugees, aid to the victims of Cyclone Idai, and restore infrastructure following Typhoon Mangkhut.

    Protecting civilians from explosive weapons

    Explosive remnants of war, including landmines and cluster munitions, contaminate more than half of the world's countries. Sign our petition to stop bombing civilians.

    Prevention and health

    Good health is a human right, and access to health care is an essential step toward social inclusion. Whether through the prevention of disabling diseases, creating local health services or providing psychological support, all our actions serve one purpose: to ensure that every man, woman and child has the chance to stay healthy.

    Inclusion and rights

    Although all children have the right to an education, 32 million children with disabilities are not enrolled in school. Humanity & Inclusion has launched a #school4all campaign to ensure schools are accessible to everyone.

    Get to know Humanity & Inclusion. Watch our Be a Lifeline film to see what we're all about. 

    Donate to Humanity & Inclusion Now