Zibon Sona is an 80 year old widow. She was forced to leave Myanmar in September 2017 and has sought refuge in an improvised refugee camp in Bangladesh. Due to a physical disability, she is unable to move from her canvas shelter and is reliant on her daughter for basic care.Read more
More than 500,000 Rohingyas have crossed the Myanmar border and taken refuge in Bangladesh. New arrivals are seeking food and drinking water, access to health care, among other vital needs. Among them are Monowara and her family who have sought safety in a makeshift camp in Bangladesh.Read more
Since the end of August, nearly 400,000 Rohingyas have crossed the Myanmar border and taken refuge in Bangladesh. Joining the estimated 300,000 to 500,000 Rohingyas present in the country, the new arrivals need food and drinking water, access to sanitary facilities, health care, rehabilitation sessions, and other accommodations. Handicap International is responding to this emergency by supplying aid to families with acute needs.Read more
As part of the Growing Together project, supported by the IKEA Foundation, Handicap International promotes early detection, stimulation, and rehabilitation sessions for children to prevent the onset of disabilities and improve their living conditions in refugee camps in Bangladesh, Thailand, and Pakistan. Our teams teach parents, caregivers, and community volunteers how to stimulate young children and promote healthy habits through play and daily activities.Read more
Humanity & Inclusion is committed to supporting people who are fleeing conflict and natural disaster. Whether they are sheltering within their own countries or residing in countries of first asylum as refugees, our teams are hard at work providing basic and specific aid to people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups. Read about our work with refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) as well as our other projects in the 11 countries below.
This life-saving work is possible thanks to the generous support of our donors, as well as key funding agencies such as the U.S. Department of State, IKEA Foundation, among others.
Humanity & Inclusion is an impartial, international aid organization, and we act where needs are greatest. We do not work on refugee resettlement.
When I first met Abul, he was making the finishing touches on a beautiful headboard, sanding down the edges to ensure the finishing was smooth. Prior to working at a carpentry shop in Sitakunda Upazila, a sub-district in rural Bangladesh, Abul spent two hours each day commuting on public transportation to a carpentry shop where he worked as a carpenter.Read more
Child refugees will enjoy inclusive playgrounds thanks to new Handicap International and IKEA Foundation partnership
Growing up in a refugee camp is incredibly difficult, especially if you're a child with a disability. Play is a fundamental right for all children, including refugees. That’s why the IKEA Foundation is supporting Growing Together, a new Handicap International project that gives displaced children in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Thailand the right to be a child.
Handicap International is one of six partners for the new Let's Play for Change campaign, which begins on Children’s Rights Day, Nov. 20. For every children’s book and toy sold in IKEA stores between today and Dec. 24, the IKEA Foundation will donate $1 to support children’s right to play.
“Sadly, many refugee children don’t have the opportunity to be a child,” says Cheryl Shin-Hua Yeam, Handicap International’s regional technical coordinator of the new Growing Together project. "Their right to play is often undermined or not prioritized,” even though the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states that every child should have the right to play.
Play is incredibly important. "Play makes children happy and healthy," Cheryl adds. "It allows them to learn, improves their self-esteem, and helps them to develop important life skills such as empathy, communication, and resilience to stress.”
Handicap International’s Growing Together project directly addresses this pressing issue. Over a four-year period, the project, financed by the IKEA Foundation, will empower children seeking refuge in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Thailand. Staff will create inclusive playgrounds, where vulnerable refugee children can feel safe and develop through an approach that is natural to them: play.
“This will promote their well being and help their personal development to flourish,” Cheryl adds. “Child friendly spaces give refugee children the opportunity to share traumatizing experiences with a professional as well as with each other. Children feel safe. They can relax, smile, play, and just be a child again - essential elements for their mental and physical health.”
Play also helps refugee children address their reality in a productive manner. ”For refugee children, play is a basic need,” Cheryl says. ”What’s more, play is an important tool for them to deal with their difficult situation. Because being a child in a refugee camp doesn’t come easy. Having fled war and violence, refugee children have to deal with difficult backgrounds and face poor living conditions. Play can help them to work through some of their issues and to be a child.”
In Mae La Refugee Camp (Thailand), 40,000 refugees share just one soccer field. “We have no place to play,” says Eike, a ten-year-old who lives in the camp. “We play around the house or around the nearby temple, but that’s far from ideal. And we have no toys.”
Children with disabilities even more excluded from play
According to research from the IKEA Foundation, the funding partner of the Growing Together project, children with mental and physical disabilities are often the most likely to be excluded from play and learning activities. Handicap International, which has been working in refugee camps for 30 years, confirms this. “You don’t see children with disabilities play,” Cheryl says.
“Our safe spaces will be accessible and inclusive so that children of all kinds can come together and learn together: children with and without disabilities, children with learning disorders, mental problems, children who are chronically ill, so on.”
In Mae La Camp in Thailand, on the border of Myanmar, there’s one football field for 40,000 refugees. The narrow steep paths, filled with holes and loose rocks, make it extremely hard for children with disabilities to find a place to play.
The Growing Together project runs for four years, and will empower 13,000 vulnerable boys and girls (0-18 years old) and their families in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Thailand.
Besides the creation of inclusive, educational playgrounds, the project will also pay attention to the youngest children who are at risk of developmental delays. Thanks to early detection and rehabilitation, some disabilities can be prevented, and the lives of children with long-term disabilities can be made more fulfilling. In a safe environment, parents and caregivers will learn how they can support their child to develop and be more independent.
At the same time, the project will engage with local child development service providers to be more responsive to the needs of disabled and vulnerable children, and it will help these organizations implement measures to facilitate the inclusion of these children in schools and communities. The collaboration with local organizations will help ensure the sustainability of the project.
WHERE: FORGOTTEN REFUGEE CAMPS
The refugee camps in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Thailand remain largely forgotten by the world, despite their decades-old existence. Living conditions in the camps are alarming. In Bangladesh, one of the poorest countries in the world, stateless Rohingya refugees struggle to survive, while living in squalid conditions, vulnerable to disease and exploitation. They are categorically denied legal protection and humanitarian assistance. In the Jalozai refugee camp in Pakistan, people face harsh weather conditions, children suffer from poor health, and many people are depressed since they have little to do but stand in line for food distributions. Depression is also very common in the Karen refugee camps in Thailand (Myanmar border), where an estimated 111,000 people rely heavily on humanitarian assistance. Many people were born in the camps and have never set foot outside.
HANDICAP INTERNATIONAL’S EXPERIENCE
Thanks to its work in refugee camps all over the world, Handicap International brings a wealth of experience to the Growing Together project and an extensive knowledge of the region.
Handicap International was founded in Thailand in 1982, to help Cambodian refugees that were injured by landmines. Two years later, our work expanded along the border with Myanmar. In Pakistan since the early 1980s, Handicap International first supported Afghan refugees – today, our work involves helping people who are vulnerable to natural and human disasters. Handicap International has been present in Bangladesh since 1997. Our past actions are an excellent starting point for the Growing Together project: providing community-based rehabilitation, empowering people with disabilities, and supporting their inclusion in local communities.
Also, play has always been an important element in our rehabilitation approach, for it stimulates children to do their exercises and helps them to improve their strength, flexibility, motor skills, and mobility.
FINANCED BY IKEA FOUNDATION
The Growing Together project is financed by IKEA Foundation (the philanthropic arm of INGKA Foundation, the owner of the IKEA Group of companies), and supported by IKEA’s new good cause campaign: Let’s Play for Change. For every children’s book and toy sold in an IKEA store between November 20 and December 24, 2016, the IKEA Foundation will donate €1 to support the Growing Together project and the projects of five other partner organizations.
More info: www.ikeafoundation.org
Removing Barriers (2018)
With support from the Australian Government, this study was carried out between October 2017 and January 2018, in areas with high concentrations of Syrian refugees such as Bekaa and Baalbek-Hermel governorates of Lebanon; and Azraq and Zaatari refugee camps, as well as Irbid in Jordan. We reached 1,665 households, including 1,159 (6,381 people) in Jordan and 506 (2,495 people) in Lebanon. Participants were randomly selected to join the study. The following fact sheets are available:
- Demographics and disability
- Access to services
Study Data can be accessed on the Project Dashboard: https://re.tc/disability_dashboards
This policy paper defines the themes of inclusive disaster risk reduction and explains how these activities fit into our mandate. It also identifies the target population and defines modalities of intervention–standard expected outcomes, standard activities–as well as monitoring and evaluation indicators.
This report is based on the results of a global consultation carried out in 2015, as a contribution to the World Humanitarian Summit and is intended to better identify the changes needed for a disability-inclusive humanitarian response. A total of 769 responses were collected through three online surveys targeting persons with disabilities, disabled people's organizations and humanitarian actors.
The responses show that persons with disabilities are strongly impacted when a crisis occurs: 54% of respondents with disabilities state they have experienced a direct physical impact, sometimes causing new impairments. 27% report that they have been psychologically, physically or sexually abused. Increased psychological stress and/or disorientation are other effects of the crisis for 38% of the respondents with disabilities. To read the full study, click here.
Syria: Equal Access Monitor examines durable solutions for Syrians with specific needs (with HelpAge)
Durable solutions – including local integration and resettlement - have the potential to transform the lives of individual refugees and their families, particularly those with specific needs whether due to disability or old age. Moreover, resettlement is a crucial way that “third countries” can stand in solidarity and assist the countries that are currently bearing the brunt of the economic and infrastructural demands of sheltering the refugees fleeing the ongoing war in Syria.
The disaster response environment in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake represented a complex healthcare challenge. This study was designed to identify challenges during the Haiti disaster response.
This literature review examines epidemiological studies reporting data on spinal cord injury survivors of the 2005 Kashmir earthquake in Pakistan, the 2008 Sichuan earthquake in China, and the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
Inclusion of persons with disabilities and the most vulnerable people in emergency response must be considered a core component of principled and effective humanitarian action. Field experience and observations indicate that persons with disabilities and most vulnerable people are often neglected in the contingency planning, assessment, collection of data, design and delivery of humanitarian relief, making them ‘invisible’ to relief operations.
Older, disabled, and injured Syrian refugees are being doubly victimized as a result of the Syria conflict, according to a new report by Humanity & Inclusion and HelpAge International. The new data show that these vulnerable individuals, as well as those suffering from chronic diseases, are being left in the shadows of the humanitarian responses. View report here.
This manual provides guidance on the design and building of barrier-free emergency shelters that are used within a community following a natural disaster, such as a flood or landslide. View report here.
This manual is intended to build actors' capacities to mainstream disability in disaster risk reduction. View report here.
This publication provides practical ideas and concrete knowledge to include disability issues in disaster management. Although it is based on floods, ideas can be adapted to any type of disaster. View report here.
In Bangladesh, Humanity & Inclusion continues to run programs under the operating name "Handicap International."
As of May 2018, more than 905,000 Rohingya have crossed the Myanmar border and taken refuge in Bangladesh. They are exhausted, frightened, and in desperate need of basic aid, psychosocial support, and rehabilitation care. HI has more than 200 staff on the ground, working to support the most vulnerable, including people with disabilities.
Help ensure critical aid reaches families who have fled with nothing.
HI works to advance the long-term rights and social inclusion of people with disabilities. It is active in physical rehabilitation as well as providing access to quality services and support in isolated areas of the country. In addition, the organization works to improve the qualify of life in refugee camps.
HI has been working in Bangladesh since 1997. Bangladesh is one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world. According to UNHCR, as of December 2017, nearly 953,500 refugees live in Bangladesh. In 2011, the country had 150.5 million inhabitants; 15% of the population lives with a disability and 49.6% of the population lives on less than $1.25 a day. Of the nearly 30,000 NGOs working in the country, around 300 have worked with people with disabilities. As a result, one of HI’s main actions is to build the capacities of local disabled people’s organizations.
- Improving quality of life in refugee camps
- Growing Together project
- Economic inclusion
- Natural disaster risk preparation
- Community based rehabilitation
Improving Quality of Life in Refugee Camps
People with disabilities and vulnerable populations living in refugee camps often face significant barriers to inclusion. Around 2,400 adults and children with disabilities and other vulnerable groups living in and around the Nayapara and Kutupalong camps are receiving rehabilitation services. Rehabilitation sessions enable residents to participate in social, economic, and educational activities.
Growing Together Project
Children with disabilities remain one of the most marginalized groups in the country and very few attend school. As an invisible and stigmatized group, they are more exposed to abuse, exploitation, and negligence. Since 2016 and for a period of four years, the organization’s Growing Together project, supported by IKEA Foundation, will develop accessible and secure play areas for children in refugee camps in Thailand, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. This project will enable 13,000 children with and without disabilities to play, learn and grow up together in a secure and inclusive environment.
HI empowers over 4,000 households of persons with disabilities to lift themselves out of poverty. This project provides support for those persons with disabilities to achieve functional autonomy and access to basic health and social services.
Natural Disaster Risk Preparation
This regional project in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka will help reduce the vulnerability of people living in areas worst affected by natural disasters. The project raises awareness and improves the intervention capacities of local authorities. This project represents the first initiative of its kind at an international level. HI works with multiple partners to achieve effective inclusion of socially excluded groups such as women and people with disabilities.
Community Based Rehabilitation
HI launched a regional project in 2011 involving Bangladesh, Afghanistan, India, and Sri Lanka, which aims to strengthen the rehabilitation sector in South Asia. The project focuses on strengthening the skills of community-based rehabilitation professionals. In Bangladesh, 35 local community-based organizations have improved their knowledge of community-based rehabilitation. A total of 40 professionals in this sector have also been trained in six districts.
HI's previous projects in Bangladesh have included:
In partnership with Bangladesh Legal Aid Services (BLAST), HI builds the capacities of national and local legal service providers in order to improve access to legal assistance for people with disabilities. Through awareness raising and advocacy actions, HI works with disabled people's organizations to expand national knowledge of disability rights and ensure that Bangladesh fully implements the UNCRPD (United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities).
Assistance to the Survivors of the Rana Plaza Collapse
As a result of the devastating collapse of the Rana Plaza Building in Dhaka in 2013 (which caused 1,129 casualties and 2,515 injuries) HI provides physical therapy to people with disabilities who were affected by the incident. The organization has also put in place a sustainable socio-economic recovery project that facilitates employment for those who lost their jobs as a result of the collapse. So far, 100 households including peoples who have sustained a disability during the Rana Plaza collapse have benefited from this project.
Disability Resource Center
The Dhaka Center for Services and Information on Disability (CSID) is providing people with disabilities internet access to promote the rights of people with disabilities. HI is working with CSID to ensure that some 2,500 people with disabilities can access the data and share it with decision-makers, program directors, researchers, students, and other people with disabilities.