Violence affects one in three women in their lifetime. Globally, women with disabilities are ten times more likely to experience sexual violence. Over the next three weeks, Humanity & Inclusion will address the violence against women with disabilities at the 71st session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, organized by the United Nations in Geneva from October 22 through November 9.
25 years of work
Humanity & Inclusion implements projects to address violence in six countries around the world by raising women's awareness of their rights and helping them build self-reliance. In Rwanda, HI provides psychological support to victims of physical and sexual violence, including women, and organizes discussion groups. In Rwanda, Burundi, and Kenya, our team works to combat sexual violence against children, including children with disabilities, who are three to four times more likely to be at risk of violence.
Making it Work
HI launched the Making it Work Gender and Disability project to promote good practices in order to eliminate violence against women and girls with disabilities. The aim is to ensure that women's voices are heard and that the risks they face (violence, abuse, and exploitation) are taken into account in the projects implemented by other organizations in the fields of humanitarian action, human rights, feminism, and gender-based violence.
Gender and disability intersectionality in practice: Women and girls with disabilities addressing discrimination and violence in Africa
In June 2018, Humanity & Inclusion's Making it Work project published the report, “Gender and disability intersectionality in practice: Women and girls with disabilities addressing discrimination and violence in Africa,” which presents nine best practices for women’s organizations in six African countries. Women leaders with disabilities presented the report at the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in New York.
Humanity & Inclusion works to prevent violence based on disability, gender and age and its disabling consequences in development and fragile settings, as well as to provide holistic care for survivors of violence, exploitation and abuse. HI’s goal is to ensure that people with disabilities and other at-risk groups are less exposed to violence and can live in dignity, independently, and with control over their own lives. View the flier here.
This committee is the body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
 Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.
The children I recently met in Ethiopia changed me forever. For the past three years, working at HI has allowed me to witness firsthand the impact our projects have made in the lives of millions worldwide. From visiting our projects in Morocco, to my most recent life-changing trip visiting inclusive schools and refugee camps in Ethiopia, I can confidently say to you today, our donors’ support truly makes a difference.
In May, I visited some of HI’s inclusive schools, which were supported by USAID, in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia. There, I met children filled with smiles and excitement, grateful for the opportunity to learn. I saw wheelchair users zip from one class to the next using the ramps we built and teacher’s aides translating the day’s lesson in sign language while students attentively listened and responded, approaching the chalkboard with their answers. It was incredibly beautiful to see the teacher and students working together to mold the future leaders of tomorrow.
While there, I met with 14-year-old Yabsera (pictured left) during his recess break. Yabsera told me, “I’m really happy at this school, especially seeing children like me.” Born with a disability affecting his legs, Yabsera rarely left his family home and only knew life through the experiences of others. Mobility was a major issue for him. He was often carried around by a family member or crawled across the floor at home. That all changed when he met Humanity & Inclusion. Our team provided him with his very first wheelchair, giving him the independence to move around and attend school.
When I asked him about his goals, he told me that he hopes more kids like him can have the opportunity to attend school. When Yabsera sees other children with disabilities in his community, he tells them, “You can have a future, too.”
Globally, 32 million children with disabilities are not in school – children longing to have a future. With support from our donors, we’re working to change this injustice and open the world to children in countries like Ethiopia, Nepal, Burkina Faso, and Laos through our #school4all campaign. Learn more about #school4all and help us send more children like Yabsera to school today.
Written by Reisa V. Tomlinson, U.S. Development Officer
The grazing regions of Oromia and Somali in southern and eastern Ethiopia have witnessed an escalation in inter-ethnic violence in recent months. Since last September, more than one million people have fled their villages and been displaced to hundreds of reception areas. HI is working to protect the most vulnerable individuals, primarily women and children. Fabrice Vandeputte, HI’s head of mission in Ethiopia, explains the causes of the crisis and how our team is responding.
For years, ethnic groups have been fighting over natural resources, especially water and pasture land in the regions of Somali and Oromia in southern and eastern Ethiopia. But the conflict has intensified due to long periods of drought and the famines that have followed them. A disagreement over where the border lies between the two regions also recently turned violent, when hundreds of thousands of people from Oromia living in Somali and even in neighboring Somaliland were forcibly removed to Oromia. The Oromia authorities expelled the Somali population in reprisal.
Where are the displaced people living?
More than one million displaced people, mostly women and children, are currently living in 400 reception areas, such as schools and public buildings, but also with families and the like, on a north-south line from the towns of Jigaga to Moyale, on the border between the Somali and Oromia regions. These population movements are putting a lot of pressure on host communities. For example, one woman we met recently has taken in 50 or so members of her close or extended family. You can imagine the day-to-day problems that causes in terms of sanitary facilities, food, and so on.
What are conditions like for displaced people?
They’re exhausted. Think about it: you’re walking down the street, minding your own business, when you’re suddenly surrounded by police who load you onto a vehicle, and transport you hundreds of miles away from your home region. That’s what’s happened to most displaced people. They’ve lost everything they own. A lot of children even get separated from their parents. Many suffer serious psychological distress.
What are NGOs doing?
Unfortunately, very few humanitarian actors are supported by funding bodies or are able to implement emergency programs. NGOs in the field are finding it hard to launch a response because displaced people are spread across lots of different sites, and you have to find them. Organizing aid for people scattered over a large area is not easy.
What is HI doing?
We’ve set up a program to protect women and children. When people are suddenly displaced in large numbers, and forced together in very poor conditions, it leads to tension and violence, and women and children are usually worst affected. There’s also a heightened risk of rape and child trafficking. In Babile and Kersaa, where we work, we’ve formed mobile teams whose job is to spot risky situations and vulnerable individuals and to refer them to the right services, such as health centers, social services, NGOs, and the like. We’re also opening areas for women and children where they can play or get psychosocial support.
How do you think the crisis will develop over the coming months?
Some observers estimate the number of people who could need humanitarian assistance, displaced people and host communities included, at five to seven million. Very few people are paying attention to this crisis and not enough money has been allocated to it. The basic need for water, food, hygiene and facilities are only just being met. The support provided by funding bodies falls short of what’s needed.
Present in the country since 1986, our team is working to provide support to the displaced as well as improve the quality of and access to physical rehabilitation and orthopedic-fitting services, livelihoods facilities for families of children with disabilities, and assistance for refugees and displaced people, and more.
Your tax-deductible gift supports people facing food and water shortages as a result of the ongoing drought in Africa. With your help, we can provide urgently needed emergency rehabilitation care, food kits, and other essential items, bringing relief to families in desperate need and helping to prevent permanent disabilities caused by malnutrition in children.
Please, join us in supporting the innocent victims of this devastating crisis. Donate now and give them new hope for a better future.
*Any funds raised beyond the needs of our emergency response will be used to support other vital programs in the area and around the world.Donate
Record numbers of people are fleeing war, drought, and famine in South Sudan and Somalia. People with disabilities or injuries are forced to take enormous risks to reach a place of safety. Handicap International is working hard to make sure that thousands of people in similar situations across East Africa receive immediate card and long-term support. Collectively, we have a responsibility to ensure that all refugees live safe, independent, and dignified lives.Read more
2011 was a year of many milestones–personally and professionally. In May, Patrick proposed and of course, I said yes. After celebrating our engagement, we traveled to Kenya and Ghana, where I had speaking engagements–my first ever in Africa! Shortly thereafter, Patrick made his first trip of many to the Philippines, where he met my aunts, uncles, and endless amounts of cousins.Read more
Across East Africa, hundreds of thousands of people are leaving their homes in search of food and security. With so many people on the move and in need of assistance, Handicap International is concerned that vulnerable people–pregnant women, older people, and people with disabilities–may be forgotten. Handicap International program directors in Ethiopia, South Sudan, and Somaliland explain the situation in each country:Read more
Pavi Mfuma, 5, who has cerebral palsy receives rehabilitation from Handicap International in the DRC.Read more
Children gathered at the Bilisuma school in the Oromia region of Ethiopia.Read more
Twenty million people in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia, and northeastern Nigeria have been grappling with a serious food crisis since 2016. Several East African countries have been hit by drought in recent months, including Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Uganda, South Sudan and, to a lesser extent, Tanzania. In some countries, conflicts have caused severe food shortages. Handicap International is preparing to deal with one of the worst humanitarian crises since the Second World War.Read more