Ukraine | After mine explosion, couple seeks safety at HI partner center
After a mine exploded near their home and they ran out of firewood, Bakanov Serhiy Mykhailovych and Bakanova Natalia Volodymyrivna are now living temporarily at a shelter run by Humanity & Inclusion's partners in Ukraine. They are receiving mental health and rehabilitation care. This is their story.Read more
Ukraine | After missile strike, ‘no light, no water, and no heat supply’
Tamara Yehorova, 89, is internally displaced after a missile struck her apartment building in Ukraine. Humanity & Inclusion's psychologists have helped Tamara overcome her distress. This is her story.Read more
Ukraine | Providing mental health and psychosocial support to survivors of conflict
Survivors of conflict and disaster are at a higher risk for psychological distress. Working alongside local partners in Ukraine, Humanity & Inclusion strengthens mental health and psychosocial support services and provides direct aid to affected communities.Read more
Syria | Psychological first aid critical after traumatic earthquakes
More than 50 mental health and psychosocial support specialists—from HI and local partners—are offering care to survivors of the February 6 earthquake. Mehdi Firouzi, who supervises the psychosocial teams in Syria, explains the benefits of psychological first aid after a tragedy of this magnitude.Read more
Ukraine | Local medical staff offer rehabilitation, psychosocial care
Humanity & Inclusion provides rehabilitation and psychosocial support training sessions to medical professionals at one of its partner centers in Ukraine, the Vinnytsia Medical Rehabilitation Center for children.Read more
Ukraine | ‘My greatest fear was war’
After her worst fears came true, Irina was forced to leave her life in Ukraine behind. Today, she finds comfort in Humanity & Inclusion’s psychosocial support in Moldova.Read more
Haiti | Earthquake survivor receives rehabilitation, psychosocial support
Jean Mario Joseph was seriously injured in the earthquake that struck Haiti in August 2021, requiring his right leg to be amputated. Today, he receives physical rehabilitation and psychosocial support from Humanity & Inclusion.Read more
Kenya | Thwol finds sense of belonging through rehabilitation, psychosocial support
Thwol, 60, had her leg amputated several years ago following complications from diabetes. At the Kalobeyei settlement in Kenya, Humanity & Inclusion offers her rehabilitation, an artificial limb and psychosocial support.
Thwol sits on a quilt, shaded by a tarp at the back of her home made of natural materials at Kalobeyei settlement in Kenya. A large piece of fabric is draped over her lap, with colorful and intricate patterns of beads that she’s added one by one. She counts each line, picking up the correct bead from the small tin beside her, threading it with a needle and placing it meticulously. Chickens, provided to her family by the World Food Program, peck the ground around her.
The beading is something she brought with her from Ethiopia, her home country that she left more than 10 years ago. Beading is “my culture,” she explains, simply.
Beading keeps Thwol busy. The repetition and creativity are therapeutic. The craft has given her a way to connect with her neighbors and generate income. Beading, along with rehabilitation and psychosocial support from Humanity & Inclusion, helped bring Thwol out of a dark place where she found herself after complications from diabetes required doctors to amputate her leg.
Providing artificial limbs
Thwol was living in Dadaab refugee camp in the eastern part of Kenya, when she began to notice peeling and swelling of her right foot. Humanity & Inclusion’s specialists referred her to a hospital, where her leg was amputated below the knee. She was fitted with crutches and an artificial limb.
When Thwol was moved from Dadaab to Kakuma, another refugee camp in northwestern Kenya, Humanity & Inclusion’s specialists working at both camps communicated to ensure she received follow-up care. By the time Thwol arrived at Kakuma, her crutches were in need of repair and she needed a new artificial limb. Humanity & Inclusion’s team equipped her with new crutches right away, and she was added to the list of people awaiting prosthetics-fitting.
“Humanity & Inclusion is the only organization providing prostheses at the camp,” says Andrew Mwangi, Humanity & Inclusion’s prosthetics and orthotics officer. “The funding is never enough for the need."
Humanity & Inclusion can guarantee new artificial limbs for about 25 people living in Kakuma every year. The process from the time a need is identified to when a person begins walking with their new leg can be long.
"We give people crutches first for walking as we strengthen their muscles of the affected limb, then we do stump-shaping and desensitization before booking them for fitting and gait training,” Mwangi adds.
Children need new artificial limbs every six months or so as they grow, though adults can typically get by with repairs in between necessary replacements.
For Thwol, her artificial leg has given her a sense of independence.
“Before, I could not move from one place to another,” she says. “Now, I can go places, to the market, to church.”
Sense of community
Humanity & Inclusion’s psychosocial support team also works with Thwol, helping her to cope with her disability. Through counseling, Thwol came to realize the importance of channeling her energy into something productive like her beadwork.
“She can use her hands to make beading,” explains Wilkister Nyamweya, Humanity & Inclusion’s psychosocial support officer. “She meets with other women—with and without disabilities—to teach them this craft. It’s given her a sense of belonging and satisfaction.”
Thwol pulls herself across the quilt in her backyard, lifting herself into a chair and strapping into her artificial leg.
“My life has changed,” she says. “With all of the help from Humanity & Inclusion, I have a life now. I’m still alive.”
These activities are funded by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.
Ethiopia | ‘We need psychosocial help like we need water’
After her home caught fire in her sleep, Hawa developed emotional stress and feared for her family’s safety. Psychosocial support from Humanity & Inclusion has helped her find peace of mind.
Hawa, 40, is a single mother to eight children. The family lives in a one-room household and depend on Hawa as their sole provider and caretaker.
“Hawa’s home once caught fire while she and her family were inside sleeping,” says Zelalem Ketema, Humanity & Inclusion’s project manager in Ethiopia. “They made it out alive—but before receiving support from Humanity & Inclusion, she had frequent nightmares and didn’t trust anyone new, as she thought they were trying to hurt her family. She was quiet and preferred to be alone. On occasion, she was even aggressive. She would carry her children out of the house on her back and guard them with a stick for defense.”
Accessing mental health support
With help from Humanity & Inclusion, Hawa received psychosocial support, including individual counseling, group consultations and psychosocial education sessions. She also received essential items such as laundry detergent, body soap, jerrycans, a basin and a 5-gallon bucket for her family.
Hawa says that individual counseling services saved her life and her situation has improved. She gradually began to interact with other people and develop a sense of trust for them.
“After receiving individual and group counseling, a significant change in my life occurred,” Hawa explains. “I used to believe that psychosocial support was just a joke, but now I see that it is medicine for people like me. My counselor once told me that we need psychosocial help like we need water daily. I really believe this is true, since the support has transformed me into a mother who cares for her children without worry. I now communicate with others, trust them, and send the kids to school.”
Hawa also attends group counseling sessions and shares her story to help people in the community with similar situations.
“The advice I give to community members who experience similar incidents is to seek information from the Humanity & Inclusion team, particularly psychosocial support,” she continues. “I am happy to help anyone in the same way that Humanity & Inclusion has helped me.”