Zawadi Balagizi, 31, is an entrepreneur living in the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya. Through training and mentoring, Humanity & Inclusion’s staff helped her cope with the effects of COVID-19 and expand her small business.
Zawadi was exiled from her family because she has a disability. After first seeking refuge in a church, Zawadi chose to migrate to Kenya.
“I began my journey from the Democratic Republic of Congo to Kenya in April 2018,” Zawadi says. “The main reason I embarked on the journey was to get medical attention at a hospital in Nairobi.”
After arriving in Kenya, Zawadi ran out of financial resources and was transferred to the Kakuma refugee camp. There, she started a small business using her sewing skills to make tablecloths.
When the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted global markets, Zawadi felt the impact as well. She depended on her church congregation to sell her products. Due to social distancing and quarantining, people stopped coming to help her, and her customers dwindled.
Expanding her business
Zawadi met Humanity & Inclusion’s team at the rehabilitation center where she received physical therapy sessions and a wheelchair. Zawadi was also included in HI’s livelihood support project. To help her conduct her business, the organization gave her a smartphone and supported her with counseling and training sessions.
“The support I received from HI has helped me cope with life in Kakuma and the business sector,” Zawadi explains.
Zawadi used the grant money she received from HI to improve the accessibility, expansion, and dignity of her business’ workspace. Thanks to HI’s support and the new skills she acquired during training and mentorship programs, Zawadi saw her living standard and business operations improve.
Zawadi intends to expand her business to provide uniforms, covers, and other fabric materials for a local school. She is hopeful that, with time, she will be able to promote her business on social media and open new branches in the Kakuma refugee camp and nearby Kalobeyei settlement.
These actions are supported by the Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program.
Gina, 13, received surgery and rehabilitation treatment for a hip deformity. Today, she can walk without difficulty and is back at school.
Once they arrived in Jordan, Gina's parents noticed that she was limping and in pain when she walked. After consultations, an orthopedic doctor diagnosed her with hip dysplasia.
“Going to school was very difficult, because my classroom is on the second floor and it was painful to climb the stairs,” Gina explains.
With Humanity & Inclusion’s support, Gina had successful hip surgery in November 2021. After the operation, she spent six weeks at home in a cast.
Gina received rehabilitation treatment three times a week at the Zarka Community Development Center, operated by Humanity & Inclusion's local partner. She also did exercises at home.
Her rehabilitation sessions involved strength and balance training and range of motion exercises. At first, she couldn’t walk on her own and used a walker for short trips and a wheelchair for longer ones.
As her caregiver, Gina's mother was given advice on how to assist her with her day-to-day activities at home.
Three months after starting her rehabilitation exercises, Gina was walking on her own again.
“The home exercises were very effective," Gina says. “Now I can walk on my own again and without pain.”
Gina is ambitious. She is learning Spanish and hopes to be fluent one day. She dreams of being a veterinarian so she can help animals.
“I like to stay at home with my family during the summer holidays,” Gina adds. “We all cook together and sometimes we go swimming. I love that.”
These activities are funded in part by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.
In 2018, Luisa and her young daughter, Alicia, left behind their lives in Venezuela. The mother and daughter are among the many refugees receiving assistance from Humanity & Inclusion in Peru.
After a bout of pneumonia when she was just an infant, Alicia developed cerebral palsy. Humanity & Inclusion provides essential healthcare and mobility equipment to the 6-year-old girl. With a wheelchair and walking frame, Luisa can move Alicia around safely and comfortably while she goes about her daily tasks. The little girl will also soon be attending physical therapy and early childhood stimulation sessions.
Luisa and Alicia received a basket of highly nutritious, non-perishable food—including items such as cornmeal, black beans and oatmeal.
“I hope that Humanity & Inclusion will continue to grow and support children with these pathologies,” Luisa says.
Working alongside refugees in Peru
More than 6 million refugees have left Venezuela due to the political and socio-economic crisis that has ravaged the country since 2013, accounting for the largest population displacement in Latin America in recent history.
After assessing the humanitarian needs of the Venezuelan refugees living in Peru, Humanity & Inclusion began supporting refugees and host communities in 2020. The organization runs mental health projects and provides psychosocial support and food aid for those most in need, including people with disabilities, children and aging individuals.
Following severe floods and landslides on July 27, Humanity & Inclusion is assisting people in Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar.
Humanity & Inclusion is helping thousands of people in need following a powerful monsoon in Bangladesh, a situation complicated by a spike in Covid-19 infections. Eight of the 16 camps where Humanity & Inclusion teams are present are currently affected.
"As I speak, at least eight of the camps hosting refugees—members of the Rohingya minority from Myanmar—are literally drowning. They’ve been devastated by severe floods. Many makeshift shelters and huts, roads and facilities are under water. Several landslides have also been reported," says Rajesh Chandra, Humanity & Inclusion’s program manager in Bangladesh. “On top of this tragic situation, the Covid-19 pandemic is gaining ground: there has been a 20 percent increase in cases over the last two and a half months. The country is in lockdown, which is making it even harder for organizations like ours to provide emergency response.”
According to an initial estimate by Humanity & Inclusion’s teams, several dozen people participating in the organization’s ongoing programs, including people with disabilities, have already been directly affected by the disaster. A flash flood and landslide has caused a critical situation in one of the camps. It is impossible to reach some camps and the situation may spread to others if heavy rain continues.
Humanity & Inclusion teams have worked in the Rohingya refugee camps since 2017 and are actively working to respond to severe flooding affecting thousands of people, including people with disabilities, the elderly, women and children. The organization has deployed its mobile emergency teams in coordination with other actors in the camps. Staff are providing appropriate assistance to affected and injured people, including emergency rehabilitation care, such as care management, physical therapy, the supply of mobility aids and assistance with everyday tasks, as well as emergency psychosocial support and referral to protection services.
Teams are making a rapid assessment to determine the need for food, shelter, and the other essentials. Humanity & Inclusion will continuously adapt its actions to provide targeted and useful assistance to people with disabilities, aging people and the injured by providing them with personal protection or other assistive equipment.
Thanks to its contingency stock, Humanity & Inclusion is already distributing kits containing soap, towels, masks and other items to protect people from Covid-19.
Humanity & Inclusion is also sending a team of civil engineers to assess damage to facilities and houses to identify where repairs need to be made and what response is required.
More than 80 million people in the world are living forcibly displaced from their homes, according to the latest data from the UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency. That number has doubled over the last decade, skyrocketing in the last few years.
Violent conflicts, human rights violations, weather-related disasters and food insecurity are among key factors forcing people to flee their homes.
Among the 80 million people currently displaced, 45.7 million are displaced inside their home country. Humanitarian law differentiates between these individuals, who are referred to as internally displaced people, and refugees, who flee their home and cross a border to seek refuge in another country.
More than two-thirds of all refugees come from just five countries:
- Syria: 6.6 million
- Venezuela: 3.7 million
- Afghanistan: 2.7 million
- South Sudan: 2.3 million
- Myanmar: 1 million
More and more people are displaced for years. For example, the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya was established in 1992 and has grown akin to a small city. With more an 180,000 people living there, it is one of the world’s largest refugee camps. The camp is home to refugees from Sudan, Uganda, Eritrea, Rwanda, Uganda, Ethiopia, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Humanity & Inclusion works alongside people living in the camp and nearby host communities to provide physical rehabilitation services and assistive devices such as wheelchairs and crutches, and improve the living conditions of for refugees, in particular those with disabilities, by ensuring equal access to services, raising awareness of discrimination and building the capacity of staff working with refugees to assess needs.
Displacement of people with disabilities
Approximately 15% of the 80 million people displaced worldwide are living with a disability. Globally, an estimated 12 million people with disabilities have been forcibly displaced from their homes by conflict and persecution.
Forced displacement disproportionately affects people with disabilities, who are often at higher risk of violence, exploitation and abuse, and face barriers to basic services, education and employment.
Having left behind their homes and belongings, many displaced people—including those with disabilities—depend on humanitarian organizations like Humanity & Inclusion to access health care, food, water, shelter and other necessities.
Header image: A man carries his daughter, who is wearing leg braces, through a refugee settlement in Lebanon. They are Syrian refugees. Copyright: Kate Holt/HI, 2021
Inline image: An occupational therapist helps a boy with prosthetic legs use a walker during a rehabilitation session at the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya. Copyright: Patrick Meinhardt/HI, 2019
Nyaduoth, 16, has newfound freedom with her tricycle, along with the chance to go to school. She serves as a shining example to her fellow Nguenyyiel refugee community that with access, anything is possible.
"My life was bad before I met the Humanity & Inclusion team," Nyaduoth says. In fact, she doesn't really like to think about it.
The young girl could not move on her own, was not allowed to go to school, and her own mother believed her disability was a curse from God. Nyaduoth comes from Ochom, a town in South Sudan, and has been living in Ethiopia’s Nguenyyiel refugee camp for several years.
Her life changed when she first got a wheelchair from Humanity & Inclusion and then a tricycle—finally she could move around freely. The Humanity & Inclusion team later convinced her mother that children with disabilities should enroll in school. Thanks to psychosocial support, Nyaduoth has gained more confidence. She's also made friends. She helps her church community and, to her mother’s delight, is a diligent student.
Nyaduoth participates in all of Humanity & Inclusion’s community awareness raising events for disability rights and inclusion, where she boldly shares her own experience. She also works in community outreach for another organization, teaching people in the camp best hygiene practices.
She could only crawl across the floor, whether it was dry as dust or muddy. Going to the bathroom was especially difficult. Nyaduoth’s father died when she was 3, and her mother felt her child was a burden. The local school did not accept her either. Nyaduoth had no opportunity to interact with other children, to learn or to make friends.
A wheelchair from Humanity & Inclusion was her first step toward independence. Next, was training her family and community in understanding that Nyaduoth has the right to choose her path in life, and that children with disabilities must have equal rights, not be discriminated against. Nyaduoth received psychosocial support, a barrier-free toilet and a hand tricycle, with which she can be mobile all by herself.
“Thanks to the tricycle and the support of Humanity & Inclusion, I developed my self-confidence and can now ignore the barriers of my disability,” Nyaduoth explains.
Today, she is a role model for anyone living with a disability. She appears at events and shows that education with a disability is possible. And, her mother no longer equates disability with incapacity.
"I am so happy when I see my daughter moving independently from one place to another," says the mother of seven children.
Her daughter is growing just like all the other girls in the camp. Nyaduoth has a boyfriend, and the young couple has promised to get married and take care of one another.
Image: Nyaduoth sits in her hand-operated tricycle outside her home in a refugee camp in Ethiopia. Copyright: Till Mayer/HI
Humanity & Inclusion is training refugees in the Congolese and Burundian camps on how to make money from waste materials.
Since 2016, Humanity & Inclusion teams in Rwanda have been strengthening environmental protection actions in Congolese and Burundian refugee camps by initiating an Appropriate Paper Technology (APT):
This program helps community members transform waste paper, such as cardboard, into useful products that can be used for commercial purposes. Humanity & Inclusion also teaches them how to recycle waste paper to produce equipment for rehabilitation.
Humanity & Inclusion has trained at least 210 refugees to manufacture rehabilitation equipment including special chairs, corner seats and standing frames. Refugees also produce chairs, stools, cupboards, ceilings, tables to build and equip their homes.
Thanks to the initiative, waste paper is better managed in the overcrowded camps and its impact on health and environment is reduced. It also creates an opportunity for families to generate income and improve their daily routine.
Image: A woman holds a piece of cardboard on a table while a man slices it with a box cutter in Rwanda in 2019. Copyright: Neil Thomas/HI
Saisa developed such serious health issues after being pricked by a poisonous thorn that her leg had to be amputated. Humanity & Inclusion is providing rehabilitation and psychosocial support for Saisa.
Saisa, 10, was attending a birthday party in the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya last year when she was pricked on the left foot by a poisonous thorn. After a week of traditional treatment, Saisa’s condition continue to worsen. Her leg was turning black and her skin was peeling. Her mother took her to the International Rescue Committee hospital, where doctors determined Saisa was experienced gangrene. She was admitted to the hospital and, two days later, her leg was amputated.
After surgery, Humanity & Inclusion’s pediatric rehabilitation workers worked with Saisa to shape her stump, help her manage phantom pain and teach her exercises to expand her range of motion. She also received psychosocial support to process the trauma and grief of losing her leg.
Saisa continues to receive care at Humanity & Inclusion’s rehabilitation center in the refugee camp, focusing on physical exercises to strengthen her muscles and train her balance, as well as psychosocial support to improve her self-esteem.
Soon, Saisa will be equipped with a prosthetic leg. In the meantime, Saisa has learned to walk with crutches. Saisa’s parents and her six siblings are also learning about the stages of grief so they can support Saisa on her journey to recovery.
“Saisa can finally go out and play with her friends without my supervision,” says Rihad, Saisa’s mother. “In the hospital, I was stressed and I thought my daughter had become useless. I never knew that someone would help me. When I went home, the Humanity & Inclusion people came to my house and now my daughter is a person again.”
When schools reopened this year, Humanity & Inclusion made sure Saisa was transferred to an inclusive school within her neighborhood. Her confidence is growing each day, and she has big dreams for her future.
“I want to be a businesswoman when I grow up and sell many things,” Saisa says. “I am very happy that I can go to school now.”
Image: A young girl named Saisa uses crutches as she walks with her friends at the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya. Copyright: HI
Humanity & Inclusion's teams are responding to the unprecedented flooding in Pakistan. With your help, emergency supplies will reach displaced people, including those living with disabilities.
Read the latest updates from HI's emergency response.
Humanity & Inclusion in Pakistan
Our teams have been present in Pakistan since the early 1980s, when our initial efforts prioritized the needs of Afghans refugees. Today our mission has evolved to include issues that emerge from natural disasters as well as supporting people with disabilities and internally displaced individuals.
Along with the country's persistent conflict with the bordering nations, Pakistan is regularly affected by natural disasters. In 2005, an earthquake displaced three million people, and in 2010 more than 20 million people were affected by severe flooding.
Areas of Intervention
- Inclusive education
- Health and prevention
- Disaster risk reduction
- Gender and women's rights
- Disability rights advocacy
Knowing the gaps in service and needs in Pakistan and based on evaluation of more than 30 years delivering development projects in Pakistan, Humanity & Inclusion developed a 5-Year Country Program Framework in 2016 being implemented by our team.
Since 2009, Humanity & Inclusion has been supporting internally displaced people in the northern and southern regions of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Our Past Work
Humanity & Inclusion has been working in Pakistan to foster an inclusive culture and to meet the dynamic needs of communities where we serve.
Read on to learn more about our past work in Pakistan, and consider investing in our future.
Growing Together Project
From 2016 through 2020, the organization’s Growing Together project, supported by IKEA Foundation, developed accessible and secure play areas for children in refugee camps in Thailand, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.
In 2014 and 2015, Humanity & Inclusion implemented two short-term projects focused on increasing access to basic life-saving services for people with disabilities and aging people in Bannu, Lakki Marwat and Karak. More than 9,000 people, particularly persons with disabilities, their caregivers and service providers, were reached.
The Syria Crisis
Jordan hosts more than 672,000 Syrian refugees fleeing conflict. Many arrive having experienced grievous injuries and mental trauma.
In April 2014, a survey conducted in Lebanon and Jordan by Humanity & Inclusion, working in collaboration with HelpAge International, found that 5.7% of refugees–more than 90,000 people–had serious injuries. Moreover, in three out of four cases these injuries will lead to a permanent disability due to their severity and the lack of medical attention. Read the Hidden victims of the Syrian crisis report.
Help Syrian refugees—including those with disabilities and injuries—today.
Humanity & Inclusion in Jordan
Humanity & Inclusion has operated in Jordan since 2006. Our 48-person team provides rehabilitation services to people with disabilities or those injured during the Syrian conflict who have fled to Jordan. Across the country, the organization promotes better recognition of the rights of people with disabilities through inclusive education and livelihood projects.
Areas of Intervention
- Early detection of disabilities
- Inclusive humanitarian action
- Inclusive employment
- Inclusive education
- Disability rights advocacy
Since the summer of 2012, Humanity & Inclusion has been working alongside Syrian refugees and people with disabilities in Jordan.
The organization provides rehabilitation services, including physical therapy and orthopedic equipment services, to people with disabilities or injuries at partner hospitals. The team also provides training to local staff in rehabilitation, as well as mental health and psychosocial support.
Humanity & Inclusion also focus on early detection and early intervention of disabilities among children in order to mitigate the risks of complications. With local partners, teams provide better access to education for all and job opportunities for youth with disabilities. At the end of 2021, the team started inclusive education activities targeting early childhood education.