Handicap International

Handicap International is an independent international aid organisation working in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster. We work alongside disabled and vulnerable people in over 60 countries worldwide.
1 June 2012

Member profile

Handicap International is an independent and impartial aid organization working in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster. We work alongside people with disabilities and vulnerable populations, taking action and bearing witness in order to respond to their essential needs, improve their living conditions and promote respect for their dignity and fundamental rights.

Since its beginnings in 1982, Handicap International has operated in 63 countries. Our work has benefited several million people in that time. There are eight national associations in the Handicap International Federation: Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. Together, they mobilize resources and raise awareness of Handicap International beneficiaries and programs. Handicap International Federation implements these programs.

Main activities

Our vision is of a world where all 650 million people with disabilities can fully access and exercise their human rights.

Respect for the rights of people with disabilities has been at the heart of Handicap International's approach since it was founded in 1982. Almost 30 years on, our organisation is still working and fighting around the world to improve the living conditions of people with disabilities and vulnerable people and to ensure that their fundamental rights, the rights of all, are respected: the right to health, education, employment, accessibility and security...

Together with local partners, we develop programs in health and rehabilitation and social and economic integration. We 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 the disabled through national planning and advocacy.

Handicap International’s actions specifically target:

  • Vulnerable populations and in particular people with disabilities and people living with chronic disabling diseases
  • Populations at risk of diseases, violence or accidents liable to cause disability
  • Refugees, populations living in disaster areas or displaced by crisis, conflicts and catastrophes, especially targeting people who are vulnerable, disabled or injured
  • Populations threatened by weapons, such as landmines and cluster munitions, during or in the aftermath of a conflict

Links to the health workforce crisis

We work extensively in the health sector, particularly in the field of rehabilitation. Since our foundation, we have employed, trained, supported and recognised the vital role that rehabilitation professionals bring in delivering health and wellbeing to populations. We continue to have projects that support rehabilitation professionals such as physiotherapists, prosthetic/orthotic technicians and community based rehabilitation workers. We have also supported the work of national and international bodies representative bodies of rehabilitation professionals and continue to be heavily involved in this sector.

Furthermore HI has projects in health and prevention, which support the capacity building of health professionals to assure equal access to health services for persons with disabilities. We undertake projects in identifying and working with the health sector to address conditions which commonly lead to disability such as diabetes, lymphatic filiriasis and mental health conditions.