HI launched its first operation in India in 1988, providing technical support to a community-based rehabilitation centre in Pondicherry, southern India. After launching an emergency response to the Gujarat earthquake in 2001, the organisation developed a more permanent structure in India.
A young girl fitted with prothesis, Humanity & Inclusion India | © D. Van Ophalvens / Handicap International
Actions in process
HI India programme has been working on the following broad areas:
Prevention and Rehabilitation to mainstream disability in public health system; on primary prevention, early identification and intervention of disabilities, assistive technologies, etc.
For now, HI is part of IFRA (INDIAN FORUM ON REHABILITATION FOR ALL), an informal network and HI is part of it. This network is mainly to influence Government of India to improve the quality of rehabilitation services in the country and to increase its coverage and to advocate the need for proposing a resolution on rehabilitation to World Health Organization.
Emergency Response and Disaster Preparedness to ensure that people with disabilities and other vulnerable persons are systematically taken into account. HI started its work in India in the Disaster Risk Management sector in 2001 with the Gujarat earthquake response. Subsequently, HI has implemented response and recovery projects such as the Tsunami response in 2004 and Flood response in Bihar and cyclone Aila between 2007 and 2009. HI implemented its first standalone Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) intervention from 2009 to 2012 in Odisha and West Bengal. HI established itself as a DRR actor with technical expertise on disability inclusive processes and tools. In the states of intervention, HI developed good links with state governments, local and international NGOs working on Disaster Risk Management and with Organizations of Persons with Disabilities.
HI remains a key member of Sphere India and as such regular participates in coordination meetings and joint activities.
Social and Economic Inclusion to promote equal opportunity and participation of people with disabilities, particularly in employment. Currently, HI is working on opening up private sector employment opportunities for people with disabilities (Technical Assistance to MICHELIN). HI is supporting IDEA and SAKSHAM, for a Divyangjan Aspiration Study. The study is aiming at identifying the aspirations of a representative cross-section of persons with disabilities aged 15–40 years in terms of their career choices, expected remuneration, and preferred job location.
Situation of the country
India is considered one of the fastest growing economies if the world. However, it continues to face socio-economic challenges. 21.9 % of its population lives below poverty line and, if the country is categorised as a low middle-income country, according to the World Bank, India accounted for the world's largest number of poor people in 2012 using revised methodology to measure poverty, reflecting its massive population.
As the COVID 19 pandemic and the eventual lockdown wreaked havoc on the economy and livelihoods, around additional 230 million Indians have been pushed into poverty in the past one year, according to a report by Azim Premji University (poverty rate has risen by 15 % and the urban poverty rate was up nearly 20 %).
There are numerous forms of discrimination and social exclusion prevalent in India, notably against women, people from the lowest casts, of different cultures, and from isolated rural zones. People with disabilities are subject to multiple forms of discrimination and are ill-informed about the available social welfare systems. Women are undervalued and experience injustice, particularly when accessing services and the jobs market.
Last, the country is highly exposed to natural disasters such as droughts, cyclones, flooding and landslides.
Number of HI staff members: 5
Date the programme opened: 1988