HI launched its first programme in India in 1988, providing technical support to a rehabilitation centre in Puducherry, in the south of India. The organisation subsequently intervened following the earthquake in Gujarat in 2001. It also implemented disaster risk reduction, mine risk education (in Jammu and Kashmir) and rehabilitation activities for people with disabilities. HI has maintained its presence in India, providing technical support to local and international organisations to make them more inclusive. The association now promotes employment of people with disabilities and campaigns for road safety.
A young boy with his mother, Humanity & Inclusion India | © D. Van Ophalvens / Handicap International
HI has resumed activities in India in 2019 through implementing partners. The association is participating into two projects: it promotes employment of people with disabilities in Chennai and Pune; and it also campaigns for road safety in Chennai, targeting school-children and teenagers.
India is a major emerging power and is undergoing rapid growth. However, around 30% of the population still lives below the poverty threshold and the economic and social disparities between the different states in the country are huge.
The country has between 55 and 90 million people with disabilities, who are often the victims of violence and exclusion. They do not benefit from the country's economic development; they have limited access to healthcare, education and employment, and are victims of discrimination. The number of people with disabilities is exacerbated by various factors such as malnutrition, appalling living and working conditions, limited access to healthcare, a lack of hygiene and limited access to information, as well as conflicts in some regions.
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.
Last, the country is highly exposed to natural disasters such as droughts, cyclones, flooding and landslides.