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Handicap International takes action in Indonesia to facilitate access to public services such as schools or health centres for people with disabilities. The organisation encourages their involvement in political and public life. It also ensures that people with disabilities are well-prepared in the event of a natural disaster.

Children playing, Handicap International Indonesia

© Benoit Darrieux / Handicap International

Our actions

Handicap International first started working in Indonesia in January 2005, the day after the Tsunami hit many Asian countries causing several hundred thousand deaths. The organisation immediately came to the assistance of inhabitants of the province of Aceh. It provided them with physiotherapy services, counselling and income-generating activities. Today, its actions focus on the inclusion of people with disabilities and ensuring their rights are upheld.

The rights of people with disabilities

Handicap International supports disabled people's organisations (DPOs) and public institutions to ensure the rights of people with disabilities are better taken into consideration. This involves providing financial and technical support for organisations, in the form of training in awareness-raising and advocacy, for example. The organisation also advises public institutions to ensure public infrastructures and social services are also accessible to people with disabilities.

Natural disaster preparedness

Indonesia is regularly affected by natural disasters: volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, flooding etc. Handicap International continues to support its partners and local stakeholders (sharing knowledge and skills) to include vulnerable groups, including people with disabilities, in disaster preparedness plans. The goal being to reduce the risks, to ensure that people with disabilities are not left out these plans, and to help provide for their basic needs (food and health care) and specific needs (notably rehabilitation) in emergency situations.

Emergencies and food supplies

In the event of a disaster, Handicap International also helps families access new livelihoods, particularly through training in irrigation and the use of seeds. 

Areas of intervention

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Indonesia earthquake: Handicap International assessing needs in worst-affected areas
© Benoit Darrieux / Handicap International

Indonesia earthquake: Handicap International assessing needs in worst-affected areas

More than 90 people were killed and 270 injured after a 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit Indonesia's Aceh province on Wednesday 7th December. Already present in the country, Handicap International is assessing the needs of those affected in preparation for a possible emergency response.


Indonesia is an immense archipelago of 13,803 islands. There are very frequent tsunamis, earthquakes, floods and volcanic eruptions in the region, which have a major impact on populations, in particular on the most vulnerable people.

Because Indonesia is frequently affected by natural disasters, Handicap International supports the most vulnerable people to ensure they are taken into account in emergency responses and in disaster risk management mechanisms.

The ratification of the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by the Indonesian government (October 2011) was the result of intense campaigning by disabled people's organisations (DPO) in the country, actively supported by Handicap International. Handicap International conducted training and provided these organisations with financial assistance to support their advocacy with the Indonesian government. Despite these achievements, there is still progress to be made in order to ensure that the rights of people with disabilities are genuinely taken into account. 

In Indonesia we have observed that:

  • People with disabilities often suffer from discrimination and stigmatisation, notably in the provinces in the east of the country, the remotest and poorest regions. They often live in the shadows, hidden by their families, a fact that only serves to increase the inequalities they face.
  • There are very few competent services available in the medical, social, economic and educational sectors. Staff are poorly qualified and access to these services is difficult for people with disabilities.
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