Handicap International runs projects in Pakistan to mitigate the impact of natural disasters on the most vulnerable groups of people.
© L. Chancenotte / Handicap International
Handicap International is working with the population of Sindh province, where there is a high risk of flooding, to identify solutions to mitigate the risks and consequences of climate-related disasters. Communities are encouraged to perform their own natural disaster risk evaluations and implement evacuation plans (that include people with disabilities) and preventive measures (prevention, alert systems, food stockpiling). In developing this project, Handicap International encourages the active participation of people with disabilities of all kinds (physical, sensory, isolated and elderly people etc.) and seeks to build solidarity between the different communities.
Handicap International works in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, in Northern Pakistan, in order to develop community-based rehabilitation and social care services. The organisation trains local community members to provide basic care to people with disabilities (physical rehabilitation, identification and referral of people with disabilities towards available services).
Since 2016, Handicap International leads the Growing Together project, in partnership with the IKEA foundation. This project aims at creating child-friendly spaces in the refugee camps – these spaces will contribute to the inclusion of all children, with a focus on children with disabilities. Thanks to educational games, artistic activities and sports, Handicap International supports their social and emotional development and their self-esteem as well as social cohesion among children.
Pakistan is hit by national disasters with increasing regularity. In 2005, an earthquake caused 70,000 deaths, with 3 million people displaced. In 2010, flooding on an unprecedented scale affected over 20 million people. Since then, flooding at the end of the monsoon period every year has affected large numbers of people.
At the same time, an armed conflict in north-west Pakistan has forced civilians to flee combat zones and seek refuge in neighbouring regions. Displaced populations including many women, children, older people and people with disabilities are among the most vulnerable people affected by these crises and are often forced to live in appalling conditions.
Handicap International first began working in Pakistan in the early 1980s, supporting Afghan refugees fleeing conflict in their home country. The organisation has also responded to the humanitarian needs of people affected by natural disasters, as was the case following the floods in 2010.