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South Sudan

Handicap International works in this fledgling State, founded in 2011, a theatre of armed conflict, to help the South Sudanese fleeing the fighting, in particular the most vulnerable populations. The organisation mainly provides rehabilitation care and psychosocial support. At the same time, it fights against discrimination targeting people with disabilities.

A camp for displaced people in Juba, Handicap International South Sudan

© Camille Lepage / Handicap International

Our actions

In response to the crisis at the end of 2013, Handicap International adapted the programmes it had been running in the region since 2006.

At the request of partner organisations, keen to better adapt their interventions to people with disabilities, Handicap International's mobile teams have intervened in Yambio, Lankien, Malakal, Bor, Bientu and Yida. Several hundreds of people with disabilities have been able to access services: nearly 3,500 people have benefited from rehabilitation and psychomotricity sessions run by specialists from Handicap International or its partner organisations.

In this crisis situation, many displaced persons in Juba are suffering from stress, anxiety or depression. Handicap International has set up psychosocial support groups to help these people to overcome the trauma they have suffered. This project helps to reduce their anxiety and improve their psychological well-being.

Handicap International is also running development projects in South Sudan. The organisation supports Disabled People's Organisations (DPOs) in promoting the inclusion of people with disabilities in society. Together with the local authorities it is providing individual support for people with disabilities to further their social and economic inclusion. It is also training mental health professionals in the Juba hospital and helping to improve living conditions in the city's prison, where people with intellectual disabilities are imprisoned.

Areas of intervention

Latest stories

African States against the use of explosive weapons in populated areas
© HI
Explosive weapons

African States against the use of explosive weapons in populated areas

From 27th to 28th November, Handicap International (HI) is organising a regional conference on the bombing of civilians. The Conference will take place in Maputo, Mozambique and aims to bring together some 20 States, 10 African civil society organisations and international NGOs. The goal is to raise awareness of this vital challenge among African countries and to encourage them to take action on the world stage to protect civilians from the devastating impact of the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.

Violence and trauma: the mental health needs of South Sudanese refugees
© Philippa Russell/Handicap International
Emergency Health

Violence and trauma: the mental health needs of South Sudanese refugees

More than 1 million people have fled from South Sudan to neighbouring Uganda since the outbreak of civil war in 2013. Many have witnessed or experienced violence, including forced displacement, rape and indiscriminate killing. Handicap International (HI) is providing psychosocial support to respond to the complex and urgent mental health needs of refugees. 

1 million South Sudanese refugees in Uganda
© P.Meinhardt / Handicap International

1 million South Sudanese refugees in Uganda

Since the outbreak of civil war in South Sudan in 2013, Uganda has offered a place of safety to people fleeing from the conflict. On 15th August, the Government of Uganda and the UN Refugee Agency announced that the staggering threshold of 1 million South Sudanese refugees has now been reached. Handicap International (HI) will launch activities to support new arrivals in Uganda this September.


The fledgling Republic of South Sudan, which declared its independence on July 9 2011, has faced a major humanitarian challenge since December 15th, 2013. On that date fighting, based on rivalries between ethnic groups, broke out in the capital Juba between the army, loyal to President Salva Kiir, and troops loyal to his former Vice President, Riek Machar.

Devastation ensued: a wave of acts of violence, massacres, inter-community confrontations, attacks and abductions, which forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee.

Since the beginning of the fighting in December 2013, 1.5 million South Sudanese have been displaced within the country. The internally displaced persons camps in the North are horribly over-crowded. A further 530,000 people have sought refuge abroad.

Handicap International has been working in South Sudan since 2006, notably to improve access to care for people with disabilities (in particular mine victims) and to ensure they are included in development initiatives in the country. 

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