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.
© Camille Lepage / Handicap International
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.
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.