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Inclusion and rights

There are an estimated one billion disabled people worldwide, 80% of whom live in developing countries. Disabled people are commonly the poorest of the poor in society, experiencing social exclusion and discrimination at all levels.

© Johanna de Tessieres/HI


Although many people with disabilities have limited access to healthcare, education, employment, transport and leisure activities, their needs are rarely taken into account.

HI works with people with disabilities, their families, their communities and a range of organisations for a truly inclusive world where people with disabilities have equal opportunities and rights. We work with disabled people to promote inclusion in education, sport and cultural activities, access to employment, and lobbying governments to ensure equal opportunities for people with disabilities.

Inclusive education

Worldwide, more than 32 million disabled children don’t go to school. These children are denied their fundamental right to learn, just because they have a disability.

At HI, we believe that every child has the right to a quality inclusive education. Our work on inclusive education focuses particularly on children with disabilities - the most vulnerable and excluded young learners in the world, concentrating on low-income countries in both development and emergency contexts. Ensuring that all children and young adults with disabilities have access to school is a priority.

With your help, we can ensure that more children with disabilities are included in school. Find out how you can support our global #school4all campaign.

Disability Rights

At Humanity & Inclusion, we believe that people with disabilities should have equal access to rights, opportunities, and services and be protected from discrimination, abuse, and neglect. Sadly, many of the world’s more than one billion people with disabilities are routinely denied even the most basic human rights.

In many of the poorest countries of the world, where disability is treated as a stigma, people with disabilities can face discrimination in all aspects of life. Shunned by their community and excluded from school, employment, healthcare, and other services due to direct discrimination or a lack of physical accessibility or appropriate resources, people with disabilities often live in extreme poverty and isolation. They are also disproportionately affected by physical and sexual violence.

Since HI was founded in 1982, we have been working to promote the rights of disabled people. We actively support Disabled People’s Organisations and other civil society groups around the world to promote the rights of people with disabilities to access quality education, employment, healthcare, and social services.

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Adopted in 2006, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is the first comprehensive human rights treaty of the 21st century. HI was directly involved in the process to develop and promote the UN Convention. This international law now provides a framework for all governments and aid organisations to make sure that disabled people’s rights are included in all policies and practices. The Convention entered into force on 3rd May, 2008.

International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Celebrated on 3rd December every year, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and to mobilise support for the dignity, rights, and well-being of persons with disabilities. Each year the day focuses on a different issue.

Free resources on disability and inclusion

Source, our website for practitioners and academics working in the field of disability, provides free access to resources on disability and inclusion, including books, journals, toolkits and reports. It includes material from developing countries and literature not readily available elsewhere.

Read more

© M. Bacigalupo Vu'/HI


Humanity & Inclusion knows from experience that an artificial limb alone doesn’t change the life of an amputee. Our approach to rehabilitation is based on the recognition of individual needs, taking into account a person’s individual situation, their environment and the local services available.

Health and prevention
© Johanna de Tessieres/HI

Health and prevention

Good health is an essential part of a person's wellbeing and independence. Whether improving access to local health services, working to prevent the causes of disability, or providing psychological support to the survivors of violence and war, all HI's actions serve one purpose: to ensure that everyone, including disabled people, has equal access to information, health services and care.

Disability: The global picture
© Jay Clark/HI

Disability: The global picture

One billion people around the world live with some form of disability, making up around 15% of the global population. The vast majority of people with disabilities live in developing countries.