After losing his left leg to a landmine, Flavio was encouraged by our physiotherapist to take up swimming as part of his rehabilitation. Today Flavio is training to swim for Colombia at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janiero.
On 27 August, Handicap International organised a diploma awards ceremony for 72 graduates of its rehabilitation technician training course. This course - the first of its kind in Haiti - aims at strengthening local rehabilitation skills. During the 2010 earthquake, the country had just 13 physiotherapists. This is a major achievement and opens up new possibilities for the future.
The decision last April by the sitting president to run for a third term created a climate of instability and violence in Burundi. Tensions remain high. Handicap International has made changes to its operations in order to provide support to people affected by the crisis. Catherine Gillet, the director of Handicap International in Burundi, tells us more.
“Disability is not contagious!” 24/09/15
Fatma Wangare had a successful career in the hotel industry. But following the birth of her daughter, who has a learning disability, and the many obstacles she had to overcome to ensure she received care and an education, Fatma decided to take her life in a totally different direction. For the last 11 years, she has been the manager of the Kenya Association of the Intellectually Handicapped (KAIH).
From 25th to 27th September 2015, States are meeting at the United Nations in New York to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) for the period 2015-2030. This marks a decisive turning point in the lives of people with disabilities worldwide, who will now be taken into account in development policies from which they have long been excluded. Handicap International’s awareness raising and advocacy actions have helped bring about this considerable advance.
First conference on the use of explosive weapons in populated areas: the mass bombing of civilians must end. 21/09/15
For the first time, more than twenty States and several international organisations are gathering in Vienna, Austria, on 21 and 22 September 2015, to discuss a political solution aimed at ending the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. Handicap International will make the voice of survivors heard during the conference to ensure States take action against this unacceptable practice.
Since a landmine explosion badly mangled his body, working in the field is impossible for Oberney. That is why the former farmer from Colombia started a local shop with the help of Handicap International. This allows him an income and a future for his two children, who are his greatest motivation to move on with his life. With a shrapnel-filled body, that is never without pain.
An official ceremony held to mark the return to local people of land cleared of mines and explosive remnants of war by Handicap International paid tribute to the organisation’s weapons clearance operations.
Mozambique was officially declared mine-free today. Handicap International, one of the country’s main mine action organisations, hailed the announcement as a victory for the people of Mozambique. Liberated from this threat, which has caused thousands of casualties, Mozambicans can finally look forward to opportunities for growth previously made impossible by the presence of mines.
Christine, 30, lives in West Pokot County, north-west Kenya. She has witnessed first-hand the armed violence that has devastated the region. Today, she is one of Handicap International’s 100 peace representatives working with local communities. Every day, she raises awareness in communities and helps women to learn more about their rights. Over the last year the peace representatives, who were all elected to their role by their local community, have raised the awareness of over 10,000 people.
Dubrovnik conference on cluster munitions: States Parties reiterate the need to systematically condemn all uses of cluster munitions. 11/09/15
The First Review Conference of the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Dubrovnik, Croatia, ends tomorrow/today. The States Parties unanimously adopted a strong political declaration reiterating the need to systematically condemn all uses of cluster munitions. Over the last twelve months, these barbaric weapons have been used in five countries , a situation not previously seen since the treaty entered into force in 2010.
According to the Cluster Munition Monitor 2015 report, launched today in Geneva, cluster munitions have been used in five countries since 1 July 2014. This is the first time these weapons have been used so intensively since the ban treaty entered into force in 2010. The Review Conference in Dubrovnik taking place from 7th to 11th September, attended by States Parties to the Treaty, will provide the international community with an opportunity to redouble its efforts to prevent any further use of cluster munitions. Handicap International is calling on States Parties to systematically condemn the use of these barbaric weapons in order to ensure the treaty continues to protect civilians in the future.
Emergency and rehabilitation specialist Eric Weerts has been lending his support to disabled people’s organisations involved in the humanitarian relief effort in Myanmar. Accompanied by a logistics expert, Eric has managed to visit areas still under water, particularly in the south of the country, in the Irrawaddy river delta.
For the first time since the Ebola epidemic began more than a year ago, no new contaminations have been reported in Sierra Leone for two weeks. This is a very encouraging new development in the fight against the virus, which has already infected nearly 30,000 people (almost half in Sierra Leone), more than 10,000 of whom have died. Magalie Vairetto, who has been working on Handicap International’s Ebola programme since January 2015, tells us more about these hopeful signs and the need to remain vigilant at this stage in the epidemic.
- Sierra Leone