Handicap International works to encourage the inclusion of children with disabilities in schools. It also helps protect the most vulnerable children in remote regions and supports villagers to prepare for natural disasters.
© M. Feltner / Handicap International
Actions in process
Handicap International works in four regions and two municipalities of Ethiopia to improve access to primary education for children with disabilities. The organisation implements various actions to achieve this, from raising the disability awareness of teachers to adpapting infrastructure.
The organisation works to protect the most vulnerable children, with or without disabilities, from domestic violence. Teachers in the national education system and parent-teacher associations have their awareness raised of child protection and disability issues. Child protection and well-being campaigns are also run by students and disabled people’s organisations.
The final area in which the organisation takes action in Ethiopia is to train villagers to better prepare for natural disasters.
Situation of the country
Ethiopia is the 18th most densely populated country in the world, with more than 100 million inhabitants. Population numbers are swollen even further by massive and recurrent inflows of refugees, and this worsens an already fragile health situation.
The country frequently takes in people who have been displaced in cross-border movements caused by drought, conflict, political upheavals and civil wars in neighbouring countries (Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan). Drought has also displaced extremely large numbers of people internally. Ethiopia is one of the countries with the largest refugee populations in the world, with more than 600,000 refugees, according to the UNHCR.
The number of refugees has continued to rise due to conflicts in neighbouring countries, and the food crisis in the region which has only become more acute since 2011. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the country will continue to receive asylum seekers from its neighbours because of its geographic location, climatic phenomena, and geopolitical events which frequently affect the region.
There is significant economic growth in Ethiopia. Despite this, the health situation remains fragile and health services limited, in particular those dedicated to people with disabilities. Ethiopia also remains one of the Sub-Saharan countries the most severely affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.