HI aims at enhancing access to education for all children, including children with disabilities. It also works to improve the living conditions of people with disabilities and to promote their inclusion in communities. It took immediate action to help victims of the earthquake that hit Nepal on 25 April 2015.
Collapsed building, Nepal - HI | © Wesley Pryor / HI
Actions in process
HI has been present in Nepal for some 15 years. The country, adjoining the Himalayan mountain range, experiences significant seismic activity, particularly in the Kathmandu Valley where 1.5 million people live
HI is working with communities and local authorities, notably by developing emergency plans, and improving alert and evacuation systems. This work takes into account the specific needs of people with disabilities. The organisation is also implementing a system capable of immediately dispatching health professionals (doctors, nurses, and so on) to ensure earthquake victims receive immediate care and treatment.
HI also promotes access to education for children with special education needs, particularly children with disabilities. In addition, the organisation supports five rehabilitation centres in Nepal, enabling thousands of people in the country to benefit from physiotherapy and orthopaedic fitting, and works to improve rehabilitation services in earthquake-affected districts.
The organisation also facilitates the professional inclusion of people with disabilities. It provides personalised support and advice, and helps them to undertake training to practise the professional activity of their choice. The organisation also raises employers' awareness of disability and works with professional inclusion services to meet the specific needs of people with disabilities.
HI works to improve the protection and rights of prisoners and to prevent the mistreatment (including torture) of detainees and the onset of long-term sequelae caused by imprisonment. It also improves the living conditions of prisoners and access to essential services, including water, food and healthcare.
Thanks to its experience in the case management of earthquake victims, the organisation was able to take immediate action to help people affected by the earthquake that hit Nepal on 25th April 2015, which killed more than 8,000 people and injured more than 22,000. HI held more than 10,500 rehabilitation sessions for more than 4,000 people, carried out psychosocial support sessions, and distributed over 2,300 mobility aids (walking frames, wheelchairs, crutches) to more than 2,200 people. The organisation has also distributed over 4,300 basic needs kits. HI continues to help communities, families and people with disabilities affected by the earthquake in order to ensure they benefit from new sources of income and are capable of protecting themselves in the event of a new disaster.
Situation of the country
Nepal, the poorest country in Asia, is highly vulnerable to earthquakes.
The earthquake which hit Nepal on 25 April 2015 killed more than 8,000 people and injured 22,000. Nepal, a country which is highly exposed to the risk of seismic activity, in particular in the valley of Kathmandu, is preparing itself for these disasters.
Over 40% of the population lives below the poverty line. The livelihoods of three-quarters of the population depend on agriculture. Its economic development was hindered by the conflict between the government authorities and Maoist insurgents (1996-2006), who are today integrated into the democratic process. This conflict left 12,000 dead and displaced hundreds of thousands of people. It also left many veterans of the war with disabilities. Today the country is working towards democracy and is in a period of relative stability.
In Nepal, disability is primarily considered a social issue. It is rarely addressed as a public health issue or taken into account in education, health and economic development. An estimated 78% of children with disabilities are not in education (Barriga, 2011) and only 1% of the population with disabilities in Nepal has access to employment.