Permanent emergency in the Dadaab refugee camp
In July 2011, Handicap International launched its emergency operations in eastern Kenya in response to a massive influx of refugees from Somalia. Fleeing drought and famine in the Horn of Africa, hundreds of thousands of people settled in the Dadaab camp. With a population of 450,000 people, it became the world’s largest refugee camp. Still present in the field, Handicap International provided assistance to 12,000 people in 2015.
A child with his father doing puzzle during a session of psychomotor development in the Dadaab camp | © Handicap International
Handicap International had already been working in Dadaab for five years before this new crisis arose. The organisation immediately set up mobile teams to identify people with disabilities, to direct them to existing basic services and to make sure they received the aid they needed. Three Disability and Vulnerability Focal Points were used to provide them with rehabilitation care and advice, as a place to do practical exercises, and to distribute crutches, wheelchairs, etc.
For more than three years, the organisation has trained refugees to conduct physiotherapy sessions and to reproduce basic movements with patients at home. It raises the awareness of humanitarian organisations on the rights and needs of people with disabilities and provides them with technical support to conduct actions that take into account the needs of people with disabilities. This includes ensuring latrines and water distribution ramps are accessible to people in wheelchairs. It also combats violence towards people with disabilities by recording incidents and providing victims with legal, psychological and medical follow-up.
Handicap International remains committed to the welfare of children with disabilities and organises fun activities for them, such as making Lego models, completing puzzles, putting objects in a bucket, etc., to promote their psychomotor development.