Making a Difference: Handicap International—Restoring hope for the hopeless

We live in a world of increasing natural and human disasters—which when they strike, lead to many lost of lives, limbs, and properties. A number of international organizations are working to restore hope by lessoning the effects of these mayhem.

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But only a few of them can be compared to Handicap International (HI). As an international aid organization, HI works in areas of poverty, conflict, and disaster—serving the vulnerable as well as people with disabilities, while advocating the need to protect their human rights

For the nearly three decades, HI has been providing emergency aid to the victims of disasters, including natural disasters and armed conflicts; working in preventing disabilities and disabling diseases; providing identification, treatment and referral for disabling diseases; and providing orthopedic-fitting and rehabilitation of people with disabilities. It has also been promoting educational, social and economic inclusion; campaigning against anti-personnel landmines, cluster munitions and other explosive devices, and promoting the rights of persons with disabilities.

In recognition of its immense humanitarian efforts, HI was decorated in 1992, by the then United Nations Secretary General, in recognition of its contribution to the United Nations program in aid of persons with disabilities. In 1996, HI also received the Nansen Prize and Medal from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, for its ongoing commitment to refugees and the universal nature of its work within the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL).

In 2006, the association received the National Academy of Medicine Award (Paris), 1999, Handicap International was granted United Nations ECOSOC Consultative status, and in 1997, to cap it all, HI was co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize with the NGO members of the ICBL and its coordinator, Jody Williams.

With 4000 employees working on 300 projects in 60 countries, HI is making a difference—by restoring hope to those who have lost hope.

From Alhassan Yusha Babalwaiz, North America Editor, AfricaNewsAnalysis

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