Handicap International works with the Chinese government and civil society partners to provide direct support to the most vulnerable groups in the poorest areas of the country and lobby for more policies targeting those areas. The organization’s projects aim to develop more inclusive development policies and foster greater access for people with disabilities to both the education system and jobs market. Handicap International also runs several rehabilitation programs to aid victims of natural disasters, which are common in parts of the county. Handicap International employs nine national staff and 3 expatriates in China.
Handicap International has been working in China since 2000, following natural disasters in Guangxi, Inner Mongolia, and Heilongjiang provinces. A majority of the 85 million persons with disabilities in China live in poverty and only one third of those needing rehabilitation services have access to care. According to the latest national disability survey conducted in 2006, the mean annual income of people with disabilities in China is more than 50% below the national average.
Though the country has modernized, its rapid development has been accompanied by the emergence of new disparities. One of the most worrying consequences is the growing inequality between China's poor western and interior regions and the rich provinces to the east and south. People with disabilities in these regions are particularly vulnerable.
Furthermore, China is prone to major natural disasters and its provinces are frequently affected by earthquakes and widespread flooding.
POST-EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE AND REHABILITATION
Handicap International reacted quickly to the devastating consequences of the 2008 Wenchuan (Sichuan), 2010 Yushu (Qinghai), and 2014 Yunnan earthquakes. More than 1,000 earthquake survivors received appropriate physical rehabilitation treatments and more than 100 health professionals were trained on modern rehabilitation techniques. In partnership with local hospitals and organizations, Handicap International continues to provide rehabilitation support to earthquake survivors and physical therapy and orthopedic training to rehabilitation workers in Sichuan, Yunnan, and nationally.
To improve the social situation of people with disabilities, Handicap International facilitates inclusion projects in Sichuan, Guangxi, and Yunnan. These projects address inclusive community development, education, and economics. With the help of local partners, Handicap International creates and facilities self-help groups, vocational training, micro-grant programs, and various income-generating activities specifically for individuals with disabilities. Handicap International also runs several programs to specifically bolster the inclusion of persons with mental disabilities in all aspects of community life.
More than 75% of people with disabilities live in rural areas of China where access to public and private services is limited. Handicap International works alongside government and civil society partners in Beijing and nationally to provide direct support to the most vulnerable groups, lobby for more services targeting rural areas, and conduct research, training, and awareness actions in the fields of gender, sexuality, and reproductive health as they intersect with disability. The organization also fosters the development of Disabled Person's Organizations (DPOs) for people with intellectual disabilities and autism, to empower vulnerable populations to advocate on their own behalf.