Working in Colombia since 1998, Handicap International promotes the full participation in Colombian society of people with disabilities, including victims of internal armed conflict, and their families. The organization also works to ensure that disability issues are taken into account in public policies. Handicap International employs 14 national staff members and two expatriates in Colombia.
As a result of a conflict lasting more than 50 years, combined with drug-trafficking and a soaring crime rate caused by the country’s gaping social inequalities, Colombia has a very high level of armed violence. Conflict zones are littered with mines. According to official figures, more than 11,102 people were killed or maimed by anti-personnel mines and explosive remnants of war between 1990 and 2014—the second highest rate in the world. More than 1,000 victims were children. According to a Handicap International survey, 80% of survivors of armed violence have a disability.
- Functional rehabilitation
- Support for Disabled People's Organizations (DPOs)
- Socio-economic inclusion
- Mine victim assistance
- Emergency support for indigenous communities
With a focus on teenagers and children, Handicap International improves the quality and accessibility of functional rehabilitation and meets the rehabilitation needs of people with disabilities and their families. At the local level, HI staff build the capacities of rehabilitation staff and conduct personalized support for beneficiaries. At the national level, Handicap International promotes national policies to support rehabilitation.
Support for DPOs (Disabled People's Organizations)
The goal of this project is to strengthen the organization of people with disabilities and equip them with the tools they need to become active and vocal members of society. Handicap International provides support by training new disabled people's organizations (DPOs) in database management and communications, as well as helping DPOs establish visual advocacy campaigns to raise awareness about disability rights.
Handicap International promotes the employment of people with disabilities in two departments of Colombia, Meta and Antioquia. Main activities of this project include creating accessible occupational training facilities and improving existing facilities, training DPOs to promote self-employment, and supporting independent entrepreneurship whenever possible.
Mine victim assistance
With the help of various partners, including Fundación REI—HI's partner since 1998—the organization works at community and national levels to improve the living conditions of victims of anti-personnel mines; advancing their rights to medical and psychological care and treatment and ensuring they are involved in each step of their treatment and care. Main activities of this project include building the capacities of public institutions to improve victim assistance services and helping mine victims access aid.
Handicap International plans to contribute to mine clearance in the near future.
Emergency support for Indigenous communities
Handicap International has improved protection and access to food for more than 500 highly vulnerable families affected by armed violence in ten communities in the Antioquia department. It has created shelters, ensured that people have access to food, and set up a program to reorganize agriculture and livestock farming.