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Rebuilding her life one therapy session at a time

Rebuilding her life one therapy session at a time

Today, Samra, 39, is making her way to Handicap International’s rehabilitation center for a group activity. She walks slowly along the camp tracks before finally reaching the organization’s caravan, where she joins a dozen other Syrian women, all roughly the same age as her. Handicap International staffer Bashayer, who is...

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Mobility for Mawada

Mobility for Mawada

Nader is holding a big package as he approaches a family’s tent in Khazer camp, Iraq, home to tens of thousands displaced Iraqis from Mosul. This is the second time that the Handicap International physical therapist has visited the family, which includes six-year-old Mawada, who has cerebral palsy. “When I...

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200 Feet off the ground

200 Feet off the ground

Throughout elementary school, I was often told to slow down while running on the playground. Teachers didn’t want me to go down the slide or jump off the high dive. I’ve always had an adventurous personality, so being told “no” simply fueled me to try new and exhilarating things.  ...

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“Just as you escape, they get you”

“Just as you escape, they get you”

On February 27, 2017, bombing reached into a new neighborhood in Mosul, closer to a growing family. Warda and her husband Ahmad recognized the danger, scooping up their daughter and fleeing with their relatives. “When we were just a few feet from the edge of the city, a man blew...

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Determined to stand tall

Determined to stand tall

“I’m a shepherd,” Hameed says. “Never in my life did I imagine losing a leg.” On a quiet day in April, Hameed was putting his herd into the field to graze when he came across a petrol can on the road. “I wanted to push it to the roadside, but...

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Advocating for Disability Rights in Nepal

Advocating for Disability Rights in Nepal

This story originally appeared in June 2013. When Shudarson Subedi was studying law, he discovered a free education provision in Nepal’s laws—all people with disabilities would be offered the chance...

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New hope for a new mom

New hope for a new mom

“I hope she doesn’t remember it,” Widad says of her six-month-old daughter while speaking to our teams about her accident in April. “She’s my only child. My husband and I tried for children for six years before she was born. I don’t know if I will be able to have...

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Supporting his daughter's recovery

Supporting his daughter's recovery

“On April 20, fighters came to get us and used us as human shields,” Sarah’s father explains. “Sarah and I were taken to a room in what looked like a deserted house. Suddenly there was a big explosion. I didn’t know whether it came from a tank or aircraft. All...

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Standing tall in Haiti

Standing tall in Haiti

In October 2016, Hurricane Matthew slammed into Haiti, affecting thousands of people. Present in the country since 2010, Handicap International was able to launch immediate response by providing support to vulnerable people such as pregnant woman, older individuals, and people with disabilities. As part of our emergency response, our teams...

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Zeidan’s first ever physical therapy session

Zeidan’s first ever physical therapy session

“The city was under constant attack and I wanted to take my children to safety,” explains Husein. “We walked out in the middle of the night so that no one would see us. I held my mother’s hand, because she has problems walking, while carrying Zeidan on my back. We...

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Deadly floods strike Sri Lanka

Deadly floods strike Sri Lanka

Torrential downpours and flash floods in southwest Sri Lanka over the weekend claimed at least 169 lives. More than half a million people are affected, and 75,000 people have lost their homes and possessions. Handicap International’s emergency response experts and the local team in Sri Lanka are evaluating ways to...

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"Will my legs grow back?"

While lying in his hospital bed, Baker turns to his father and mutters softly, “It hurts, dad. It really hurts.” Just a few days prior to March 21, nine-year-old Baker was playing in the streets with his friends in Mosul when they were hit by a bomb. Baker lost both...

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"Today, I'm walking again"

“I was on the bus on my way home from school,” José explains. “I felt a sharp pain in my leg and wanted to get up to run away, but couldn’t.” In 2000, then 18-year-old José lost his right leg in a mine accident in Colombia. During that time, he...

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Supporting caregivers in Mali

Supporting caregivers in Mali

In April, Jeff Meer, executive director of Handicap International US, travelled to Mali. He met with Kouyate, a father caring for seven children, three of whom live with physical disabilities. In this personal testimony, Jeff describes the difficulties faced by Kouyate and his family and the hope that Handicap International...

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Determined to walk again

Determined to walk again

“Are you ready to walk today?” Fatima, a Handicap International physical therapist asks 11-year-old Abdel Hamid while checking the external fixations on his leg. Abdel’s face lights up with a smile. “You think I can?” he asks. Fatima winks at him, points to a pair of crutches she brought especially...

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A long time coming

A long time coming

2011 was a year of many milestones–personally and professionally. In May, Patrick proposed and of course, I said yes. After celebrating our engagement, we traveled to Kenya and Ghana, where I had speaking engagements–my first ever in Africa! Shortly thereafter, Patrick made his first trip of many to the...

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A one-year-old human shield

A one-year-old human shield

Less than a month ago, one-year-old Ali lived in Mosul, with his brother, sister, and parents. “One day, as we were all sitting at home, armed men came,” Ali’s aunt, Kitba explains. “They gathered us along with some of our neighbors and took us to a school where we were...

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Leaving no one behind

Leaving no one behind

One year ago, Handicap International entered a ground-breaking Charter launched by the UN Secretary-General at the World Humanitarian Summit. The Charter on the inclusion of people with disabilities in humanitarian action generated an historical momentum to engage all stakeholders to commit for disability inclusion. On its first anniversary, we’re...

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Food crisis: Reaching the most vulnerable

Food crisis: Reaching the most vulnerable

Across East Africa, hundreds of thousands of people are leaving their homes in search of food and security. With so many people on the move and in need of assistance, Handicap International is concerned that vulnerable people–pregnant women, older people, and people with disabilities–may be forgotten. Handicap International program directors...

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Expanding emergency response in Mosul

Expanding emergency response in Mosul

“Almost seven months after the start of the military operation to recapture the city of Mosul, more than 12,000 civilians have been injured in the assault or as they tried to escape the fighting,” explains Maud Bellon, Handicap International’s field coordinator for the Mosul emergency response. “More than half come...

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Making friends through rehabilitation

Making friends through rehabilitation

Ahmed’s big sister Jamila pushes his wheelchair toward the rehabilitation center in Jordan's Azraq camp for a physical therapy session. Last year, eight-year-old Ahmed, who has cerebral palsy, along with his five siblings and parents, fled Syria. “We had to leave Ahmed’s wheelchair, and carry him all the way,”...

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Making limbs using 3D printing technology

Making limbs using 3D printing technology

In many low-income and middle-income countries, only 5%-15% of people who require assistive devices, including artificial limbs, have access to them. In areas that are remote or dangerous, specialized health professionals can be scarce and materials expensive. Poorly made or unadjusted artificial limbs can make life uncomfortable for patients by...

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Saving lives on the road

Saving lives on the road

Every year, about 1.27 million people are killed in road crashes and more than 20 million people are seriously injured worldwide. On Global Road Safety Week, May 8-17, the United General Assembly addresses a key risk factor for road traffic deaths and injuries: Speed. Speed contributes to around one-third...

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Djamila: Standing tall in Thailand

Djamila: Standing tall in Thailand

Finding Djamlia In June 2015, four-year-old Djamila’s life changed. Handicap International teams were searching the Mae La refugee camp in Thailand for people with disabilities who needed help when they heard about her case and tracked her down. Born with spina bifida, with paralysis in her lower limbs, Djamila could...

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A brighter future for Freddy

A brighter future for Freddy

"One day, when I was 24 years old, I was with my uncle and we found a long tube,” Freddy explains. “I tapped it with a hammer and it exploded, seriously injuring my hand.” Freddy, along with his wife and daughter lived in the countryside,...

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Africa food crisis: A looming disaster

Africa food crisis: A looming disaster

A severe food crisis is advancing across East Africa, Nigeria, and Yemen, with more than 20 million people at risk. Xavier Duvauchelle, Handicap International’s desk officer for the East Africa region, explains the scale of the disaster and how our teams on the ground are responding. What can you tell...

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Getting Harith back on his feet

Getting Harith back on his feet

The metal external fixations reaching out from nine-year-old Harith’s leg testify to the severity of his accident. “They began bombing our neighborhood late last year,” explains his father, Younes. “One morning, we tried to flee Mosul by car but a rocket fell on us. My brother died instantly and my...

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Colombia: “I picked it up, and it exploded”

Colombia: “I picked it up, and it exploded”

“I didn’t know what it was,” Jemerson explains of the mine he found on the road in May 2015. He was ten, and he and his two cousins were heading to a farm to gather mandarins. “It was an accident. I picked it up with my right hand, then my...

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Surviving the Nepal Earthquake: Ramesh's Story

Surviving the Nepal Earthquake: Ramesh's Story

Ramesh Khatri had both of his legs amputated after a building collapsed on top of him during the 2015 Nepal earthquake. Physical therapist Sunil Pokhrel and the rest of the Handicap International rehabilitation team helped him walk again. Two years later and Ramesh is now training at...

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Breaking the cycle of malnutrition with physical therapy

Breaking the cycle of malnutrition with physical therapy

At least 820,000 children are at risk of developing severe acute malnutrition this year in South Sudan, Somalia, Uganda, and Ethiopia as a result of the food crisis sweeping across regions in Africa. Handicap International is launching new program to help malnourished children. “Simply providing the calories and nutrients is...

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