– Nearly 100 million disabled children left behind by international aid

Published on: May 30, 2013

UNICEF today published its State of the World’s Children 2013: children with disabilities report, produced with contribution from Handicap International. The report shows that children with disabilities are at greater risk from educational and social exclusion and more likely to suffer from poverty and violence. As Handicap International has witnessed, the situation is increasingly serious in the world’s poorest countries where children with disabilities face specific challenges including armed conflict, natural disasters and humanitarian crises. Despite the acute needs, the nearly 100 million children with disabilities worldwide receive only a very small share of humanitarian aid.

“Almost half our direct beneficiaries are children under 18. Of all the vulnerable people we encounter, they are often the most fragile. In developing countries, nearly 90% of children with disabilities do not have access to the help they need,” explains Ludovic Bourbé from Handicap International. “This situation is totally unacceptable. The report clearly shows that children with disabilities receive an extremely poor level of care in developing countries. But it’s difficult to improve the situation because we currently don’t have the funds to do so.”

According to a study [1] conducted by Handicap International and HelpAge, less than 0.5% of international humanitarian aid is allocated to people with disabilities of all ages. This means that the nearly 100 million children with disabilities worldwide receive only a very small share of humanitarian aid. During humanitarian crises, people with disabilities are faced with specific challenges related to their mobility, such as difficulty accessing basic services like healthcare. Humanitarian aid actors must therefore ensure that sufficient resources are allocated to provide targeted and appropriate assistance to people with disabilities, wherever necessary.

The UNICEF report [2] states that 93 million children under the age of 14 have a disability although, due to gaps in the data, the actual number is likely to be higher. The report contains several recommendations to help end the exclusion of children with disabilities worldwide, including signing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the implementation of its provisions.

Handicap International contributed to the UNICEF report and supports its recommendations, having witnessed the exclusion of children with disabilities across the 61 countries in which it operates. The organisation helps to meet their needs in emergency [3] and development situations through disability prevention, rehabilitation, inclusive education and psychological assistance projects, and by destroying mines and explosive remnants of war, of which children are the main victims [4]. Unfortunately, the funding allocated to this work is insufficient to meet the challenges faced.


  1. Handicap International and HelpAge report: A study of humanitarian financing for older people and people with disabilities, 2010–2011
  2. UNICEF report: The State of the World’s Children 2013: Children with Disabilities
  3. In northern Syria, a quarter of injured people supported by Handicap International are under the age of 12.
  4. In Afghanistan, 68% of victims of mines and explosive remnants of war are children.

Press contact
Tom Shelton, Handicap International UK
Email: media@hi-uk.org
Tel: +44 (0)203 463 2377
Mob: +44 (0)7508 810 520
Interviews and photos available.

About Handicap International
Co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Handicap International is an international aid organisation working in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster. Working alongside people with disabilities and vulnerable populations, we take action and raise awareness in order to respond to their essential needs, improve their living conditions and promote respect for their dignity and fundamental rights. Handicap International is a co-founder of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and the Cluster Munition Coalition.

Source Article from Humanity & Inclusion

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