Handicap International

Handicap International

Recipient of the 2011 Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, Handicap International is the largest international NGO of its kind, specializing in assisting all acutely vulnerable populations.

From tragedy to hope

In 1982, two idealistic young doctors were at the Thai-Cambodian border, shocked by the plight of thousands of severely wounded landmine victims living unattended among tens of thousands of refugees. This dire experience motivated Jean-Baptiste Richardier and Claude Simonnot and their wives, Marie and Marie-Eve, to create Handicap International.

Conceived to provide physical rehabilitation to victims left permanently injured by war, their work expanded to include the needs of the broader community of persons with disabilities living in destitute situations, regardless of the cause.

Handicap International is now the largest international NGO of its kind specializing in assisting all acutely vulnerable populations, including individuals disabled by disease, injury, natural disasters, poverty or armed conflict. Services range from clearing landmines to providing artificial limbs, psychological and economic support, and training of local staff. The World Health Organization estimates that 1 billion people (around 15 percent of the world's population) live with disabilities.


Handicap International has a long history of advocacy, having co-founded the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which led to the adoption of the Mine Ban Treaty and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997.  The organization was a leading advocate for the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which became international law in 2008, and it continues to play a major role in its monitoring and implementation.

The Federation

The Handicap International network, which is composed of national associations in Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States, formed the Handicap International Federation in 2010. In three decades, Handicap International has succeeded in influencing the way the world deals with acutely vulnerable populations, particularly persons with disabilities, whenever and wherever a crisis arises.

About Handicap International

More information

Handicap International website

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