Handicap International is a non-governmental organisation, working in the field of international solidarity under the French law of 1901 governing non-profit making associations. It was created in 1982 (publication in the Official Journal of the French Republic of 3rd August 1982). The head office is based in Lyons. This French section, founder member of the international movement, initiated the creation of the Belgian section in 1986, the Swiss section in 1996, the German section in 1998, the Luxembourg section in 1998, and the British section in 1999, and two representations in Denmark and the United States. A new section in Canada opened its doors in April 2003. The different sections are working on establishing a federative system, which will enable all parts of the organisation to participate more fully in its development. The programmes in the field are currently implemented by the French and Belgian sections.
Handicap International is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) specialised in the field of disability. It is neither exclusively a development NGO nor exclusively an emergency relief NGO, but exercises its mandate, whatever the context, with the aim of creating sustainable change.
Handicap International works (via its projects) and militates (via its political action), so that people in disabling situations1 may recover their capacity to act, by improving living conditions and by greater social participation. The association's aim is to increase the population's capacity to satisfy its own basic needs and exercise its fundamental rights.
1 'people in disabling situations' has been chosen as the translation of 'personnes en situation de handicap' in an attempt to translate the idea of factors that could result in disability or disadvantage.
The association works in all countries where it can carry out its mission, including Western Europe, but it is more particularly involved in developing countries where poverty accentuates situations of inequality and exclusion, and in countries affected by a natural disaster or armed conflict, contexts which generate disabling situations and psychological distress.
In countries where the association is already working and which are faced with situations of exceptional gravity that destabilise the context or bring to light urgent needs other than those already taken into account in the actions underway, Handicap International may, in response to immediate needs and in order to rapidly restore local capacity, implement actions that are outside of its traditional range of activity : immediate humanitarian response work, secondments or the distribution of material and equipment, etc. These interventions constitute an associative and moral imperative to provide immediate solidarity and require the rapid mobilisation of our resources. They are analysed in detail, in liaison with operators more specialised in these activities who are already on site. Wherever possible, the association also ensures that these interventions are linked with any actions already running in the country concerned, and, more particularly, that they mobilise the network of partners with whom the association is already working.
In more general terms, Handicap International's position is that of one development stakeholder amongst others, both local and international. It exercises its mandate with regard to these other stakeholders. It works to complement or strengthen existing initiatives, in accordance with its values, and to respond to the needs of the population for whom it is working.
Handicap International-Luxembourg was established in 1997, as a section of the Handicap International movement, in order to achieve a Europe-wide presence and to create a potential for acting together in aid of persons with disabilities in developing countries.
The section, in close collaboration with Handicap International-France, will implement in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg the activities of the Disability Mainstreaming in Development Co-operation Policy project.
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