Supporting people with disabilities

People with disabilities belong to the most marginalized groups in the world. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), about 15% of the world’s population has some form of disability. The DAHW, a worldwide recognized expert in neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), estimates that 1.5 to 2 million cases of disability have been caused by leprosy alone. Since 1957, DAHW supports people with leprosy through rehabilitation measures. Since 2007, the DAHW follows the community-based rehabilitation (CBR) strategy of the WHO expanding its support to all disabled members in their respective community.

Our approach

Since more than 50 years, DAHW brings a lasting change to the quality of life of people with disabilities through practical support and by influencing government policies. In practice, DAHW provides capacity building and organisational assistance to self-help groups (SHGs) and disabled persons Organisations (DPOs) until they can sustain themselves. Since 2014, DAHW has incorporated investments in applied social research in its strategy. Target groups are children, elderly, disabled people organisations as well as CBR field staff. Additional research aims to improve service delivery.

Where we work

  • Transformation of a large micro credit scheme managed by DAHW into small schemes managed by Disabled Persons Organisations (Tanzania, Ethiopia)
  • Poverty reduction programmes through micro-credits or one-time grants ( Ethiopia, Uganda)
  • Integration of people in leprosy settlements into the communities (Tanzania)
  • Combating poverty through agricultural development (providing seeds, fertilizers and ‘know-how’) for small landholders (Nigeria)
  • Meeting the needs of people with disabilities during flood relief and reconstruction work (Pakistan)
  • Educational assistance and business skills training for persons with disabilities (Sierra Leone, Tanzania, India)
  • Empowerment of persons with disabilities through formation of self-help groups and disabled persons organizations (Ethiopia, Nepal)
  • Training persons affected by leprosy as health ‘assistants’ for case finding and follow ups after treatment (Senegal, Nepal)
  • Advocacy and lobbying to change discriminatory policies ( Senegal, Nepal)

Facts & Figures

Since 1957, DAHW has supported more than 2 million people with disabilities. It combines interventions for empowerment with social inclusion. It funds applied research supporting six projects since 2014. DAHW supports projects in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Its offices are managed by local staff cooperating with governmental health departments and local and international partners in the health and social fields. Partners & Networks

Partners & Networks:

IDDC (International Disability and Development Consortium) through ILEP (International federation of Anti-Leprosy Associations), VENRO-Disability and Development, Enablement-The Netherlands, national networks with numerous Disabled people organizations (DPOs), through its network, the DAHW is also represented in various working groups of WHO on policy development.