Jean-Baptiste Richardier co-founded Handicap International some 30 years ago to aid Cambodians fleeing the violence in their countries who suffered land mine injuries. Richardier and his partners, including his wife Marie, set up orthopedic centers in refugee camps in Thailand, Burma, Laos and Cambodia. They also provided immediate and practical aid using locally available equipment, as well as trained local teams to help them carry out their work.
The French doctor currently serves as executive director of Handicap International, which over the years has grown into a global non-governmental, nonprofit organization that operates in 63 countries. The organization has also expanded its work and now provides aid to victims of disasters and conflict, engages in efforts to prevent disabilities, campaigns against anti-personnel landmines, and advocates for the rights of people with disabilities, among others.
Richardier won the 2011 Conrad D. Hilton Humanitarian Prize for his organization’s significant contributions to helping alleviate human suffering. True to his mission to serve others, he said he will use this recognition to further highlight the need to assist the population that his organization works with.
“We will, from now on, be in a much stronger position to convince donors to include and to consider the most vulnerable from the onset of an emergency, and to ensure that long-term inclusive development for all becomes the norm rather than the exception,” Richardier said.