Leading Development Organization Working with the World’s Most Vulnerable People Announces Strategic Programming Shift

WATERLOO, ON – February 21, 2019 — Children living in poverty with disability are among the poorest in the world. They are often isolated, cut off from friends, community, education, healthcare and a promising future. To have the greatest impact on the lives of children and allow them to experience real, lasting change, Canadian Christian international agency, Christian Blind Mission (cbm) Canada is announcing a new, God-directed decision that puts children at the centre of all of their disability-inclusive programming.

cbm CanadaWhile cbm has always helped children caught in the cycle of poverty and disability, they haven’t intentionally put them in the centre of their program planning. This strategic shift in focus will allow the organization to ensure young voices are represented in their program priorities and the solutions they design. cbm will continue to fund programs benefiting mothers, granddads and entire families, but their new, ultimate measure of impact will be whether the children in the household are able to go to school, participate in play and form friendships.

“By keeping children at the centre of our work, we’re really going back to our roots. When Ernst Christoffel founded cbm over 110 years ago, he was responding to the needs of children trying to survive on the streets. Children who couldn’t see. Others who couldn’t walk,” said Ed Epp, Executive Director, cbm Canada. “We believe that every child deserves to be loved and valued, to have friends and access to education. As an organization, God has called us to make sure this extends to children surrounded by a great deal of stigma and misunderstanding. Children who are told again and again that they are less valuable and not worth education or medical care.”

cbm will begin to intentionally provide more child-focused disability-inclusive expertise and training to their partners and staff and offer thought leadership to potential funders on the cross-cutting theme of disability inclusion. The organization will also develop child-focused, specialized curriculum with applications in various sectors including healthcare, education, livelihood, and humanitarian assistance.

“With one billion people around the world living with a disability and 80 per cent of those people living in the world’s poorest countries, we know that poverty and disability are inextricably linked. We also know the poorest among these people, are children,” said Epp. “I’ve had the privilege of meeting our young clients whose lives have been impacted by disability inclusive programs. We believe this shift in focus will allow us to tailor these programs allowing our partners, staff, and donors to reach even more children with the message of hope and healing until all people are valued as Jesus values them.”

Interviews with cbm Canada’s Executive Director Ed Epp are available.



About cbm Canada

cbm CanadaFor 110 years, cbm’s faith has driven them to go into the world’s poorest places and communities to work with people living in the most difficult circumstances – those trying to survive the double disadvantage of poverty and disability.

Their doctors, health officers and community workers are passionate about giving hope and healing to children and families trapped by poverty and disability. They do this by providing prevention and medical treatments, rehabilitation and creating equal opportunities in developing countries. Why? Because they believe no one should be forgotten. To learn more, visit https://www.cbmcanada.org/

About Ed Epp

Ed EppEd has worked in International Development for over 25 years, beginning with community-based development in China, Jordan, and Lebanon; regional based management in the Middle East; global management as Director International Operations, and executive management as Vice President Resource Development and Executive Director. During that time Ed worked in three organizations – Mennonite Central Committee, Mennonite Economic Development Associates and currently for cbm Canada as Executive Director.

He has been active in partner development, programs with a disability focus, agricultural and economic development including microfinance, and peace and justice. Ed was born and raised in the Democratic Republic of Congo.