October 14, 2010 13:55 ET

Government of Canada Supports the Work of Christian Blind Mission International in Ethiopia

STOUFFVILLE, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 14, 2010) - On behalf of the Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, Paul Calandra, Member of Parliament for Oak Ridges—Markham, today marked World Sight Day by announcing that the Government of Canada will support the efforts of the Christian Blind Mission International (Canada) to help persons with disabilities in Ethiopia. 

"Canada is glad to assist an estimated 4.2 million people with disabilities in Ethiopia. Those with disabilities are the most disadvantaged in the developing world. They are extremely vulnerable to the impacts of poverty and are very often a neglected group in society," said Minister Oda. "Canada's support to Christian Blind Mission International will provide them with the opportunity to break out of the cycle of poverty."

The Poverty Alleviation through Inclusiveness project supports community-based rehabilitation strategies in Ethiopia that will help persons with disabilities, especially children, to have access to primary health care and basic education. Christian Blind Mission (CBM) International will work with local organizations, government, and community leaders to adapt 20 schools for children with disabilities, implement resource centres in 10 other schools, and train teachers in special-needs education.

"Canada is proud to support Christian Blind Mission International, an active member of Vision 2020's global initiative that aims to eliminate avoidable blindness in the next decade," said Mr. Calandra. "This organization shares common values with CIDA, and it has helped thousands of people with disabilities of all types in the last twenty years. I am confident that this new initiative will reach the same level of success." 

Mr. Calandra hosted a reception on Parliament Hill for many organizations that are members of Vision 2020 to help celebrate their successes and heighten awareness of World Sight Day 2010.

The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) will provide $1.85 million to support this initiative. The Christian Blind Mission International initiative is aligned with CIDA's children and youth priority, which includes a focus on maternal, newborn, and child health. The program responds to needs identified in the Government of Ethiopia's National Strategy on Health and Education, and it has the potential to help approximately 4,300 children with disabilities and to benefit 770,000 people, including 350,000 children.

"CBM Canada and CIDA agree that millions of people in Ethiopia are poor because they are disabled, and disabled because they are poor," said Winston Miller, CBM's Director of International Programs. "That is why we are partnering to provide access to health services and basic education, as well as build healthy communities, and to set children with disabilities on a path to overcoming their limitations. Our goal is to empower them physically, economically, and socially to be self-reliant and fully integrated members of their communities."

The World Health Organization's World Sight Day is an annual event focusing on the problem of global blindness. It aims to raise public awareness around the world about the prevention and treatment of loss of vision.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of International Cooperation
    Jessica Fletcher
    Press Secretary
    Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
    Media Relations Office