The Christian Horizons Foundation provides funding to the ongoing work of Christian Horizons in Canada and around the world . We fund projects that further the vision, are strategic in nature, and that can not be funded by governmental grants.
Ninety percent of children with disabilities in the developing world do not have access to education. We believe all children, regardless of ability, have God-given gifts and should have access to education to reach their full potential. We believe all children benefit from learning in an inclusive environment that welcomes children of all abilities. With a major focus on supporting students with disabilities in our global work, inclusive education is key. In each country, we have an approach that matches the needs.
2019 was a successful year for our inclusive education ministry. With the help of the Christian Horizons Foundation, Christian Horizons inclusive education programs grew to include 3,302 students.
This is an increase of over 100 students from last year with a larger number of students with disabilities. Through a program of matching inclusive education donations to Christian Horizons they were able to increase the number of children in the Child Development Unit in Ethiopia to 16. We have also increased the number of students at our inclusive pre-school in Guatemala by a full classroom of 20 students.
In Kenya, Christian Horizons used the matching funds to equip a Special Needs school with computers. In another school they were able to renovate to welcome children with mobility issues as well as to introduce sign language to welcome students who have hearing impairment.
In communities where poverty has increased vulnerability, it is often those with disabilities who are the most vulnerable. Christian Horizons Foundation supports economic programs designed to build capacity for individuals in need including those who have disabilities.
Story of Degefa:
Degefa, who lived in a poor rural area of Ethiopia, was saving for university when he lost his sight in a work-related accident. With his dreams shattered, Degefa etched out a simple living for himself and his new wife, Zenebech, making rope netting to go on hay bales.
Ten years and five children later, Degefa was struggling to make ends meet. As he still had a dream of higher education, he contacted his local education office who suggested he learn Braille. Degefa decided to go back to grade 10 to learn in Braille, with a goal of going to law school one day. There was no school in his area that offered disability training, so he travelled 22 kilometers each day into Asella.
To make the journey each day, his 7-year-old son, Moses, would guide him. These were long days for Moses as they would leave home early in the morning for the three-hour trip and not get home until after 10 pm. Once at the school, Moses would sleep in the back of the classroom. The educators in Asella asked why this boy was always sleeping in the back of the class when he should be attending his own school.
When they heard Degefa’s story, his classmates took up a collection to buy Moses food to help keep his energy up. They also directed him to Christian Horizons Ethiopia for additional help. At this point the family’s situation was dire – they were all suffering from malnutrition.
Thanks to donors like you, we were able to provide the family with a rented house in Asella so that Degefa, and his children, can easily attend school. His two older children became part of our child sponsorship program, which provides them with basic needs and schooling. Degefa says “The children were dusty grey flowers and now they are healthy and blooming.”
In addition, Degefa and Zenebech received business training and seed funds for their businesses. Zenebech has a business making injera, Ethiopian flatbread. With the seed funds, more time to run the businesses and a larger customer base, they will be able to take over the house rental after one year. With what she learned in business training, Zenebech purchased grain at harvest time when it was cheap so that she will have a good store for later in the year when the prices rise. This will allow her to make good profit on her injera. As she reflects on the change in her family she says “I feel like that was a different life. I feel like I have crossed over into another world, a new life.”