When CBM's founder, Pastor Ernst J. Christoffel, opened the first home for persons with disabilities in 1908, war, disease and uncertainty were eminent - causing untold suffering, disabling many people, and leaving children orphaned. 114 years later, the script reads the same: war, disease, uncertainty, and crises caused by climate change have descended on the world in 2022.
CBM is aware that persons with disabilities suffer the most in times like these and therefore urgently need help. Like our founder, we are committed to reaching out to those who need inclusive services in these difficult times, against all odds.
In 2022, we have not only responded to the immediate needs of persons with disabilities, but we are also building inclusive health and education systems, advocating for policies, and building partnerships that ensure persons with disabilities continue to enjoy their human rights and realise their full potential.
Inclusive Eye Health
This year CBM reached a new milestone: we administered the 600 millionth dose of treatment against neglected tropical diseases to eliminate these diseases that blind and disable.
We are strengthening health systems, including in primary health centres in communities, to ensure that people receive services from equipped health centres near them. In this context, CBM has supported the construction of new eye clinics in Uganda and Kenya and supplied medical equipment to local health centres in 15 countries, including Pakistan.
A new CBM project in Sri Lanka targets diabetic retinopathy. We also awarded scholarships to 22 medical students from Africa to train in ophthalmology.
Community-Based Inclusive Development
Our CBID team ensures that persons with disabilities are respected and equally included in their communities in all aspects of life in the 46 countries where CBM operates. At this year's Global Disability Summit, CBM made 33 commitments to change and do more to include over one billion people with disabilities.
We launched the Inclusive Participation Toolbox to support meaningful inclusion. Rehabilitation projects for people with physical disabilities, including in Cameroon, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Honduras, and Nicaragua, among others, provide treatment, physiotherapy, and medical care. Our CBID project in Cameroon, Sri Lanka, India, and Palestine supports children with disabilities to access inclusive education.
"My students' progress is my motivation and it is priceless."
Sami is no ordinary teacher in Cameroon. She has made it her life's work to teach Braille to children who are blind or have visual impairments, their classmates, and their families.
Reaching Persons with Disabilities in Emergency Situations
We have responded to some of the biggest crises of our time: €4.3 million in humanitarian aid through the European Disability Forum to help people in Ukraine and neighbouring countries. We saved thousands of people and children from starvation in the Turkana region with water and food aid. Our emergency response team responded to flood victims in Pakistan. Around 3,000 households, including families of persons with disabilities, are receiving cash donations to meet their immediate needs.
CBM's Vietnam project was awarded the 2022 Zero Project Award for our work in Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction (DIDRR), which reduces the impact of disasters on affected communities.
Aida an Aid Worker in Niger
"Who will help these women and children if not me? My desire to help them is greater than my fear".
Aida works under difficult conditions in the Tillabéri region of Niger, one of the most dangerous areas in the world. Insecurity and terror are part of everyday life here. The 31-year-old nurse supports a CBM-funded project that helps women with obstetric fistula reach hospitals where they can be operated on and can live a life of dignity.
Advocacy for inclusion
Sustainable change can only happen when policies and plans change and are implemented from the top. That is why we are advocating with governments, policymakers, and international partners for lasting change in the inclusion of persons with disabilities
On the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3 December, CBM called on governments to accelerate their commitments to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and ensure that all opportunities available to everybody should be inclusive and available to all persons with disabilities as well .
Our advocacy work in Rwanda culminated in the launch of the Disability Management Information System (DMIS), which will identify and register all persons with disabilities in Rwanda
In Togo, we supported the establishment of the Forum for the Promotion of Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities. It brings together stakeholders involved in implementing disability-inclusive development in Togo.
Strong Inclusive Partnerships
Strategic partnerships and alliances help us to increase our impact and reach more persons with disabilities. Where we cannot be on the ground, we work with existing local partners to reach persons with disabilities in 46 countries. Our projects are supported by donor partners, for example the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the German Federal Foreign Office, the European Union (EU), UN Women and the US Agency for International Development.
We worked with WHO to review the Global Report on Health Equity for Persons with Disabilities. The report provides a comprehensive analysis of global health challenges and actions that need to be taken to ensure the highest possible standard of health for persons with disabilities.
As part of the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC), CBM, together with the International Disability Alliance (IDA), the Global Action on Disability network (GLAD) and the Global Campaign for Education (GCE), called on policymakers to act now to ensure that 240 million children with disabilities can exercise their right to quality education.
Together with the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, CBM supported the Love Your Eyes campaign, which calls on the public to take time to care for their eyes. CBM calls on governments and institutions to take action to ensure that eye care is accessible, inclusive and affordable for everyone everywhere.