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CBM UK celebrates 21 years of changing lives

Posted on: Friday, May 19th, 2017

Image: (left to right) CBM Champions Trudie Goodwin and Anne Wafula-Strike with Rt. Hon. Emily Thornberry MP and CBM UK Chief Executive Kirsty Smith.

CBM supporters, volunteers and Champions gathered at The Royal Society in London this week to celebrate 21 years of CBM in the UK. The event was an opportunity to thank supporters, and highlight the urgent need for more to be done to tackle disability in the world’s poorest places.

Large group of people talking to each other“Our 21st birthday is an opportunity to thank our supporters across the UK whose generosity has transformed millions of lives in the world’s poorest places, but also to highlight how much we still need to do”, explains CBM UK Chief Executive Kirsty Smith. “The world has made great strides forward in combating poverty but people with disabilities – 1 in 7 of the world’s population – are being left behind. People still go blind because of conditions that could easily be treated.  Disabled people are still routinely denied the chance to go to school or earn a living and face prejudice and stigma. So while it is very important to celebrate all that we’ve achieved since 1996, we’re also taking this opportunity to share our ambitious plans for the coming years and to inspire people to be part of them.”

Shadow Foreign Secretary the Rt. Hon. Emily Thornberry MP, speaking at the eventIn a truly inspiring speech, Shadow Foreign Secretary and MP Rt. Hon. Emily Thornberry highlighted the need to ensure opportunity and rights for people with disabilities in the world’s poorest places. She described the huge influence of her grandmother, who was blind from birth and later also experienced hearing loss, who “taught us that that disability doesn’t have to impose limits on who you can be or who you can do”.  And yet for too many people with disabilities, particularly in developing countries, stigma, discrimination and barriers to education or healthcare remain a major fact of life.

She emphasised the need for the UK to take a lead in meeting its own obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – a “towering achievement of international human rights law” – while also recognising the huge need to do more to respect the rights of people with disabilities everywhere.  In particular, she highlighted the challenges around invisible disabilities such those caused by mental health conditions.

Concluding her speech, she thanked CBM’s supporters for their generous support of people in the world’s poorest place.

“People who suffer most in civil war, natural disasters or just grinding poverty look to organisations like CBM to provide the help they need most. It has ever been needed more…Smaller, specialist organisations like CBM are the unsung heroes in the fight against global poverty and for human rights. Without your support and generosity the last 21 years’ work wouldn’t have been possible, please give your continued support.”

The event was kindly sponsored by PJ Care (open link in new tab).

Read more of the event coverage on Premier news (open link in new tab) and PosAbility magazine (open link in new tab).

Images © CBM/Mike Lawn