20 years of changing lives – what you’ve achieved

Posted on: Wednesday, 13th January, 2016
Joyce Simon Kaaya has bilateral cataracts and is sticking her thumb up after her operation.

"This year we’re celebrating 20 years of the UK’s support for CBM. Your support has changed millions of lives in the last two decades.

Watch this slideshow to see some of the amazing transformations you’ve brought about:Celebrating 20 years of CBM UK

Here are just a few of the ways that you’ve made a difference:

  1. You have restored sight to millions of people, including Joyce, who can see thanks to CBM’s 10 millionth Cataract operation performed at the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC) in Tanzania, In 2010, Joyce had her sight restored. KCMC is one of 185 hospitals and eye departments which CBM supports. And today CBM enables so many Cataract operations that one person every minute can be cured of blindness.
  2. You helped eliminate River Blindness in Latin America. In 2014, Ecuador became the second country in the world to eliminate River Blindness, a debilitating disease that is one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide. CBM was instrumental in setting up the River Blindness programme in Ecuador and thanks to the generosity of our supporters, CBM provides awareness campaigns, trains medical staff and community workers, and distributes antiparasitic treatment to 119 affected communities.
  3. You have helped us to develop new resources, so people with disabilities are able to access immediate help Recently we have partnered with digital agency Studio 24 who have provided free support to develop ways that mobile phones could help emergency field workers provide humanitarian aid to people with disabilities during natural disasters such as Nepal, who would otherwise be excluded.
  4. You have helped develop new methods of treatment. With your help we have developed world-leading medical technology and trained doctors in the use of non-surgical therapies. Now, children like two month old Jean in Burundi can benefit from a quicker, less painful and more effective treatment for Clubfoot called the Ponsetti technique – a non-surgical method of treating the condition.
  5. You have given a voice to people with disabilities in developing countries. Too often, disabled people in the countries where we work are denied access to their basic rights, such as education and healthcare. Your support has helped train and support people with disabilities and their families to speak up for their rights, while also influencing national and international policy to address the link between poverty and disability, for example by including disability in the Sustainable Development Goals.
  6. You have used your skills and energy to transform lives. By running, baking, knitting and many other activities supporters like you have raised funds for those in desperate need. Robbie Knut raised almost £1,700 for CBM in the Weymouth Triathlon last September. As a trainee doctor and committed Christian, raising money for CBM made sense. “I’m part of a church that is committed to serving Bristol and beyond out of a love for what Jesus has done, so raising money for a charity like this fits in well with that call”.

Our history

CBM’s origins go back to 1908, when German pastor Ernst Christoffel set up a home in Turkey for children who were blind or living with other disabilities. From these small beginnings, the organisation grew, expanding into Africa, Latin America and across Asia in the 1960s and 1970s.

But it wasn’t until 1996 that CBM arrived in the UK, when Dr Bill McAllister, who was the country director for CBM in Kenya returned to the UK to set up CBM UK to inspire the UK to support the work of CBM in the poorest communities of the world.

Kirsty Smith, who took over from Bill McAllister as Chief Executive of CBM UK in 2013 said, “As we celebrate the end of one year and the beginning of the next, we like to take a moment to thank our supporters for the contributions they have made to support some of the world’s poorest people. As we set out on our next two decades, with your continued support, we can build our vision of an inclusive world where all people with disabilities enjoy their human rights and achieve their full potential.”

Together, we’ve achieved some amazing things in the last 20 years. But we’re not there yet.

We are committed to providing more surgeries, supporting more accessible schools, training more medical professionals and responding to more humanitarian disasters. The list goes on. These tasks might sound ambitious, but we know that with your continued commitment, we can build an inclusive world where ALL people with disabilities enjoy their human rights and achieve their potential. Thank you for partnering with us in this work. Here’s to another 20 years of transformed lives."

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