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A New Wheelchair for George

Spring 2023

Written by: Mark Wallace, Executive Director of Organizational Culture & International Partners

George has the kind of smile that makes you want to smile too. He was born in Kisinsi village, Uganda, on a lush and vibrant nature reserve most easily accessible by boat.

When George was four years old, he contracted cerebral malaria which led to cerebral palsy (CP). After his recovery, he was no longer able to speak or walk on his own. His mother sought physiotherapy for George, but there was nothing close to home. George’s community raised enough funds to buy him a wheelchair that he used for many years until it was damaged beyond repair. Through our fundraising efforts, we were able to provide George with a new wheelchair, fit to meet his needs!

Achieving Dreams with Education

Spring 2023

Written by: Mark Wallace, Executive Director of Organizational Culture & International Partners

Hermmy is a driven young woman, from a neighbourhood called Canaan, just north of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. We met Hermmy in November 2012, just one month after she flew to Canada to receive a life-saving cardio surgery through the support of United Brethren in Christ Church (UBIC). Shortly after her surgery, Hermmy returned home to Haiti and joined our sponsorship program. Now at 23 years old, she values her education and is eager to graduate and help lift her family out of poverty.

The past two years have been very difficult for Hermmy and her family. Her neighbourhood is under the control of gang members, and in order to continue with her education, Hermmy lives in a different area, away from her parents and three sisters. Despite the challenges, Hermmy pushes on, determined to do well and keep up with her studies. During the week, she attends her classes, and on the weekends, she studies computer repair at the vocational school.

The constant and reliable support of our global programs has let Hermmy dream further into her future, setting long-term goals for herself and her family that she is able to achieve through education.

Hermmy said,

“Being able to attend school is wonderful because that’s where dreams start to unfold.”

Inside an Inclusive Classroom

Spring 2023

Written by: Mark Wallace, Executive Director of Organizational Culture & International Partners

It’s easy to become overwhelmed in a classroom with 25 other pre-schoolers, especially when it’s been over two years since the school has been open and each student is buzzing with nervousness and excitement. At the Horizons Academy in Lake Amatitlán, Guatemala, Alan and Javier sit in a group together with a few other students. Their task at hand: colouring.

Alan and Javier are both neurodivergent, and colouring can be challenging. Alan scribbles his way through his activity book, rushing so he can get to game time afterwards. Javier looks at his blank activity book, only colouring if a teacher or classroom helper gives him specific instructions.

In an inclusive classroom, our teachers and helpers are specially trained to support students with their individual needs. Alan is asked gently to add more to his activity book. His teacher notices Alan’s attention straying, and he reengages him, asking questions like, “what colour are my eyes? What colour are my glasses?” With the extra encouragement to refocus, Alan successfully completes his task.

Javier is also encouraged. His teacher asks Javier to colour in specific objects on the page, and he holds up a few coloured pencils for him to choose from. After a while, he can complete the task on his own.

In inclusive classrooms, children with disabilities learn together with their peers while receiving the support they need to succeed.

Belonging in a Classroom

Fall 2022

Kalkidan and Bahren in Ethiopia - 2022

Written by: Mark Wallace, Executive Director of Organizational Culture & International Partners

In Arsi Robe, Ethiopia, just off the main road, there is an enclosed yard that contains beautiful gardens, a playground, and a school. The entire place is full of children laughing and playing together. This is the Robe Campus of Horizons Academy, an inclusive education school.

Kalkidan and Bahren, two students who are among the laughing children, use wheelchairs and are a part of the child sponsorship program. Both children graduated kindergarten this year alongside their classmates with and without disabilities.

Kalkidan loves her teachers and says that she feels at home with the Christian Horizons Ethiopia team. Bahren was so happy to graduate from senior kindergarten and has goals to continue his hard work.

Along with attending classes during the week, Kalkidan and Bahren also join the Weekend Day Care program hosted at their school. The program offers nutrition and daytime activities for children in the community.

After being asked what they want to be when they grow up, both Kalkidan and Bahren said, “Doctors!”

Thank you to our donors who are allowing these children to follow their dreams.

Growing in Independence

Fall 2022

Sam-Steve in Uganda, 2022

Written by: Mark Wallace, Executive Director of Organizational Culture & International Partners

Christian Horizons Global works in six countries outside of Canada, funding inclusive schools, nutrition programs, and initiating community outreach to educate people about disabilities to promote communities of belonging. Part of our community outreach includes providing assistive devices, like the wheelchair that Sam-Steve received from our partners in Uganda.

Sam-Steve is a 17-year-old living outside Kampala City, Uganda, with his parents and four brothers. He is a high school student who enjoys school. In addition to learning, he also enjoys the weekly discipleship, counselling, and empowerment programs offered by our partners at his school. During a follow-up meeting at his home, we learned that Sam-Steve’s wheelchair was broken beyond repair.

“I entirely relied on my friends to carry me around the school,” said Sam-Steve. He said he realized that it was not only a challenge to him but to his friends and his parents, who had to accompany him to the many programs offered at his school.

Sam-Steve was so excited to be able to go back to school with a wheelchair and the ability to move around by himself. “My prayers have been answered when I didn’t expect to have them answered. Thank you for being the answer to my prayers,” Sam-Steve said when he received his new wheelchair.

We are grateful for the support and generous contributions made to be able to meet this need. Assistive devices can empower people with disabilities to move around their communities more independently. Sam-Steve is grateful for a community of people that are willing to carry him but appreciates that assistive devices allow him to connect with people just as friends and equals.

A Journey of Healing

Fall 2022

Shenaicka in her nursing uniform, Haiti, 2022.

Written by: Mark Wallace, Executive Director of Organizational Culture & International Partners

On a typical day, to catch the motorcycle taxi heading into Tabou, Shenaicka walks through Cite Soleil in Haiti, the place where she grew up. Cite Soleil is a huge city made up of 23 areas. There’s still ongoing construction from the earthquake last August and the people living here are experiencing extreme poverty.

Today is not a typical day. Shenaicka is not in Cite Soleil to catch her taxi. Due to gang violence, she had to flee Cite Soleil to get to safety. A little over a month ago, fresh violence erupted between gangs in Cite Soleil. In one weekend, between rival gang members and innocent by-standers, over fifty people were confirmed killed. Sadly, Shenaicka’s brother was one of them.

With roads closed and limited supplies coming in and out of Cite Soleil, Shenaicka fled by boat to get out of the besieged community. For all of us, and especially for our Haitian partners, it has been sad to see Haiti’s descent into violence over the past few years. Many, like Shenaicka, have their dreams on hold.

We met Shenaicka in 2010 when her grandmother applied for support from our Child Sponsorship Program. She excelled in school and had dreams of becoming a doctor. When Shenaicka’s grandmother passed away in 2017, she started living with her aunt and almost gave up on her dreams. In 2018, however, thanks to her sponsorship funding, Shenaicka decided to save up and pursue nursing training.

Shenaicka’s journey continues to be a difficult one. We are all grieving and praying with her for the day that she can safely return to her community. In the meantime, sponsorship support continues to help her meet her day-to-day needs.