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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.

Irma: Finding a Loving Family

Spring 2022


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

When the doorbell rings at Irma’s home in San Cristóbal, she eagerly rushes to unlock the gate to greet whoever is there. She has a warm and shy smile and is always willing to help around the group home she shares with Johanna and Blanca, her housemates who are like sisters. Irma has a developmental disability. In the last two decades, Christian Horizons Global has transitioned away from group homes toward community-based supported independent living and supporting families. When we first started our work in Guatemala over 30 years ago, group homes were the standard of care for people who experience disabilities. We quickly discovered that broader community development was needed.

Irma’s home is the last remaining group home in Christian Horizons Global. Irma has come a long way since we first met. In 2001, Irma was found alone in Guatemala City. She was fourteen years old. Through the group home, she has found a safe environment where she can use her gifts to serve others. She was able to go to school, and she now lives with a sense of purpose within the group home. Irma loves to help around her home, take care of the dogs, and support Johanna in moving around the house using her wheelchair.

Though Irma is no longer in school, she is still a part of our child sponsorship program because of her support needs.

We are looking at the next steps for Irma as she would benefit from a family home support situation. We are thankful for the support she has had and what the future holds.

Jethro: Breaking the Stigma

Spring 2022


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

Jethro is an eight-year-old boy living in Central Uganda. Jethro and his family, like so many others, are facing significant financial hardships because of the pandemic. Through generous donations, we are able to provide food and other necessities.

Early on in his life, Jethro showed signs of a disability affecting his speech. His parents were overwhelmed by this, separated, and Jethro was sent to live with his grandmother and one of his older sisters in a different village.

Around the world, it is very common for families to split apart because of the stigma attached to disabilities. Though Jethro does not speak, he communicates with facial expressions and is a joyful child.

His grandmother took him to a nearby pre-primary school, but it did not have the proper resources to meet his needs. Our partners in Uganda are working to support local schools to be inclusive at all levels so that Jethro, and other children who experience disabilities, can learn alongside their peers. We are also working with the church, school, local leaders, and local radio shows to spread awareness about people who experience disabilities to help break the existing stigma.

It is imperative that children of all abilities can learn together. It is also vital that people who experience disabilities are valued for their gifts and contributions. In the meantime, our partners in Uganda are working to connect Jethro to a speech therapist while they continue to meet his everyday needs.

Beza: Education and Empowerment

Spring 2022


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

The roads leading to Woldia University in Asella, Ethiopia, are a vibrant place to be. Pockets of students gather, laughing and joking together on their way to class. You may hear students debating the finer points of an assignment before stopping at the print shop close by to print their project to meet a deadline. Sitting at a desk behind a computer, we can find Beza, hard at work at the printing shop that she owns and operates, thanks to charitable giving through our child sponsorship program.

Christian Horizons Global met Beza in 2007 when she was referred to us by local community leaders who identified her needs. She had lost a parent, and her family was struggling. Our child sponsorship program has an education component so families receiving support can prioritize school and its benefits to their child and their community.

The support and encouragement of Beza’s sponsorship allowed her to learn in an inclusive school in Asella.

After completing high school, she developed a new dream and went to Woldia University, studying History and Heritage. Throughout her post-secondary learning, Beza found a way to give back to her community by volunteering with the Christian Horizons Ethiopia Team in her town.

After graduation, Beza faced the new challenge of finding employment. Because of her education, the business training she received as part of the sponsorship program, and the imagination God gave her, she was prepared for the challenge. Rather than waiting for an employment opportunity to come to her, Beza put her education to use and sought support to start her own business. She was eligible for a business loan from the Christian Horizons Ethiopia Revolving Loan Program and opened her printing shop.

Beza’s education and the generosity of donors like you empowered her to become a businesswoman and to give back to her community.