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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.

Hope and Confidence

September 2021


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

 

Geralda is a woman with a quick wit and an infectious laugh. She has found belonging and the ability to be herself and contribute her gifts at her local church in Archahaie, Haiti. If you stopped by one Sunday, you would find her talking and laughing with the teachers or the pastor.

Ten years ago, Geralda was with a group of people by the side of the road when they were all struck by a moving vehicle. Seven people lost their lives that day and Geralda lost her leg. With a newly acquired disability, she struggled to adjust. She describes herself in those days as having “little confidence or hope”. She dropped out of school and isolated herself.

In 2017, she met people who were part of a local church. “They joked with me and talked with me like people did before I had a disability,” she said.

Through the church, she became connected to Christian Horizons’ sponsorship program. Working together, Geralda found a place to belong – a second home. Sponsorship helps her meet daily basic needs and also made it possible for her to go back to school. Now, at 26, she is finishing high school. She even participated in a local photo contest in her community to show that everyone with disabilities has gifts and is beautiful.

She has come a long way thanks to her spirit of determination, a caring, local church, and faithful sponsors who help her thrive.

Saving to End Poverty (STEP)

September 2021

 

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

Bizunesh received the goats, sheep, and chickens from donors who gave through last year’s Christmas Gift Catalogue. Bizunesh is a local entrepreneur in Bekoji, Ethiopia. She is so thankful to be able to sell her vegetables and livestock to provide for her daughter.

She thinks back to how much has changed in the past few years. When our Ethiopian team first met her, she was a newly single mom struggling to provide for herself and her daughter, Ayantu, who is autistic.

When Ayantu was sponsored through our child sponsorship program, she could finally attend an Inclusive Education school to meet her needs. While her mom and primary caregiver, Bizunesh, was enrolled in our Saving to End Poverty (STEP) program.

As Bizunesh gained financial planning skills, she saved and borrowed funds from her peer-lending group to begin her small business. Now, she is working toward financial independence.

Sponsorship brings stability in tough times

April 2021

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

On the windswept hills on Port-au-Princes outskirts live Dahana and Samitha and their family. Their lives have changed so much over the past few years. After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the girls lived with their mother in Delmas devastated community in the capital city.

In the aftermath of the Earthquake, their father left the family, leaving their mother to support them on her own. At that point, our local church partner in Haiti brought them forward for our
new child sponsorship program. For their mom, it was an answer to her prayers.

The support enabled the girls to attend the Good Seed school
that Christian Horizons funded. In this supportive environment, children were valued and could learn alongside classmates who experienced disabilities.

In 2017, their mother passed away from an illness. She left behind six children, but Dahana and Samitha, being the youngest, were the most vulnerable.

Through this challenging time, the sponsorship program was a constant support. In 2020, their sponsorship was once again a source of security amid the uncertainty. While the pandemic worsened the
an already weak economy and political instability in Haiti, their sponsorship provided the support to continue their education.

Now, Samitha is in Grade 10, enjoys studying, and dreams of becoming a doctor. Dahana, on the other hand, prefers numbers. She is in Grade 9 and is working towards becoming an accountant. Both sisters are very studious because education gives them hope.

Dahana and Samithas mother had a simple dream for her children: education. Donors like you made that dream a reality.

We love sharing stories like these. Earlier we shared this story with Haiti child sponsors via email. If you want to receive updates from your sponsor childs country, send us an email at sponsorship@chglobal.org