In 1908, German Pastor Ernst Christoffel travelled to Turkey where he was overwhelmed by the hardship experienced by people living in extreme poverty. Moved by Jesus’s example and compelled by the needs of those living with disabilities in poverty, he established the Christoffel Blindenmission (Christian Blind Mission – now CBM).
Today, CBM Australia shares these foundations, in our unique blend of programs, advocacy and advisory works. CBM Global remains motivated by the example of Jesus, and many of our staff, supporters and partners share this motivation, while many others join with us supporting and driving our work.
Together, we provide hope and seek justice that reaches individuals and creates systematic and sustainable change.
Faith and Hope: We find hope in Jesus and His example of serving all people, regardless of faith, ethnicity or ability; and we find hope in His promise of eternal life for those who live according to God’s will.
This is the hope that motivated Pastor Ernst Christoffel, and continues to propel us to fulfil the mission of CBM. We are able to witness God’s love on earth as we see those caught up in the cycle of poverty and disability experiencing life to the full and reaching for their goals and dreams.
Zechariah 7:10-11 “Treat one another justly, love your neighbours, be compassionate. Don’t take advantage of widows, orphans, visitors, the poor.”
Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”
Ephesians 1:18-19 (partial) “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe…”
Faith and Equality: Like Jesus, we believe that all people are equal, so we don’t discriminate in who we support and work alongside. We are devoted to justice for all, and see this as an expression of God’s Kingdom. We follow Jesus’ example of love for those in greatest need no matter their gender, age, race, religion, or social status. This means that we serve all people in those communities where we work without discrimination.
Faith and Justice: CBM follows the example of Jesus in bringing justice. Our focus is people with disabilities – those in the poorest communities who experience exclusion from family and community life. We want to see inclusion within education and livelihood opportunities, access to healthcare; as well as social, economic and spiritual engagement. We promote the voice of people with disabilities and the inclusion of people with disabilities in our work.
Faith and Transformative Change: CBM believes transformative change happens with and through individuals, families, communities and organisations at local, national and global levels. We see change happen in so many ways in the lives of people with disabilities through our programs and the enrichment of Australian supporters’ experiences. CBM models Jesus’s radical view of justice and how he served others with love. He spent time on the fringes and saw the potential for transformative change where others could not. Many of our supporters and partners share this motivation, while others join us, drawn to the cause and the change they can be part of.
CBM works predominantly with local disabled persons organisations and partner organisations as they are best placed to understand their local context; some are development arms of the local church ministering to the community. We believe our work complements the transformative change sought by the local church, which rightly takes the role of explaining Christian teaching in its community.
We see the ripple of transformative change in our inclusive engagement with supporters, partners and people with disabilities, including in Australia where churches connect with our Luke 14 resources. We continue to seek out and listen to the voices of people with disabilities, including their experiences with their local church.
From CBM Australia’s CEO Jane Edge:
“More than 115 years ago, a German pastor had a vision of a better future for people with disabilities … a vision that embodied the love of God. It’s a love that never gives up as it reaches out to those who are the hardest to reach, the invisible and the forgotten. No-one should be left behind.
Ernst Christoffel was his name, and it was his vision and his faithfulness in stepping out with those first few small acts of mercy that led to the formation of CBM, a Christian international development organisation devoted to transforming the lives of the worlds most overlooked and neglected people, just as Jesus did when He was on earth.
Now CBM is a global leader working with and for people with disabilities in the poorest communities. We invite everyone to join us in this mission. In the words of Luke 14: 13-14: “But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed.”