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News Release

Take rights and needs
of poor with disabilities into account

July 1, 2005

Christian Blind Mission International's Executive Director Dave McComiskey calls upon G8 leaders to take into account the rights and needs of the poor with disabilities in developing countries.


When we see the emergency distribution of food aid to the poor on the world news, have you noticed that people with disabilities are not in the picture? They are always the forgotten people.

As we celebrate Canada Day weekend in a country that has so much to offer, imagine the billions of people in our world who live in extreme poverty, with disabilities, without enough food to eat, clean water to drink, or access to health care and education.

Commenting on the upcoming Live 8 concert in Barrie, on July 2nd, CBMI's Executive Director, Dave McComiskey stated, "The Live 8 effort is an important initiative to support African development. Hopefully,
the concert will communicate to federal politicians the importance of debt relief, favourable trade relations, good governance, and effective aid for Africa's future."

Christian Blind Mission International, a leading agency concerned with assisting people with disabilities in developing countries and in particular Africa, believes that aid must go beyond the traditional target groups. McComiskey noted that, "Poverty causes disability - and conventional forms of aid will certainly help to prevent disabilities. However, disability also causes poverty and unless people with disabilities are directly helped by development programs, they will remain among the poorest of the poor. These are Africa's forgotten people."

The World Health Organization notes that over 10% of Africans are disabled - half of whom are severely impaired. Nearly 1% of Africans are blind. "Unless, we ensure that these desperately poor people are
included in development plans, little will change for them in the short-run," McComiskey notes.

Former Prime Minister Lester Pearson proposed to the UN in 1996 the idea that rich countries should give 0.7% of their gross national product for global development. Many world leaders and G8 counties
have dropped the ball after endorsing Pearson's proposal. The gap in income inequality is widening. More than 1.2 billion people - one in every five on Earth - survive on less than $1 a day. Women and children comprise an estimated 80% of the 1.2 billion people living on less than $1 per day and living with the heightened risk of disability.

As a leading international organization, we ask all G8 leaders to take into account the rights and needs of the poor with disabilities in developing countries.

Disabled because they're poor - poor because they're disabled.

CBMI is committed to helping people with disabilities living in lesser-developed countries. In addition to preventing blindness and disabilities, and providing medical and rehabilitation assistance, Christian Blind Mission International seeks to be a leading voice for the people they serve.

For further information on this story or interviews.
Please contact;
Lindsay O'Connor
CBMI National Media & Public Relations Manager
Toll Free: 1-800-567-2264 or (905) 640-6464 x 289
loconnor@cbmicanada.org


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