School and Smiles: Fred’s Story

school children disability cbm canadaWe’re counting down the days until back-to-school, which means many Toronto moms are shopping for school supplies, new clothes and backpacks. If your little one is starting school for the first time this year, you may be worried about how it will go. Will your child make friends? Will they like their teacher, and will their teacher like them? Will they be treated well and enjoy their time at school?

Afraid to Go to School

For children with disabilities who live in poverty in developing nations, those concerns can be much greater. For example, Fred was born with a cleft lip and palate in Uganda. In poor communities, many children like Fred die of malnutrition or infection. Fred was lucky, though – his mother Sissy was determined, and she made sure her son survived. Still, it hasn’t been easy. At six years old, Fred still had difficulty eating. He suffered from frequent ear and throat infections, and was smaller than other children his age. He faced mockery and rejection from other children because of how he looked and talked, and he was too afraid to go to school.

An education is critical for children like Fred living in poverty. Going to school would greatly increase his chance of improving his circumstances. Once again, Fred was fortunate, because he was found by cbm Canada. cbm Canada is a leading international Christian development organization, which focuses on finding and trying to help children who are trapped in the cycle of poverty and disability in the poorest communities of the world. This is harder than you might imagine – children with disabilities are often hidden away and forgotten in the most impoverished parts of the world.

Finding His Smile and Going to School

cbm canada back to school children disability fredFred was found, and he received the surgery he needed to correct his cleft lip and palate. He found his smile, and the confidence to go to school. He also received special training to improve his speech, as well as help to catch up with school. Now that Fred is at school, his mother Sissy can focus more on her work, and bringing in income for her family. His teacher, Mrs. Malirosi, says, “I like Fred a lot. He always pops his head into my office, smiling and waving.”

Through its work with children like Fred, cbm Canada empowers kids to live longer, fuller lives. To further their mission, they’ve set an urgent but attainable goal. By the end of September, 2013 they want to give 1000 children with disabilities the ability, confidence and opportunity to go to school.

Support cbm Canada

You can help cbm Canada to reach its goal in two ways:
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  1. Make an email pledge today, because every child deserves an education. For every 1000 email pledges cbm receives, a generous sponsor will fund one child’s complete care – from identification through to access to education – for one year.
  2. Give a $30 gift. It doesn’t sound like much, but it will allow cbm to find a hidden child with a disability and begin their first, critical steps toward healing.


children disability cbm canadaThis article was sponsored by cbm Canada. Every year, cbm helps over 31 million people in 73 countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. Visit to learn more about how Canadians can help vulnerable children like Fred get to school this September and take their first steps towards self-confidence.

Amber Strocel

Amber Strocel is the Managing Editor of City Mom Now, the parent network of Toronto Mom Now. She is a writer, podcaster, ardent crafter and green mom, who believes strongly in the power of the Internet to connect and empower. You can follow her on her personal blog at

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