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May '10

Tuesday 27 April 2010

Business Development Spawns Self-Reliance

Ed Sider

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Christian Horizons was established in 1965 to ensure that adequate support was available to families with children with exceptional needs in Ontario. Today, CH supports 1450 individuals in 225 supportive settings in Ontario. In 2005 CH made a key decision to expand beyond the borders of Ontario. Today, CH Global supports approximately 75000 individuals in 12 countries.

CH Global focuses in the areas of education, children’s services, literacy training and micro-enterprise. Today, I will talk about micro enterprise.

I want you to consider the enormous subject of creating employment opportunities for mothers, fathers and young adults in countries where they struggle with 60-70 and 80 % unemployment with NO government intervention.

Nationwares, a division of CH Global is instrumental in developing employment opportunities – for both local and international markets. Products that are saleable in North America are designed in remote villages and cities in Ethiopia, Guatemala, Sri Lanka, Sudan.

Seed money, through a loan is provided to the budding entrepreneur to purchase equipment and material to produce products. Loans are repaid at a 98% success rate.

The production of these products provides an income for a family so that children attend school, and receive medical care, food and other essentials. It restores dignity and personal pride through the mechanism of fair trade.

Let’s journey to a small fishing village in Guatemala, where pollution has destroyed the fishing industry and left a community with chronic unemployment. Here a father has developed a jade business that includes the training of young mothers to assemble beautiful necklaces that are exported to Canada.

Through a second project, journals are produced in Guatemala by a young man who as a child lived on the dirt paths of mountainous terrain. Hearing and speech impairment, Raul was abandoned and abused. Today he is an independent businessman who makes leather journals and portfolios. He stands proud and anxious for more orders.

Sometimes as we look at the world, the needs seem insurmountable. They aren’t. Not as you invest in ONE person – change one life – family – community.

I have a conviction that each life of 6.81 billion people is worth the value of the entire world. I think that of my wife Nancy, my three children, my grandchildren! Every child in the world is someone’s son, daughter, brother or sister.

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