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Celebrating a year of growth and transformation

Patrick Christmas

Reflecting on the past, while looking forward with anticipation to the year ahead

By Patrick Canagasingham, CEO & child sponsor ceo-office@ccfcanada.ca

“When you want to do something, you can do it.”


Digema (pictured below in black shirt), a wise 17-year-old girl from Nicaragua, reminded me of that earlier this year, and it has remained with me as Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC) continued on our journey in 2017. It’s fitting, too, as we’ve become more intentional about listening to and amplifying the voice of the child in the past few months.


Indeed, it’s been a time of transformation since I joined CCFC and my colleagues in April. Since then, we’ve been fortifying our focus on systemic issues and barriers children, youth, families and communities face in the countries where we work.


Although we continue to help the vulnerable access basic needs, such as water, health and education, we’re also eliminating barriers impeding them from realizing their basic human rights. For example, we’re ensuring more girls can go to school.


The goal is to listen to the voices of children and youth who can help us better understand how to improve their lives so we can assist in removing longstanding obstacles to progress.


But, there’s more. We’re also collaborating with partners to address the root causes of mass migration, which is putting children at risk; we’re part of a group improving child rights; and we’re supporting youth around the world, so they have a greater understanding of their rights and use their voices to advocate for their futures, among other initiatives.


Patrick Nicaragua


Youth like Digema are already making a difference. The president of a national girls’ group, which represents 43 municipalities in Nicaragua, was excited to be invited to a United Nations general meeting in New York as the Sustainable Development Goals were conceived in 2015 to “transform our world.” At the meeting, she spoke to her peers struggling with the same challenges she faces and advocates for today — issues such as gender equality, child labour and quality education.


I’m inspired by Digema’s commitment to creating a better world: “I will do everything in my power, everything possible to help my country eradicate [challenging] issues, so we can all live in peace and tranquility,” she said earlier this year.


It’s no surprise I wake up inspired by how our supporters are creating positive change for more than 700,000 children, youth and community members around the globe.


Together with supporters, governments, staff and the children themselves, we believe we can make a difference that will change their world. Do you?


I challenge you to ponder that as we embark on a new year filled with exciting opportunities to evolve as we help more children and youth chase and reach their dreams. Until then, best wishes for a Merry Christmas and blessed new year.

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About Christian Children’s Fund of Canada:

Christian Children’s Fund of Canada works globally to support children and youth who dream of a better world. For nearly 60 years, we’ve brought together diverse people and partnerships, driven by a common belief: education extends beyond the walls of a classroom and is the most powerful tool children can use to change their world. We focus on breaking barriers preventing access to inclusive, quality education for all, especially girls.