Our story

The story of CBM

Pastor Ernst J Christoffel established the Christian Blind Mission in 1908 in Malatia, Turkey, when he opened a home for blind and otherwise disabled children. His work came to an end when the First World War broke out. Moving to Iran, Christoffel set up two homes – in Tabriz in 1925 and Isfahan in 1928, both catering for blind and disabled children. The Second World War destroyed everything, and Christoffel was imprisoned for three years. In 1951, he returned to Isfahan – despite his advancing years and increasing ill health, he went on helping the disabled, poor and abandoned until his death in 1955.

This legacy of service laid the foundation for what is today one of the leading international organisations for persons with disabilities worldwide. Over time, CBM’s focus has widened from serving blind people to giving all persons with disabilities access to basic healthcare services.

Today, CBM International works in 63 countries around the world to transform lives and strives to remove the barriers that marginalise people with disabilities in the most disadvantaged societies in the world. It does this by working with partner organisations in these regions, by influencing policy at all levels, and by responding to emergencies and natural disasters.


CBM is a Christian international development organisation, committed to improving the quality of life of people with disabilities in the poorest communities of the world irrespective of race, gender or religious belief. Based on its core values and over 100 years of professional expertise, CBM addresses poverty both as a cause and as a consequence of disability, and works in partnership with local and national civil society organisations to create an inclusive society for all.
CBM is a federation composed of 11 national member associations based in Australia, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, New Zealand, South Africa, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States and an international office with a network of regional and country offices that work closely with our partners in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Did you know?

In 2013, CBM and its partners reached more than 10.5 million people in 68 countries. They came from all walks of life and from many different cultures – CBM offers help irrespective of religion and actively promotes inclusion of women and girls.