“A hungry man is an angry man”, they say, and Ajugboul has seen that firsthand.
The elderly woman lives in one of the remote villages surrounding our Wa site in Ghana, and used to quarrel with her two grandsons over not having enough food to eat. The boys were abandoned by their parents, and finding them enough to eat was a struggle for Ajugboul.
They were always stuck at home, not even enrolled in school. For the sake of Ajugboul and her boys, some kind of intervention was needed.
Around the same time, word of the Chalice Nutrition Program in school was spreading. When the boys caught wind of the news, it was clear a solution was in sight.
“Love begins by taking care of the closest ones – the ones at home.” – St. Mother Teresa
A simple roof over your head can make any place feel like home, with the knowledge you’re protected from the surrounding winds of the world. But for numerous families, like the ones living near our Samar site in the Philippines, that safety isn’t a reality.
Houses in the area are often made of coconut lumber and woven frond shingles, materials that don’t keep out the regular rain and windstorms. Many families, including sponsored ones, struggle with inadequate space and insufficient finances. A new home isn’t in the cards.
Andrea and Leanard live in a small home made of light materials, and when not in school, love helping their parents around the house. They’re budding fishers, regularly heading out with their dad Joel to catch a few big ones. Their mother Lucia is a strong-willed and jolly woman, with a penchant for helping others, fishing and carpentry.
Everyone has parents, but if you’re lucky, you might meet someone who becomes like a second parent to you. For some, that’s a Godparent, and for others, a teacher. For young women like Pushpa, it’s her Chalice sponsor.
Pushpa, the youngest of three girls, grew up in a small village near our Assam site in India with her sisters and parents. Her father eventually went to a bigger city to look for work, and her mother found daily wage work nearby. But it wasn’t enough to keep the girls in school.
“My parents struggled a lot to take care of us,” Pushpa recalls. “Whatever my parents earned was used for feeding the family and for our education.”
At Chalice’s Orissa site in India, many have scant access to educational and medical resources. For women, girls and migrant workers, it’s even more challenging. Illiteracy is high in the area. Living nearby is Sasmita, a young woman from a hard-working family that’s been through some tough times.
Sasmita grew up with two sisters, and shared a hut with them and her parents. It was small, and definitely not big enough for the growing family. Her parents worked daily wage jobs, which didn’t make for reliable income.
Tobias and his little brother Andrew share games like any other siblings, but something makes then unique, too. In their family, the younger Andrew watches out for the older Tobias.
Tobias lives with his parents and brother in a community near our Don Bosco site, where his parents take great care to keep him healthy. That’s because 13-year-old Tobias is on the autism spectrum, and needs an extra boost of support from his family.
Some people just have a way with words. If you’re not convinced, ask translator/teacher Lorenzo.
In Chile, where Lorenzo is from, the disparity between low-and-high-income is often stark. At our Arica site, Chalice partners with religious organizations to offer medical checkups and skill training.
And, of course, sponsorship.
A generous donor has been sponsoring Lorenzo since he was six years old, opening doors that began his path towards success.
When you parent two children with special needs, the way Svitlana and Volodymyur do, you learn to appreciate the small things.
For them, it’s the happiness and victories of their kids. The faithful parents carry deep trust and support for one another, and their bond has helped them through the hard times.
Living near our Ternopil site in Ukraine, their daughter Diana has dwarfism and poor eyesight. Her brother Olesksandr is on the autism spectrum, and faces some developmental delays. Between the many moments of joy, there’s been some challenging ones, too.
At one point, the family was in debt from surgeries and treatments for Diana. Both parents stopped working so they could take care of their children full-time. At that point, any support at all was a precious gift.
It was then Chalice sponsors entered their lives – people they now consider the heralders of God’s grace.
With a smile as bright as the sun, Juan Carlos is an attentive and loving kid to his mother Marisol. He loves helping her around the house, and is a fast learner. You can’t see it on his face, but Juan Carlos has been through a lot to get to where he is today.
When he was only little, Marisol found out he would have lifelong troubles with mobility. That’s because Juan Carlos had cerebral palsy, a common disorder that affects movement. He also had poor vision and hearing.
Marisol discovered with time he needed a unique diet, and medicines her insurance didn’t cover. For the devoted single mother and her son, it was a hard time without much hope on the horizon.
“In those moments of grief and despair, Chalice appeared”, wrote the Santiago site staff.
The youngest of three children, Kurtis is bright and determined to succeed. Kurtis and her family have endured many difficult times through the years, including losing her dear father to kidney failure when she was just a toddler. This placed a huge responsibility on her mother who now had to raise her three children alone on meagre wages as a daily labourer.
By the time Kurtis was in the eighth grade, her mother was no longer able to make ends meet on her own. Seeking help from neighbours, she borrowed money to keep her children in school, but as the bills piled up she worried she could lose everything she had worked so hard for.