At many of our sites around the world, we work in tandem with Catholic Sisters to offer support and love to those in need. In Kumbo, Cameroon, we are blessed to work with the Sisters of St. Therese of the Child Jesus. The Sisters oversee our sponsorship program for children and elders in Kumbo and surrounding rural communities. In addition to sponsorship, the Sisters provide adult skills training for women, HIV/AIDS testing, and workshops on computer skills and responsible management of family farms.
The Sisters also run the St. Therese College and Women Empowerment Center. The college provides excellent educational and professional opportunities to young Cameroonians, with a special emphasis on the less privileged. This central hub for education is essential for many local young adults looking to continue their studies after high school.
For many years, the college lacked a proper dormitories for girls. Our Chalice supporters gave girls in Cameroon a great gift when they funded renovations for the dormitories!
Women from our Fatima site in Bolivia had the unique opportunity to strengthen their independence. Over 75 mothers of sponsored children were invited to participate in a two month cooking course organized by our site. This course, however, didn’t just cover household recipes; it featured popular recipes for Bolivian street food.
Street food is quite popular in Bolivia, and is a fast and easy way to make an income. Proper food safety, good recipes, and basic business knowledge are all required for success. With the experience gained from our site’s cooking course, women would be well prepared to run their own small businesses selling delicious food!
Our Mercy Care site is located in the Mwingi region of Kenya. This area is dry and arid, and usually receives very little rain. Last spring, however, unusually heavy rainfall drenched the region. The soft, dry soil was heavily eroded, devastating farms and roads. Many homes and structures were extensively damaged, as they were not built to withstand rainstorms.
With families and children left vulnerable, we scrambled to provide makeshift shelters. Other families in the community generously offered to share their small homes with displaced families. One of the most affected families was a family of five left homeless, as their entire house collapsed.
Madeline is used to living a busy life. She’s the mother and sole caretaker of Phalancia, Phalanda, Fedelin, Phadelin, and baby Phedjina. The family lives together in Terrier-Rouge, a community near our Haiti North site.
One of Madeline’s children, Phalancia, is sponsored with Chalice. Sponsorship helps Madeline provide better care for her children, but the family still lacks many necessities. For many years, they lived in an inadequate home made of clay, and Madeline constantly worried that it would collapse.
In the Philippines, many children living in poverty are in poor health. Malnutrition, leading to anemia and poor dental health, is one of the most urgent issues at many of our Filipino sites. Through the support of our sponsors and donors, we work with our local partners to implement nutrition programs to help nourish hungry children and families.
In addition to sponsorship, our Tondo site in the Philippines provides regular daily meals supported through our nutrition program. Vitamins and extra supplements are also provided to anemic and vitamin deficient children.
So far, the children in Tondo have greatly benefited from the regular, healthy meals. In our 2017-2018 year, 144,551 meals were fed to children in need. Sponsored children aren’t the only ones who benefit- the coordinators were given permission to feed other children who were hungry and came asking for food, as long as the children in the program were fed.
In northern Ghana, it’s often incredibly difficult for children to attend school. Lack of transportation, public services, and food insecurity all prevent children from attending class. Many young adults move to the prospering southern towns, leading to a further lack of teachers and services.
For over ten years, Chalice has been working in northern Ghana to help bring education, food, and safety to vulnerable children and their families. In 2013, Chalice partnered with the Wa School for the Deaf to help provide even further services to children in need.
St. Don-Bosco special school, built in 2016, is a sub-campus of Wa School for the Deaf which caters specifically to children with intellectual disabilities. The school has 102 teenage students, many of whom are sponsored through Chalice. The students thrive despite their disabilities, and are learning trades such as making soap, detergent, sandals, and beads, and gardening and animal rearing.
Due to its rural location, the school faces its fair share of challenges. Water and sanitation has been an ongoing issue. It’s a monumental task to provide enough safe, clean drinking water for the students, and hard to find enough water for the crops and animals on campus.
On August 8, 2018, Lesya and her family endured an unexpected disaster. A fire, caused by an electrical short circuit, blazed throughout Lesya’s family home near our Ternopil site in the Ukraine. The fire damaged much of their kitchen and furniture, and destroyed the roof and beams in their nearby barn and shed. Lesya’s mother, Halyna, raises her four children alone, and is unable to work full-time. The family survives on their garden and small poultry farm. The damage caused by the fire was devastating to the family’s daily lives and to their livelihood.
One of the greatest joys of sponsoring a child is the opportunity to build a real, lasting connection. Sponsors receive yearly updates on their precious sponsored children, including a new photo and details about school and family life. The most heartwarming, personal touch to these updates are the handwritten letters and pictures from your sponsored child. As a sponsor, you receive a letter twice a year, and are able to send as many letters as you’d like.
Good topics to write about are family, children, friends, hometown, the weather, pets, and hobbies. If you have children in your family, sending their hand-drawn pictures is a big hit. Sponsored children write about similar topics, and often share their hopes, dreams, and hobbies with their sponsors! At Christmas, sponsored children take special care into crafting their letters. They even include a beautiful handmade card to wish their sponsors a warm and joyous Christmas.
Farming can be a tough way to make a living. Harsh weather, drought, and quick changes in seasons can spell an early end to a year’s worth of work. In Kenya, farming and agriculture is a source of livelihood for many families. Many parents at our Baraka site are farmers, and can only work when the conditions are right. It can be difficult for parents without full-time work to budget and provide for their children year round. Many people take odd jobs throughout the year to try to make ends meet.
Family Circle members at our Baraka site, comprised of parents and guardians of sponsored children, meet regularly to discuss their family budgets. Many members began to discuss ways to supplement their income, and began researching different business ventures. They discovered that raising chickens, a very common practice in Baraka, can be turned into a profitable small business with a little extra effort. Chickens are easy to raise, provide extra nutrition for the family, and both chicks and eggs can be sold for a profit.