Grace thrives in town of Gilgil

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Ten years ago, Grace’s life was turned upside down. After a controversial election, political unrest in her home country of Kenya was at an all-time high. Violent riots were breaking out in many towns. Her hometown of Eldoret, was no longer a safe place for her family.

Grace made the difficult decision to leave her life in Eldoret behind, and flee to Gilgil, a safer area of Kenya. Grace’s husband, however, didn’t agree with her choice, and deserted the family. Grace moved alone with her children to Gilgil to start anew. Rebuilding was difficult- she was struggling to get reestablished, and couldn’t provide enough food to feed her children.

In 2012, Grace’s youngest daughter, Ann, was accepted into Chalice’s sponsorship program. Grace seized this opportunity, and used her newfound stability to launch her own small business selling fresh fruits and vegetables at a busy town market.

Over the years, Grace has used small, low-interest loans from her Chalice Family Circle to grow her business. Providing enough food to feed her family is no longer an issue. She’s also now able to afford to send all of her children to school. Her oldest son is in his final year of university, and Grace hopes her other children will also pursue post-secondary studies.

Grace’s hard work and resilience has been an inspiration to other mothers in her community. Though she sometimes still misses Eldoret, Grace is very happy with her life in Gilgil, and thankful for all of the love and support shown by her community and Chalice family.

Want to help a mother like Grace provide for her family? You can provide the gift of a small business set-up through our Gift Catalogue. 

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Daunting deliveries bring hope to needy families

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Most Canadian residents have become accustomed to a certain standard of living. Appliances, like a stove and a fridge, are household necessities. Beds, sheets, and pillows are bedroom staples, and there’s usually light bulbs in every room to light the way when night falls.

In many struggling communities in the developing world, what we view as household basics are unaffordable luxuries. Often, homes don’t have reliable electricity or running water. Individual bedrooms are rare, as are clean beds and bedding. The lack of stoves and refrigeration makes preparing hot, nutritious meals a difficulty.

Our Chalice Gift Catalogue allows donors to purchase much needed items for struggling families. When a donor selects and purchases a gift, the item is bought locally by our site and delivered to a family in need.

Every year, generous donors purchase thousands of gifts to help lift families out of poverty. Each and every gift is deeply valued and cherished by the recipients.

Our dedicated site staff is tasked with delivering these gifts to the homes of beneficiaries. At the majority of our sites, simply popping an item in the mail isn’t possible. Larger items, such as beds and stoves, are even more difficult to transport.

At our Ayolas site in Paraguay, 100 families recently received household gifts such as beds, furniture, stoves, and kitchenware. Many homes were located in areas with extensively damaged, flooded roads. Our site staff came to the conclusion that it would be impossible to make deliveries by car. They’d simply just have to carry the items themselves!

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Staff walked across flooded roads and muddy terrain with items above their heads to keep them from getting wet. Families laughed and cheered when their gifts were delivered, and were extremely grateful to have been chosen as recipients. “Families are always so happy to receive their gifts, and infinitely thank the donors” says Javier Cristaldo, our Ayolas site director. “Our staff is more than happy to be participants in this great and noble cause.”

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Elder sponsorship brings joy to Viviana

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When Viviana González was a little girl, she inherited a very special talent from her mother. She learned the beautiful art of weaving ñanduti, a rare, artisanal fabric found only in her hometown of Itauguá, Paraguay. Viviana’s still an avid weaver, and she doesn’t let her age of 81 slow her down.

Every morning, Viviana walks four kilometers to the market to stock up on crafting materials, and to buy herself enough food for her daily nutrition. Before she was sponsored, however, Vivian could barely afford what she needed to keep afloat.

Viviana is a sponsored elder, and receives support from our Don Bosco site in Paraguay. Similar to child sponsorship, elder sponsorship gives vulnerable elders access to nutritious food, health care, and better quality of life.

Loneliness and lack of self-worth can be a concern with elderly individuals, especially those living within the isolating grasp of poverty. Viviana has no children or family in the area. She, however, became extremely involved in her Chalice site’s events once she was sponsored. She met new friends, and is regularly visited at home by members of the “Enterprising Mothers” Chalice Family Circle. Viviana’s also an animal lover, and her pet cat and dog keep her company on the days she doesn’t have any visitors.

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Viviana lives in a small home provided by the government. The simple structure lacked bathroom facilities, so she was overjoyed when a bathroom, funded by our Gift Catalogue, was built for her. She loves the comfort of her home, and spends many hours weaving in her favourite chair.

Recently, Viviana was honoured by her local Municipality as one of the oldest weavers in the community. She received special recognition for her expert technique, as she keeps the fabric in a fine thread, producing stunningly delicate and beautiful garments.

Viviana is deeply grateful for her Chalice sponsor, and for all the love and support she receives from her community. She hopes to continue her weaving passion for years to come.

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Get a goat, give a goat

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Up in the mountain-top village of Patchalur-Kurangani, there is a tribal people group who live separately from their nearby communities. Considered separate from India’s traditional caste system, these tribal peoples keep to themselves and largely only interact and intermarry within their own clans.

Last year, several families in this tribal group received goats from our Chalice Gift Catalogue. Goats can be live saving for a family in need. They produce milk, a valuable source of protein for growing children, and can be bred and sold to produce income.

A year after the goats were received, they had bred and multiplied, and the community was ready to celebrate a unique tradition held by all of Chalice’s Indian sites. Each family who receives a goat or goats from the Gift Catalogue, in turn, gives away one goat to another needy family.

Each beneficiary family does this once per year for three years after they received their goats – ultimately giving away three goats. This is known as the annual Goat Hand-Over day!

The group gathered to share with their success with Chalice field workers, and were proud to show how their goats had multiplied. A veterinarian gave a brief presentation to families on how to care for their goats and keep them happy and healthy.

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Many villagers expressed how happy they are to be able to share a goat with a neighbour in need. Although they have few possessions and simple homes, they believe that because they have received a valuable gift, it is their duty and honor to share their good fortunes with the whole community. It was a morning of laughter as the goats passed from one family to another, strengthening the community’s bond and economic future.

Want to share the gift of goats with other communities? You can donate a goat or other animal to a family in need through our Chalice Gift Catalouge.

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Sharon soars to new heights

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Sharon grew up in a large, loving family in Kakamega County in western Kenya. She has an older sister, and three younger siblings. Her parents worked as manual laborers, putting in long hours to provide for their children. In 2001, Sharon’s father passed away suddenly from a heart attack, leaving the family devastated. Sharon’s mother, left to raise her five children alone, could barely provide enough food to feed the family, and struggled to pay school fees.

Sharon is a brilliant girl with a passion for knowledge. Whenever Sharon attended school, her performance was exceptional. Due to her excellent grades, she was accepted into the Starhe Girl’s Centre, a well renowned boarding school. Sharon and her family were overjoyed to learn that Sharon had been accepted into Chalice’s sponsorship program, which would cover the centre’s costly school fees.

Sharon’s sponsor also generously sends frequent special money donations. These extra funds offer even greater support to Sharon’s family. After a lot of budgeting and hard work, Sharon and her mom used some of the funds to set up a chicken coop! The chickens provide nutritious eggs for the family, and extra eggs can be sold for an income.

One year, Sharon’s sponsor sent her the funds to buy her own laptop for studying. Sharon loves the laptop, as it allows her to do research while she’s home from school where it’s difficult to access computer services. She’s also teaching her younger siblings how to use it!

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Sharon is now 18 years old. She views life with immense positivity, and is so happy that she’s able to achieve her academic dreams. Sharon is graduating soon, and is optimistic that she’ll be accepted into a good university to study her dream course, International Relations.  She hopes that in the future, her community will embrace education fully in order to overcome the cycle of poverty. Her biggest dream is to be able to sponsor a child herself one day to give back to her own community.

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WASH provides clean, safe spaces in India

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With 1.3 billion residents, India is a densely populated country. Thanks to rapid population growth, the economy is booming. India, however, also faces serious social, economic, and environmental issues. One concerning issue is the lack of toilet facilities. 600 million people, almost half of India’s population, don’t have access to toilets.

India’s toilet crisis has a severe impact on public health. Improper toilets and outdoor washroom use contaminates drinking water. Poor, rural communities are among the most affected. Young children are especially vulnerable to preventable diarrheal diseases spread by contaminated water. These diseases claim the lives of 300,000 Indian children aged five and under each year.

Lack of privacy is also an issue of safety, women’s rights, and human dignity. Women, children, and the elderly are at risk for assault and harrassment when using the washroom outside. “Young ladies especially are not safe alone,” says Vimala, a mother from our Tamil Site. People often travel in small groups for protection, and sometimes have to miss work or school.

Recognizing this as a serious issue, Chalice launched India’s WASH project (water, sanitation, and hygiene). WASH aims to educate communities about the importance of personal and environmental toilet hygiene to prevent the spread of dangerous diseases.

WASH is also constructing 505 sanitary toilets in seven of our sponsor site communities. The recipients are so grateful that they’re helping out with labour and donating small amounts to buy building materials.

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Thanks to the support of our donors, we’ve completed 96 of the 505 latrines planned, and more are currently under construction. Elizabeth Rani, mother of three, is thankful for the safety the new latrine near her home provides. “Now, my children can go to the toilet without fear,” she smiles.

If you’re interested in supporting this project, please click here.

Kateryna’s Passion for Painting

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Kateryna, from Pochaiv, Ukraine, didn’t have an easy childhood. Her mother, the only caretaker of the family, worked her hardest to take care of Kateryna and her two brothers. She took on multiple jobs, including servicing a local cemetery. She worked nearly every day, even on Sundays selling candles and lamps to cemetery visitors.

It was incredibly hard for Kateryna’s mother to afford housing on her small income, so the family lived in the cemetery’s facility building.The family of four shared one tiny room cluttered with landscaping tools, buckets, and shovels. The room had no running water or bathroom facilities.  The children, often left alone to entertain themselves, would play between the cemetery graves.

Kateryna and her family’s lives changed the moment she was chosen by her Chalice sponsor. Her mom was able to provide proper nutrition and care to her three children, and no longer had to work so many odd jobs to make ends meet. The stability she found was a great relief on the whole family- she got to spend more time with her children, and could encourage them to thrive.

Kateryna, now able to focus on her passions, discovered a love for art. She started painting at school, and both her mom and teachers noticed she had a talent for it. She practiced painting still life objects around her, and became especially gifted at portrait painting.

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Today, Kateryna is 17 and attends a special art school. Kateryna’s expert use of soft, natural colours and eye for detail has gained her recognition as a gifted artist in her community.  She recently debuted her artwork at her first personal exhibition!

Kateryna is still living with her mom and brothers. Her mother, after carefully budgeting sponsorship funds, moved the family to a safe and clean two bedroom apartment. Her older brother is studying at a local college, and the whole family is incredibly grateful for the blessings in their lives.

Follow Chalice on Facebook and Instagram for daily updates from our sponsor sites, impact stories, and more.

Pendo’s promising future

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On January 4th, 1999, proud mother Maria gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. She named her precious child Pendo, meaning “Beloved.” Pendo, an only child, was dearly loved by both her mother and her father, Thomas. The family lived together in a small home in the remote village of Songea, Tanzania. Tragically, the family would soon have to part ways.

When she was just a toddler, Pendo lost both of her parents to HIV/AIDS. Orphaned, she was sent to live with her grandmother to start a new life. Her grandmother, however, didn’t have the resources to properly care for Pendo on her own.

When Pendo was seven years old, she was accepted into Chalice’s sponsorship program, and chosen by a sponsor quickly afterwards. Pendo, who had grown up lonely, was touched by the support, love and care she received from her sponsors in Canada. They wrote her frequently, and she felt proud and confident that someone deeply cared about her and prayed for her well being.

With the support of sponsorship, Pendo was able to continue her education at a wonderful local school. Her grades improved significantly as she started to have hope for a better future. Pendo also discovered many new friends and hobbies, and found joy in playing netball on her school team.

Presently, Pendo is finishing up her high school education and is preparing for university. She’s an excellent student, and holds the second highest grades in her class. She wants to study to become a doctor, and is looking forward to the day that “Doctor Pendo” can help those facing illness in her community.

Pendo’s grandmother recently passed away, and she’s now living with her aunt and uncle. She firmly believes that she wouldn’t have come this far if it weren’t for the support of her sponsors. “Sponsorship plays a major role in the lives of children who live in the remote villages of Tanzania,” says Sr. Mary Grace, our Neema site director. “Education helps many come out of the dark places in life. Pendo is a living example of a child who now has a bright and better future.”

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More, please! Meals at our Madurai Site

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India, bustling and beautiful, offers countless historical and cultural experiences. Colourful clothing, rich history, and new connections are just some of the amazing things you’ll discover as a visitor. One of the most important, captivating, and diverse things about India is it’s incredible cuisine.

Characterized by regional ingredients and rich flavours, Indian cuisine is a highlight to locals and visitors alike. Dishes vary regionally due to the availability of ingredients, customs, and preference.

Our Madurai site is located in the region of Tamil Nadu, India. Locals hold the historical belief that serving food to others is an important service to humanity.

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Rice, legumes, and lentils are common staples throughout Tamil Nadu, and nearly every meal is served with a side of rice. Vegetarian and meat-based dishes are both equally as common. Some of the most popular meats are chicken and fish, while tamarind and coconut are used to flavour to vegetarian dishes. Some meals are traditionally served on banana leaf to add flavour and visual appeal, especially for special occasions. There’s so many unique dishes and variations- much too many to list!

Masala (a spice blend) is commonly used to add a fiery, complex flavour to dishes. Masala contains a variety of spices such as coriander, curry, cumin, ginger, garlic, chili, pepper, and nutmeg. Masala in the Tamil Nadu region is always freshly ground. There’s no one recipe for masala- usually, it’s an individual household secret!

On a visit to our Madurai Sponsor site, we got the incredible chance to sample their cuisine first-hand. Families at St. Theresa’s Primary School held a food fair, where they prepared their favourite dishes for the elementary school’s staff and Canadian visitors. They were excited to share, and we were equally as excited to taste!

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Families proudly hung colourful posters with names and explanations so visitors could learn more about the dishes. Some of the most popular dishes were biryani (spicy rice,) dosas (savory pancakes,) sambar (a thick, lentil based stew,) Meen Kozhambu (hot and sour fish stew,)  and Masala Vada (crispy fritters.) You could feel the pride and effort that went into preparing the food in every bite.

No meal is complete without dessert. We finished the food fair with a traditional pairing of tea and other desserts, including Boorelu (sweet, deep fried balls flavoured with coconut and cardamom.)

Want to try your hand at a few of these delicious dishes? We’ve gathered some simple recipes you can make in your own home (to find some of the more uncommon ingredients, check the international section of your local grocery store):

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Join us on our 2018 Haiti Medical Mission Trip

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Did you know about Chalice’s mission trips? It’s our joy to provide you with an opportunity to volunteer and experience life at our sponsor sites. Both you and those you meet will be enriched by a life changing exchange.

Our Haiti North Sponsor Site has invited Canadian Chalice volunteers and staff members to work alongside site staff and staff at parish-run medical clinics. The request is for a medical team to provide services and training in the areas of general medicine, vision, and public health education.

We’ve officially booked this as our 2018 Haiti Medical Mission Trip:

  • Dates:                          November 16-29, 2018
  • Location:                     Terrier-Rouge & Grand-Bassin, Haiti
  • Sponsor Site:              Haiti North
  • Sponsors:                    If your sponsor child’s code begins with NDS or NDG, we will be at their site!

It’s our goal to recruit a team of approximately 12 volunteers with experience as medical professionals or social workers.

These include:

  • family physicians,
  • public health nurses,
  • optometrists and/or assistants,
  • social workers.

We will also have non-health care professionals on team in support roles (chaplain and logistical support.)  The Canadian volunteers will be working collaboratively in a team with Haitian health professionals.

Our Canadian and Haitian medical team will offer medical care and education to those in need. Through meaningful service and interaction, we will have a greater understanding of both the challenges we face as brothers and sisters in Christ, as well as our capacity (with God’s grace!) to respond with love and support.

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Haiti, vibrant and beautiful, is an extremely poor country- 80% of Haitians live below the poverty line. Deforestation and frequent natural disasters threaten the agricultural economy. Haiti has the highest incidence of HIV/AIDS and one of the highest infant morality rates in the western hemisphere.

Poverty makes it hard to access education in Haiti. Most schools are privately owned and operated by religious organizations and NGOs. Only 30% of children complete grade six and nearly half of all Haitians are illiterate.

We work to ensure our sponsored children are able to grow up healthy and get an education. Over 1623 Haitian children are sponsored through Chalice. We further support communities with nutrition programs, medical care, and mission trips like our 2018 Haiti Medical Mission Trip.

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For questions, comments, a detailed itinerary, or an application, please contact Joanne, our Mission Trip Coordinator, at 1-800-776-6855 or at joannealbrecht@chalice.ca. You can also read more about our Mission Trips and our Haiti sponsor sites.