“I remember harvesting beans with my grandmother from her backyard garden. As we would wash and clean them standing over the kitchen sink she would entertain me with stories from when she was a little girl. She grew up on an isolated farm in the country with no electricity or running water. She had many chores to complete before walking to school each morning, one of which included drawing water from their well. It was most certainly a demanding task and quite unpleasant in cold and rainy weather to be sure, but at least she didn’t have to worry about getting attacked by crocodiles or snakes!
As a child I could never understand what it was like for my grandmother to not have access to water inside her home. Even today as an adult who works in international development, knowing the realities million of people around the world face each day, I still find it difficult to comprehend the monumental effort people put forth each day in their quest to gather enough water to meet their daily needs.
This may be the reason that ensuring people have reliable access to safe water is one of my favourite projects. The unification of our generous donors here in Canada which allows for the infrastructure to be built overseas and brings such joy and relief to the families in our sites is a beautiful sight to witness. We are excited to present our most recent water project which will bring treated water to about 4,100 residents and schools within Aduoyo and Kokise villages at our Asembo sponsor site in Kenya.
In 2014, Pope Francis said, “Educating is an act of love; it is like giving life.” If you get the opportunity to visit a school in one of our sites you know this to be true – the children are so happy and so thankful to be able to learn.
But hungry kids can’t learn. One of the ways that Chalice breaks the barrier hunger places on education is through our Nutrition Fund which provided over four million meals last year!
Surrounded by three slums, Muthaiga Primary School, located near our Baraka site in Kenya, rarely receives funds from the Ministry of Education, which places a real burden on them. The children attending school often came hungry and their academics suffered.
Education is essential to break the cycle of poverty, but children also need to be healthy to be able to learn. Being affected by vision or hearing loss, chronic pain, or mobility problems can severely affect a child’s ability to learn. Donations to Chalice critical needs is one way our supporters help break the barrier poor health can place on a child in need.
Munich, a 17 year old sponsored teenager from our Tondo site in the Philippines, lives with severe mixed hearing loss in both her ears. She had a typical hearing throughout childhood but around the age of 10 her mother noticed that she was having trouble with her hearing. Munich’s family is quite poor. She lives with her parents and seven siblings in the slum and even though it was evident that Munich was in great need of hearing aids to keep up with her school work, a series of unfortunate events befell the family and she didn’t receive the help she needed.
In addition to child sponsorship, Chalice also offers elder sponsorship at many of our sites around the world. Many elders living in poverty no longer have the ability to work for a living, and those without children or family nearby are left to support themselves. Sponsorship gives struggling elders the support they need to receive essential medical care, eat nutritious meals, and live with comfort and dignity.
With Mother’s Day quickly approaching, we’d like to recognize all of the incredible and hard working mothers around the world. Despite poverty and obstacles, we see the love of mothers shine through and persevere in every site in which we work.
In Paraguay, especially in poorer areas, many children are raised in single parent families, with mothers usually taking the role as primary caregiver. Nadia, from our CMAVIL site in Paraguay, was raised by her mother, Bernarda. When Nadia was very young, she had constant issues with her ears, and required expensive surgeries. Her mother was determined to help Nadia, and declared: “I will get those surgeries if I have to pick up every can in the city to pay for it!”
At our Samar site in the Philippines, many parents struggle to find full-time work. Since Samar is an island, industries and businesses are limited, and the most common work for families is fishing or seasonal wage work.
Alicia is a mother from our Samar site, and has two children, Abigail, and Vincent. Both of her children were fortunate to be chosen by kindhearted Chalice sponsors, and receive support to attend school. Alicia and her husband were both blessed to be working full-time, and the family was thriving.
A tragedy struck when Alicia’s husband had to have his arm amputated due to illness. He was left unable to work at his labour job, and Alicia was now the sole wage earner for the family. She had to pick up multiple jobs to make ends meet.
Good dental hygiene is essential for the health and happiness of growing children. In the Philippines, tooth decay is a widespread problem afflicting many children and adults. Last year, at a routine heath check at our sponsor site in Tondo, almost 100% of our 1325 sponsored children had cavities.
Tooth decay and gum disease have a serious effect on both children and adults. Tooth issues can weaken bodily defenses for serious and potentially dangerous diseases and infections. Poor oral health also negatively affects school performance. In the Philippines, toothache is the primary cause of absenteeism, and reduces confidence and self-esteem due to pain and missing or decayed teeth.
Every child deserves to have a strong, beautiful smile. Our new Zero Cavities project aims to treat and eradicate cavities for sponsored children and their siblings at our Tondo site. Children receive dental treatment for current issues, regular fluoride rinses, and are being taught how to properly care for their teeth at home.
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.
Last September, Maskym, a sponsored child from our Ternopil site in Ukraine, came home from school with a sharp headache and high fever. Svitlana, his mother, kept Maksym home from school for two days thinking he had the flu. Maksym, however, just kept getting sicker. Svitlana also noticed that his head was constantly tilting to one side.
Svitlana brought Maksym to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with swelling of the brain. Treatment, however, had no effect. Maksym was quickly transferred to larger hospital where he underwent a variety of blood tests. It was soon discovered that he suffered from Lyme Disease. After a few days of antibiotics, he improved and was sent home.
Just one month later, Maksym became sick once again. Doctors informed the family that Maksym would need to be treated for upwards of one year to see improvement. Worst of all, the disease had caused many complications, such as inflammation of the brain stem, chest, stomach, heart, and kidney and pancreas issues.
Nutrition is the foundation to a healthy life. Kids who eat healthy, well-balanced meals every day have the fuel to excel. Nourished children learn better in class, and have the energy to laugh, run, and play. In communities near our CMAVIL site in Paraguay, healthy eating isn’t always common knowledge. Many parents come from a background where they never learned healthy eating habits. It can be hard for busy mothers to make sure their children get the proper nourishment, especially those without access to resources or education.