So far, Chalice’s COVID-19 disaster fund has distributed nearly $613,000 to families at our sites who have been hit the hardest by the global pandemic. At our Arica site in Chile, $12,453.35 was used to help sponsored children and elders, including non-sponsored elders with chronic medical conditions who were abandoned by their families and are living alone.
In Chile, elders over the age of 75 were prohibited from going outside regularly due to the pandemic, forcing them to make quick outings to higher priced neighborhood convenience stores because they had no one to travel to nearby cheaper supermarkets for them. While elders in Chile do receive a small pension, it is barely enough to survive. Without family support, most seniors live a lonely existence, unable to afford their medications or nutritious food. According to a report by the Ministry of Social Development, the price of a basic food basket rose in October 2019, then again in January, and doubled in April 2020, making it even harder for poor elders and families to make ends meet.
Less than 20 percent of people living in rural Tanzania have access to electricity. Expanding the electrical grid to remote rural areas would require significant funding, which would conflict with other much-needed services such as education, health, and road infrastructure. While it’s recognized that access to electricity is a major barrier to economic expansion, there are currently no plans to increase the electrical grid.
Families at our sites use candles and kerosene lamps for light and wood stoves for cooking. These families are often poor, so these costly light sources are used sparingly so homework and any other tasks not finished before sundown are left undone. Thanks to generous donations to our gift catalogue, families from our Neema site were thrilled to be given the gift of solar lights, which in essence, is a gift of extra time as they can do more after dark than they could before!
The vulnerable have been the most affected by the current COVID-19 global pandemic. We have been working hard with our staff on the ground to ensure that families and communities in need have the essential resources needed to survive this unprecedented disaster.
To date, nearly $613,000 CAD has been distributed to 44 of our sites in 14 countries, helping thousands of families in dire need of support. We’ve used funds generously entrusted to us through our disaster relief fund, gift catalogue program, and our COVID disaster fund (totaling $400,000 CAD to date). Thanks to these thoughtful contributions, extra family funds, food baskets, and essential items have been distributed to those in most need.
A local bakery at our Samar site in the Philippines is supporting mothers, boosting confidence, and giving nearby schools and families access to delicious goodies!
Our Samar site is located on a small island, where businesses, jobs, and goods are limited. Chalice sponsorship allows struggling children to attend school, and eases the financial burden on parents. Parents of sponsored children are also organized into family circles, where they keep track of budgets and plan for the future. Sometimes, they even launch their own small businesses for extra income.
Luz is the president of her family circle, known as “Zone 3”. Two years ago, they received small business start-up funds through our gift catalogue. Maricel, our Samar site director, had the brilliant idea to start a bakery, as there were no other competing bakeries nearby. The group decided to name their new business the “Bethlehem Bake Shop”!
A former sponsored child from our Kawambwa site in Zambia has become a valuable asset to a school for blind children thanks to his specialized teaching skills!
Fancy was born with albinism, a rare genetic disorder that affects skin pigment and vision. When Fancy was old enough to go to school, he attended St. Odelia’s School for the Visually Impaired, but his family struggled to afford school fees and other basic needs. When he was nine, Fancy was chosen by a Chalice sponsor, which was a great relief for his family. Throughout the years, he thoroughly enjoyed having close relationship with his sponsor, especially when they wrote to him and sent cards for special occasions. “I felt like I knew them personally,” he smiles.
What started as a way to honour the passing of a loved one has uplifted an entire community in Asembo, Kenya.
In 2012, a generous donor contacted us and expressed her desire to support a community in honour of her late husband, who passed away at the age of just 49. Since that day, more than $8,000 has been donated to fishing groups in Asembo through this special “Papa’s Dream Boat Grant”.
This year, bees are all the buzz! Starehe Girls’ School, located in Kenya, is one of many of our sites to start a beekeeping project as a source of honey and income.
Starehe Girls’ School is a boarding school for girls. The school gives many bright, talented students the opportunity to achieve their potential, and prepares them for post-secondary studies. The school also strives to support girls from poor backgrounds who otherwise might not have a chance at getting an education. Chalice sponsorship helps cover tuition for the girls, and our projects and programs help the school run nutrition programs, farming clubs, sports teams, and more.
It’s almost Mother’s Day, a time to honour the countless mothers who lovingly sacrifice and dedicate themselves to others. At our sites, we work with many mothers of sponsored children. We’re constantly moved by their overwhelming resilience in spite of obstacles, and endless love for their children.
Rosaline, a mother from our Tondo site in the Philippines, had always dreamed of being a professional seamstress. After she graduated from high school, she had begun a two year sewing course, and was on her way to entering her beloved profession. After six months of her course, she got married. Her household responsibilities became too burdensome, and ended her time in the course.
As time progressed, Rosaline continued to care for her household, and did not have time to work outside the home while raising her four children. The family relied solely on her husband’s minimum wage work as an electrician. Even though he worked diligently, the money was not enough to support their basic needs.
Since the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chalice staff and supporters in Canada have been concerned for the safety and well-being of children, families and staff members at our sites around the world. There are undoubtedly some very challenging situations in the communities we serve, but as often happens, this crisis has brought forward acts of solidarity and compassion.