Author Archives: Sarah

2019 Paraguay Solidarity Tour

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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 CMVAIL site in Paraguay has invited Chalice volunteers and staff to engage with the community of Villeta! Participants will meet and volunteer with site staff, sponsorship beneficiaries, and children at the nearby community center.

We’ve officially booked this as our 2019 Paraguay Solidarity Tour.

  • Dates:                          March 2-16, 2019
  • Location:                     Paraguay
  • Sponsor Site:              CMAVIL – Center of Maria Auxiliadora Villeta
  • Sponsors:                    If your sponsor child’s code begins with VIL, we will be visiting their site!

It is our goal to recruit a team of 15-20 volunteers.  We are primarily recruiting volunteers who have a heart for service. We are also recruiting volunteers who have experience in the following areas:

  • Information technology
  • Photography
  • Finance and savings
  • Wood and leather handicrafts
  • Public health
  • Family/child psychology and counselling
  • Social work
  • Teaching mathematics
  • Painting, artistic skills
  • Coordinating events for children

Our Canadian and Paraguayan volunteers, staff and families will share stories and dialogue to learn from one another, and collaborate in service projects.  Our Canadian team will invite others to support our mission by sponsoring a child from Villeta, and we will collectively raise funds to support the community served by our CMAVIL Site.

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The city of Villeta is located on the banks of the Paraguay River, and is known for being a port and industrial city. The Daughters of Mary Help of Christians have been engaged community social work (through CMAVIL) since 1964. They seek to respond to the needs found in each of the vulnerable families in the area.

Their work is strengthened by joining groups of people of good will through different projects, creating a network of entities and NGOs to support their work.

In spite of being considered an “industrial city,” many families struggle. Scarce job training, little government support, and a lack of support towards immigrants all contribute towards the cycle of poverty.

We work to ensure our 492 sponsored children through our CMAVIL site are able to grow up healthy and get an education. We further support the community with nutrition programs, medical care, and mission trips like our 2019 Paraguay Solidarity Tour. 

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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 Villeta sponsor site.

The gift of music brightens a Ukrainian classroom

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In Pochaiv, Ukraine, tradition and culture is tightly woven into the fabric of the community. Parents and teachers dutifully teach long-standing customs and traditions to younger generations in order to keep Ukrainian culture strong. Pride in one’s culture creates a lasting bond among community members, and strengthens solidarity between families.

Music is an extremely important part of Ukrainian history. The earliest form of Ukrainian music was used to signal community members, imitate the sounds of nature, and to celebrate important events such as births and weddings.

Our Pochaiv site offers an after-school music class where sponsored children learn about traditional Ukrainian music. The children learn the history behind folk songs, instruments and ancient composers. The most exciting part of the class is when the students get a chance to make their own music!

The children play reed-pipes, an ancient folklore instrument similar to a recorder. In the class of 30 students, however, there were only five reed-pipes to go around. The lack of instruments meant that the children had very limited time to practice, and couldn’t play songs together as a group.

One day, a special shipment of 25 new reed-pipes arrived at the school! Our caring supporters donated the instruments through our gift catalogue – enough for each student to have their own. “We were dreaming about this instrument for a long time, but we couldn’t afford it ourselves,” says Hanna Koshyk, the school principal. “the new gifted reed-pipes cover the whole ensemble!”

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The class is now noisy and full of life, as the students are able to practice on their own. The group is currently learning a collection of instrumental folk songs, and love performing them for their friends and family! “Ensemble participation develops [the children],” says Hanna. “They are learning how to communicate and collaborate with each other!”

“Thank you, supporters, for making our children happy,” Hanna expresses. “We pray for you!”

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

 

Solar panels bring water and joy to Saidia

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Saidia Children’s Home, located in Kenya, is an oasis for children in need. Orphaned children without any family to care for them are sent to start new lives at the home. There’s also room for children from impoverished families, whose parents can no longer support them. Kids at the home receive healthy food, formal education, proper health care, and most importantly, love.
The social workers and staff at the home care deeply for the children, and want to provide the best care possible. The Children’s Home, however, lacked one very important feature. There was no shower facilities for the 55 resident children to use.
Without a proper washing area, children were prone to upper respiratory infections and skin irritation. Since the home is located in a rural area, it’s incredibly difficult to set up complex electrical or plumbing systems. Staff thought tirelessly of a work-around.
Eventually, a brilliant idea appeared. A hot water system fueled by solar panels would be the perfect solution!
Our generous supporters provided solar panels through our Gift Catalogue, and the home management team got to work. First, they installed the solar panels on the roof of the home in a bright, sunny area. Next, they assembled the two 300 liter capacity tanks and hooked up all of the plumbing.
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When the showers were turned on for the first time, all of the children cheered for joy. Many ran under the warm, clean water fully clothed, laughing together with their friends. It was truly a joyous day!
 The home cares for children anywhere between the ages of 8 months old and 18 years old. The shower is a huge benefit for children of all ages, and makes caring for younger children a lot easier on staff. “The showers have gone a long way in reducing infections and skin diseases,” says Eva Muhahala, our Saidia site director. “The children are also much cleaner!”
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You can provide solar panels or sustainable water solutions to another school or orphanage in need through our gift catalogue.
 Follow Chalice on Facebook and Instagram for daily updates from our sponsor sites, impact stories, and more.

“The Reading Kite” inspires children in Chiclayo

 

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In Chiclayo, Peru, some children and their families live in remote, outlying shanty towns. These small towns don’t have the same resources that more populated areas might have, and often times, schools are under stocked. Children’s books are especially rare.

Every child should have the right to read. Thanks to the support from donors through our Gift Catalogue, our Chiclayo site started a program that allows children in remote areas to read, learn, and grow.

“The Reading Kite” is a program that hosts a travelling collection of over 300 quality children’s books. Each book was chosen carefully to promote important themes such as values, morals, self-esteem, achieving your dreams, respect for all people, and children’s rights.

The program is coordinated by a combination of university student volunteers and Chalice site staff. The books are brought into a classroom or community center on a rotating basis, allowing many children to experience the joy of reading.

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When “The Reading Kite” visits a group, the children are first taught how to respect and care for the books. A teacher, parent, or volunteer then reads out loud to the group. Children can then borrow a book and have free time to colour, read, and socialize.

Families are encouraged to read the books together with their children. This creates a wonderful opportunity for bonding, and greatly improves children’s reading comprehension.

“It’s important for children to have a space where they can read, imagine, create and study,” says Gladys Fernández, our Chiclayo site director. “The program continues to be an experience filled with entertainment as well as learning for many children and their families.”

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“The Reading Kite” benefits more than just our sponsored children. Anyone in need can access it, and it is permanently available for to our entire Chiclayo site and surrounding community to use.

“We deeply appreciate the constant support we receive to be able to keep offering this program to our children and their families,” says Gladys.

You can give the gift of books to another community or school in need through our gift catalogue.

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

Serhiy: from sponsored child to songwriter

 

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Serhiy was just 11 years old when he became an orphan. After their parent’s deaths, Serhiy and his brother were adopted by their grandparents, who brought them into their home with loving arms. They tried their best to care for the boys, but hardship and poverty made it difficult.

Serhiy was a shy, intelligent and quiet boy. In 2006, Serhiy was accepted into our sponsorship program. Someone saw Serhiy’s potential, and chose to sponsor him. With love and support, Serhiy began to come out of his shell. He discovered a deep love for music, and began practicing the piano at school.

Serhiy, driven by his passion, decided he would take a leap of faith and study to become a professional musician. He studied diligently at his music school, and practiced every single day. During all of these years, his incredibly supportive sponsor encouraged and inspired Serhiy through letters. He wrote Serhiy frequently, and told him that he could accomplish anything he put his mind to.

Today, Serhiy is a keyboardist in famous Ukrainian band. “Okean Elzy” tours across the Ukraine, and even sometimes travels abroad. Serhiy gets the opportunity to meet and collaborate with other talented musicians, all while doing what he loves. Serhiy doesn’t just play in the band- he is also the composer of many of their songs.

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Serhiy has grown from a shy boy to a confident young man now living his dream. He never would have been able to pursue music without the motivation he received from his Chalice sponsor. Having someone support and believe in him truly pushed him to pursue and develop his talent.

Like Serhiy, there are many children waiting for the chance to shine- they just need someone to reach out and recognize their potential. If you’re interested in making a difference in a child’s life, become a sponsor today. 

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

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.

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

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.

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