Tag Archives: sponsorship

Ms Geetha and her new sewing machine.

“Give A Man a Fish…”

Power for a sewing machine: 220 volts. Power for a chainsaw: 58 volts. Power for an oven: 240 volts. Power for a man or woman to earn a consistent, competitive daily wage: stronger than the sun!

Unemployment among parents is a consistent issue across all of Chalice’s sites. Finding daily wage work (such as agricultural labour) is challenging and often seasonal, and permanent positions a pipe dream to many. Naturally, many people become entrepreneurs, making use of their skills and available resources to start a small business – be it a handicraft, or a service, or an agricultural endeavour.

But as we all know from shows like Dragon’s Den, any new business needs capital up-front. To sell the tomatoes, you need to buy all the materials to grow them. To sell woven saris, you need to buy the loom and the silk. To sell flowers from a cart, you need the cart!

That’s why it’s so exciting to meet community members in the Chalice sites who have taken the plunge with a small business with an item either given from the Gift Catalogue or with a loan from their Chalice Circle Group. The impact of such every-day items is almost immediate, and that impact is significant!

For instance, I met Mr Munyamuthu in the village of Edaiyar, a part of Chalice’s STAR site in India. In that region, most people rely on daily agricultural labour jobs, such as picking and weeding, to earn income. However, that work is inconsistent at best, and often disappears when the local crops are out of season, or the harvest is poor due to lack of rain. Mr Muniyamuthu’s family were among the people who relied on this source of income, but also had one other asset –  a sound system they could rent to major events, especially weddings. Through the Chalice Gift Catalogue, he was able to purchase a Samiyana, a brightly-coloured tent canopy, also to be used at weddings and large events. He has had it since June of 2017, and has already made several bookings. He is able to take more than 1,000 rupees ($20) with a single day’s rental. He joked with me that he always wears a white shirt and dhoti (the traditional long, skirt-like garment) so that he looks likes the brides who want to rent his tent!

Mr Muniyamuthu, his family, and their new Samiyana tent

Mr Muniyamuthu, his family, and their new Samiyana tent

I met Ms. Geetha, who lives in the village of Thatanur, also a part of STAR in her tailoring workshop. She and her son were abandoned by her husband, and she was left destitute. She was forced to move in with her parents. In June 2017, she received a sewing machine from the Chalice Gift Catalogue. She now runs her tailoring operation out of the back of her father’s restaurant. With the new machine, she is able to do double and triple the work than she was able before.

Ms Geetha and her new sewing machine.

Ms Geetha and her new sewing machine.

When I was in Nanyuki, Kenya, the local Chalice staff were eager for me to meet Mr. Josphat. Before Josphat’s child was enrolled in the sponsorship program, their family’s life was very difficult. He was a “hawker” – selling small items such as socks and vests (undershirts) in the street.  He and his family lived in a slum.  He always wanted to start a business, but could never get the capital up-front to do so. When Josphat first received the Family Funding money from Chalice, he bought one piece of charcoal, and sold it. Then a bag of charcoal. He expanded to selling a small amount of tomatoes. Now he has trucks full of tomatoes and onions to sell at his market stall. He has been able to move into a house near the market, with land for more farm production. His children had never slept inside a cemented house before – and they loved it! The whole family is also grateful that the sponsorship program has allowed all of the children to receive a good education. Josphat dreams of being able to buy an acre of farmland and begin cattle-rearing, securing the long-term financial stability of his family.

Josphat at the produce stall he owns and runs with his wife.

Josphat at the produce stall he owns and runs with his wife.

Everyone here at Chalice loves to see these dynamic parents investing in their families and the futures of their children. The fruits of their hard work, not to mention their bravery in the face of risk, shows in the ambition and success of their children. It’s like that saying – “Give a man to fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.” It’s almost like Chalice adds “Give a man a fishing rod, feed him, and his family, for generations.”

 

— By Kate Mosher, Creative Specialist and Photographer at Chalice

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Talk About Street Art!

On my first day in Kumbakonam, the town where Chalice’s Tamil Site is based, my colleagues and I took an evening stroll through a residential neighborhood. I kept seeing chalk designs on the ground in front of the house’s doorway. Some simple, some more elaborate.

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My colleague explained to me that this practice is called rangoli, or sometimes kolam. Residents, often women and girls, will draw fresh ones in the mornings and evenings in front of their homes. At times, such as on special occasions or during festivals, the designs will have specific means or honour specific deities. Sometimes they are just decorative and an opportunity to get creative.

One woman came out and offered to let us watch as she drew a fresh one for her home. Expecting a simple design like the ones I had seen before, I pulled out my camera, expecting to film the entire process in about a minute. But with a guest and a gathering audience, our artist drew an intricate design that took at least a quarter of an hour!

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Throughout my travels in India, I was greeted with many beautiful and sophisticated rongoli designs.

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Too bad in Canada, we tend to spend more time shoveling our front stoops than drawing in chalk!

— By Kate Mosher, Creative Specialist & Photographer at Chalice

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Stews You Can Use – Functional Food in Nairobi

Since 2015, Chalice has been partnering with Inverness County Cares, a Nova Scotian community group, to support the daily operations of St Charles Lwanga Secondary School, near Nairobi, Kenya.

St Charles Lwanga secondary school, just outside Nairobi, Kenya.

St Charles Lwanga secondary school, just outside Nairobi, Kenya.

I was visiting the school, and my colleagues went into a meeting while I walked around the school to take pictures – I am the photographer, after all. I had made my rounds and returned to the headmaster’s office to wait for my colleagues to come for lunch. It became clear that lunch was going to be a while yet. So I went back out and hung out with students while they took their lunch break. Still no sign of my colleagues. But I realized the cooking staff were getting under way with preparing our meal. Thinking of those popular ‘recipe videos’ like on Mashable and Buzzfeed, I pulled out my camera and tried to capture the process of making…whatever it was exactly that they were making.

Chopping onions. Chopping tomatoes. Boiling water… aha! They’re making a stew! So, I got completely underfoot for the next hour or so while they prepared stew, rice, greens and other delectable items for my colleagues and me.

When I got home, I made my very own “recipe video” – but good luck trying it at home, because there aren’t exactly precise timings and measured ingredients.

Our meal that day represented many Kenyan staples. It included:

  • Beef stew – beef, tomato, onion, garlic, oil
  • Rice – classic and white!
  • Ugali – a staple for Kenyan cuisine – it consists of cooking either cornmeal, millet or sorghum flour in boiling water or milk until solidifies into a thick, doughy ball.
  • Stewed or braised mixed (collard) greens
  • Topped off with a beautiful, sweet, creamy local banana for dessert.

I had noticed that the students were also eating ugali that day, and theirs was paired with githeri, another ubiquitous staple meal, which really means any kind of combination of boiled beans and corn. It’s understandable why it’s popular – it’s highly versatile with flavouring, and it’s filling and nutritious when served with a starch — like today’s ugali, or perhaps a chapathi (a soft flatbread similar to tortilla or naan).

Serving plates of lunch at St Charles Lwanga

Serving plates of lunch at St Charles Lwanga

And with full bellies, we continued onto a highly productive day. My colleagues completed their meetings, and the students conducted a school-wide debate. Powered on nutritious food, there’s no stopping these young people!

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To learn more about St Charles Lwanga school, check out http://www.chalice.ca/ways-to-give/community-projects/4120-st-charles-lwanga-school-and-children-s-centre-kenya or here to learn about Inverness County Cares http://invernesscountycares.com/.

To learn more about the Chalice Children Nutrition Fund and how you can help, check out http://www.chalice.ca/get-involved/chalice-children

— By Kate Mosher, Creative Specialist and Photographer at Chalice