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.

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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.

From unable to unstoppable: Mykola’s miracle

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Mykola, 17, is a sponsored child from our Ternopil site in Ukraine. Mykola was born with cerebral palsy, and requires ongoing clinical and therapeutic treatments. He is unable to care for himself and depends on his mother’s help full time, leaving her unable to work. His father is the sole provider for the family, but often struggles because he earns very little income. Mykola’s parents couldn’t afford to continue his costly therapy treatments on their own.

Mykola and his family were incredibly grateful when he was sponsored four years ago at the age of 13. Because of sponsorship, he was able to continue his treatments, and was able to explore new treatment courses, too! So far, Mykola has taken nine treatment courses at the Clinic of Kozyavkin, and has taken five Dolphin Assisted Therapy sessions. Dolphin Assisted Therapy (DAT) is used as a therapeutic approach for many disorders, and helps build muscle strength and motor skills.

Prior to sponsorship, Mykola’s speech was stilted, he suffered from constant seizures, and he had little control of his leg muscles due to his condition. Today, Mykola’s leg muscles are stronger and have become much more flexible. He no longer needs sedatives and rarely suffers from seizures anymore, allowing him to sleep comfortably throughout the night. Most noteworthy, Mykola, who had never spoken a word, is now able to say short sentences and walk short distances with support.

This success was an unforeseen blessing for his mom who said, “I never thought he’d be able to do so well. If he can do this, what else can he do?” We are confident that through continued sponsorship, Mykola will continue to thrive and it is our hope that one day, he will be able to walk on his own! This is just one of the many success stories that demonstrate how Chalice sponsorship transforms lives!

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Mykola’s name is Ukrainian-derived from Nicholas, meaning “victory of the people”. This truly reflects the spirit of our supporters, knowing that if we all work together to help others in need, we will all be victorious.

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Paul’s Path to Success

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Paul Kpiinzana was born in 1993 in Yuornuur, a small farming community in the Wa district of Ghana, Africa. Paul’s parents were peasant farmers, and worked incredibly hard to make ends meet. However, they struggled to feed their family, and couldn’t provide Paul’s basic needs. Paul was eventually sent away from his family to live with his uncle, in hopes that he could have a better life.

Paul was accepted into Chalice’s sponsorship program at a time when he truly needed blessings. Sponsorship allowed Paul to attend school, where he began to dream about the future. He loved watching his teachers share their knowledge, and wanted to grow up to do the same. His dream of becoming a teacher pushed him to focus on his studies.

Paul’s marks at his local school were so good that he was invited to attend St. Cyperian Minor Seminary, a private school focused on general arts education. This school’s specialized curriculum prepares students for post-secondary studies. Sponsorship helped Paul pay tuition fees, and he was able to focus on his studies without worrying. He graduated in 2013 with flying colours.

With the preparation he received from St. Cyperian, Paul was able to attend the Bagabaga Teacher’s College, where he majored in French. He completed the course 2016. Soon after, Paul was offered a teaching position at the local junior high school, and has been teaching French there ever since.

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“I express my heartfelt gratitude to Chalice for the success I’ve had in my life,” Paul smiles. “I was able to achieve my goals without so much worry, thanks to my sponsor.” Paul wishes to one day to travel to a francophone country to continue his French studies, so that he can be an even better teacher to his precious students.

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Finding Her Purpose Through God’s Grace

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Varalakshmi was a happy child with many dreams for her future. However, at age 15 she was diagnosed with an incurable skin disease that forced her to give up her academic studies and shattered her dreams for the future. Without an education, her mother tried to find a suitable marriage for her, but her skin disease made it difficult. Finally, a young man agreed to marry her, but she would learn too late that he harboured a life-changing secret.

Within one year of marriage, Varalakshmi joyfully gave birth to a baby boy, only to discover that they were both infected with HIV. Her husband was aware of his HIV status before marriage but did not reveal it to anyone and now Varalakshmi had to live with the virus and the stigma attached to it.

Her husband died shortly after the birth of their son, leaving Varalakshmi abandoned and devastated. Turned aside by her family and village, she and her son faced the social stigma attached to their HIV status alone. She was refused jobs and rental homes; she lost all hope and her health was deteriorating.

While searching for a way to make her life meaningful, Varalakshmi came in contact with a Chalice staff member, which was the beginning of a new phase of life full of hope and opportunities. Her son became a sponsored child and Varalakshmi committed herself to serve the children and adults in her community living with HIV and AIDS.

Now Varalakshmi is one of our field workers in Nellore. She has tremendous love for the sponsored children and children of parents living with HIV. She is passionate in communicating God’s compassion to them and sacrifices her time and energy to assist those living with HIV, ensuring they are accessing appropriate medical care and taking their medications. Mothers of our sponsored children find strong support in Varalakshmi and they seek her guidance for a healthy life. She also has a good relationship with government officials in the departments related to HIV. She is an effective counselor, offering referral services to those living with the virus and accompanying people to the hospital when needed. She is a fierce protector of many of our sponsored children living with HIV.

Through family counseling, Varalakshmi helps families overcome all obstacles and empowers them to lead their life with hope and courage, to face a society that excludes them. She accompanies children who are under antiretroviral therapy to ensure consistent treatment and prevent a relapse. She remains a bearer of hope and light to the people.

Varalakshmi is proud to have found her passion working for Chalice and continues to remain an instrument for translating God’s compassionate love and life to these disadvantaged children and persons living with HIV.

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Traditional Kenyan Stew

 

Cook with Chalice brings traditional recipes from our sponsor sites around the world to you. Learn authentic recipes rooted in history that you can make in your own home.

On a mission trip, our videographer, Kate, had the opportunity to watch the preparation of a hearty, traditional Kenyan stew. This simple, filling lunch is easy to prepare and is a staple in many Kenyan diets. Kenyan stew is usually made with what’s on hand, so feel free to add some of the optional ingredients if you have them in your pantry.

Traditional Kenyan Stew

1/2 kg beef or goat meat, cut into bite sizes

4 tbsp vegetable oil                 

1 large red onion, diced

3-4 fresh tomatoes, diced

2 cups of soup stock or water

Salt, to taste

1 cup white or brown rice, prepared separately

Greens to saute, prepared separately

Optional:

  • * ½ teaspoon curry powder
  • * 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • *  1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • * 2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed

Directions  

  1. Heat oil in a large pot on medium heat
  2. Saute meat in oil over medium heat until lightly browned
  3. Dice red onion and fry with meat for 5-7 minutes until tender, stirring frequently
  4. Dice tomatoes and add to the stew, stirring well
  5. Season stew liberally with salt (for less sodium, 1/2 tbsp)
  6. Slowly add soup stock or water
  7. Reduce heat, simmer uncovered for 10 minutes or until desired consistency

Separately:

  • In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups of water with 1 cup of rice to a boil, reduce heat and cover for 15 minutes or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff rice with a fork.
  • In a small frying pan, saute fresh greens (kale, spinach) and other desired vegetables with 1 tbsp of oil over medium heat.

Serve Traditional Kenyan Stew over plain rice and with a side of sauteed greens. Enjoy!

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