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!
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.
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.
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