Category Archives: Health

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.
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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.

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.

World Malaria Day

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April 25 is World Malaria Day, an occasion to highlight the ongoing effort to fight and eradicate malaria. Malaria is a disease spread by mosquitoes. It causes severe flu-like symptoms, and can lead to death if untreated. Some of our sites are in areas where malaria is prevalent.  We work with our sites to prevent malaria by providing mosquito nets and preventative medication. Sponsored children are able to receive crucial medical care for the treatment of this serious disease.

Kate, our Creative Specialist, contracted malaria while working in Ghana, Africa. Read about her experience that inspired her to sponsor a child through Chalice:

“In 2013, I had just turned 22. I had also just graduated from York University, with a degree in Film Production. The ink was barely dry on my diploma, and I found myself in Tamale, Ghana, on an internship. It was supposed to be a communications job, but when I got there, they saw my camera. At the time, I was not a trained photographer, but my Nikon looked professional enough to them, and photographer soon became my primary role.

One organization in our membership group was just launching a new project with some of the poorest households in northern Ghana, which is the most impoverished and underdeveloped region of the country. They had no photos for their marketing materials or reports, so off I went, on the back of a motorbike, to rural hospitals, schools, and homes.

There’s a town way up in the northwest called Wa. Going to Wa is well known to be a harrowing journey. The roads are not just unpaved, but require a Land Cruiser to even think about driving on them. Our trip kept getting delayed, as it took only the smallest detail to derail the whole plan. My anticipation was mounting, and I was thrilled when we finally had a date for it to happen.

Kate in Wa, Ghana

Kate in Wa, Ghana

The morning before we left, I woke up not feeling well. I hoped it was dehydration, so I drank some juice, and set off for the 45 minute walk to Mass. I lurched and staggered up the road, and realized I couldn’t make it. Determined that I was not sick, I rested in bed for the day.

I awoke the next morning faring no better. I started telling my roommates that I was going to the hospital to be tested for malaria, and started asking about where to go. I realized in all my frenzy, I was actually feeling better. Maybe breakfast had kicked in, I reasoned. I felt good enough to go. So I went to Wa, not saying anything to my companions about the scare.

The roads were as atrocious as I’d been promised, but I was otherwise fine. The next day, however, the nausea was back. I later learned this is a common aspect of malaria – symptoms come in waves. Later, I felt well enough to work , only to arrive at the site to be ushered to a chair or the back of a truck to curl into a ball while my colleagues did their jobs.

One of the days, they dropped me off at a guest house run by a Catholic convent. The sisters let me stay for the afternoon, free of charge. I was so grateful for their generosity. Through my stubbornness, I had not just become a burden to my colleagues, but was imposing on these kind and busy Sisters. After about three days of this pattern, my colleagues took me to a doctor for malaria treatment.

When I returned to Canada a few months later, I landed a full time job in my chosen field, film making. I knew I finally had sufficient means to start sponsoring a child through Chalice. My parents had always sponsored at least one child. To me, it was just a matter of course that I would sponsor someday too.

I learned that Chalice has a sponsor site in Wa, as I probably would have observed if I hadn’t been quite so… hindered. Wa’s dry climate and unpredictable rains create frequent water shortages. Sustaining small-scale farms is precarious, and most educated youth move to the prospering southern regions. Retaining teachers is a constant challenge. Hepatitis B is a pervasive issue.

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Those were all reasons to sponsor a child in Wa. But as I was on Chalice’s website, a smile jumped out at me. Her name is Geraldina, and at the time, she was 12 years old. And what did she want to be? A nurse, just like the ones who cared for me when I was vulnerable. 

That is my story of why I sponsored a child. There are thousands, tens of thousands more. Over the years, Chalice staff have heard hundreds of reasons of why sponsors chose that child. Some felt strangely compelled. Some happened to pick up the folder of a child with their own name, or the name of a deceased relative. Some see a child who wants to have their profession when they grow up, or have the same hobbies as their own children. I have sponsored Geraldina for 3 years now, and I hope one day she can be among the ranks of those kind and compassionate nurses.”

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