The children and staff from our Neema site in Tanzania wish you warm Christmas blessings filled with holy joy, prosperity, and hopeful blessings for the future.
“Christmas comes to our life every year with new hope and love to each and every person of the world,” says Sr. Mary Grace, our Neema site director.
Last Christmas, children at our Neema site celebrated the Holy Eucharist and offered thoughtful prayers for their beloved sponsors. After prayerfully reflecting upon the birth of Christ, children and their families enjoyed a delicious lunch together. The menu included chicken, chips, salad, rice, and fruit, favourites of many! It was one of the most enjoyable moments of the year.
Each year as Christmas approaches, mothers of sponsored children at our PINIFE site in Peru reflect on how they can make the holidays special. A few years ago, Chalice family circles decided that the best way to enjoy Christmas was to share joy and blessings with their neighbors in need.
In the surrounding community, many elders struggle to make ends meet. During Christmas, mothers took time to visit the elderly, sharing in conversation and prayer. This was eye-opening for the mothers, for even though their daily lives are difficult, they met others in as much need as them.
The mothers were moved to give the elders what they could from what little they had, and eagerly gifted food hampers they created at the end of their visits. “They returned home with that experience of feeling joy for giving, thus valuing their own family and getting closer to God who loves us and is always watching over all,” says the Sisters who oversee our PINIFE site.
In Haiti, life is a daily struggle. Some families may have a small amount of food in their home for a daily meal, but most don’t. Each day is uncertain. Will they be able to find a way to earn some money today? Will their kids go hungry again?
Sponsorship gives parents a little security and the peace of mind to know they can meet the basic needs of their family. Since the implementation of our family funding model, which deposits funds directly into each family’s bank account, parents are learning how to budget and save. Understanding their finances gives parents the confidence to plan for their future.
Ange-Dala is a bright and cheerful sponsored girl from our Haiti North sponsor site. Before she was sponsored, her family struggled each day, and life was full of uncertainty. Now, her family receives sponsorship benefits which are used for her school needs and food. A small sum is also saved to buy cement and sand to make bricks. Over time, brick by brick, Ange-Dala’s family has turned their small, cramped two-room mud house into a four-room house that is safer and has enough room to accommodate all six family members.
When Cornet was a young boy growing up on the outskirts of our Nairobi site in Kenya, he always dreamed of achieving an education of his own, something many of his family members and peers didn’t have access to. Even though he worked incredibly hard throughout school, he struggled to make ends meet for both his academic and family life, and couldn’t afford to continue his studies after high school.
Last year, when Cornet learned of Chalice’s Business Entrepreneurship Program at our Nairobi site through a friend, he attended conferences to learn more about business management. He started attending regularly, and soon applied to pitch his small business idea to our site to be considered for funding. He came fully prepared with hopes that he would emerge successful; and he did! He received a total of $1031 CAD to start a small cyber café! He purchased two desktop computers, a photocopier, a scanner with a printer, a binding machine, chairs, and a desk.
In many communities surrounding our Nairobi site in Kenya, a lack of employment opportunities has been an ongoing issue, especially for young adults. In these areas, it’s a constant struggle for many individuals to find stable, well-paying work that they can rely on for a steady income.
Our East Africa Coordinator, Martha, walks by a particular corner every day on her way to and from work. Known as the “jobless corner,” young men would wait here to be approached and chosen for daily wage labour jobs. She would see these same young men waiting for work, day in and day out. A naturally social person, Martha would stop and chat, and got to know the young men over many months.
Martha was saddened by their stories. Despite their best efforts, they were chronically unemployed, and their families were suffering. So Martha did what she does best – she educated them! She met with them as a group, listened, connected them to local resources, and gave shape to their dreams. Upon learning about their skills and potential, she arranged for the group to receive entrepreneurship workshops and financial training thanks to kind Chalice donors. Thus, the “Njiru Stars” youth group was born!