Category Archives: Health

Helping neighbours in need during pandemic restrictions

Since the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chalice staff and supporters in Canada have been concerned for the safety and well-being of children, families and staff members at our sites around the world. There are undoubtedly some very challenging situations in the communities we serve, but as often happens, this crisis has brought forward acts of solidarity and compassion.

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Sponsored families can rely on family funding amidst pandemic

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are being felt across the entire globe, and our sponsor sites are not exempt. Border closures, job shutdowns, and food shortages are disproportionally affecting the poorest in our global community, many of whom already face dire circumstances on the best of days. Sponsorship, thankfully, has been providing a lifeline for families in need struggling throughout this pandemic.

Even though many of our site offices are currently closed, families are still able to rely on the support of sponsorship funds. Thanks to our unique family funding model, sponsorship funds are sent directly to the bank accounts of sponsored families, so they are still able to access much-needed financial support.

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COVID-19: updates and information

We at Chalice are closely monitoring updates on the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We are working diligently to ensure that our operations continue safely. We will continue to update all of our supporters with the most recent information we have regarding our response to COVID-19.

Current updates:

-Our head office in Bedford, Nova Scotia, is currently closed to all visitors as a safety precaution until further notice.

-We are still open during our regular hours, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. AST, Monday to Friday. In our efforts to practice social distancing to prevent the spread of the virus, some of our staff is working remotely. We can be contacted at 1.800.776.6855 or by emailing info@chalice.ca. Due to staff working remotely, forwarding may be delayed, but rest assured, we will work to promptly return your inquiry.

-All Parish appeals are suspended until further notice due to the Canadian government’s recommendation to limit social gatherings.

-All international staff travel is suspended until further notice.

-Our missions have been cancelled until further notice.  We cannot reasonably plan for our next mission until the pandemic has passed, hopefully a vaccine is available, international travel restrictions are lifted, and travel would not expose our Chalice family (in Canada and abroad) to an unreasonable level of risk.  For now, we are cancelling our previously scheduled mission trips to India and Ukraine.  Hopefully by the spring of 2021, we will be able to plan for our missions once again, at which time, our India and Ukraine trips will be a priority, with a goal of hosting one mission in the fall of 2021.

-We are working diligently to ensure that all of our programs continue to run effectively, and that all donations and funds continue to be sent to our sponsor sites in a timely manner.

Sponsored children updates

Africa: 

-All Kenyan schools and colleges are closed in compliance with a directive issued by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Sunday March 16.  All public gatherings have also been suspended so Family Circle meetings in Kenya are on hold until further notice.

-Ghana, Kenya and Tanzania have closed their borders, imposed travel restrictions and blocked foreign entry so there can be no sponsor visits until further notice.

Ukraine:

– Ukraine has closed its borders to all international travel. All schools are closed and there are restrictions on movement within cities and villages. All points of sale are closed with the exception of grocery stores and pharmacies. Public transportation is reduced. All employees are to work from home.

– All parent group meetings and site gatherings are suspended. Our site offices are closed with key staff accessible and working remotely. These current government directed restrictions are in place until March 30. Our sites will continue to monitor the situation and fully comply with all directives put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Haiti:

-Haiti has closed its borders to all international travel from Europe, USA, and Canada.  The border with the Dominican Republic is closed. At this time, our site offices are still open but they have implemented enhanced hygiene practices and readjusted work spaces to provide greater personal space. All parent group meetings and large site gatherings are suspended until further notice.

Latin America:

-Many areas have declared a state of emergency and schools are closed until further notice. Many areas have curfews and mobility restrictions. Staff who can are working from home, and some of our site offices are still open with a restricted staff.

India: 

-All of our site buildings in India are currently closed due to a government order to cease in-person operations. Most of our sites are able to received funds as normal. All schools are closed until further notice, and Family Circle meetings are suspended.

Philippines: 

-Some of our site offices are open with limited staff. All families are given a pass to leave their homes once a day to retrieve groceries and supplies, but the country is otherwise practicing quarantining and social distancing.

 

What can I do to help?

If you wish to support families and children at our sites facing challenges related to COVID-19, you can donate to our emergency COVID-19 relief fund. 

There are also other ways to help. Thanks to our many previously existing projects and programs regarding clean water, health, hygiene and sanitation, many of our sponsor sites have good knowledge of proper hygiene practices. You can help support these initiatives by:

Prayer

Please join us in prayer for the health and safety of our sponsored children and their families, the communities where we work, our staff and supporters around the world, and all of those affected by the virus:

“Heavenly Father, during this time of anxiety and distress, we ask for your protection for our sponsored children and elderly, our supporters, staff, volunteers, and all who are burdened in any way by this pandemic. Bless all who are now sick and bring them quickly to restoration of good health. Shield and protect all healthcare workers. Guide governments in their decisions and help them to work together to contain the disease and stop the spread. Welcome into your Kingdom all who have died and bring comfort to their families.

Most Holy Trinity, we place all our hope in you. You are our strength and our shield; in You our hearts trust; so we are helped and our hearts exult; and with our song we give thanks to You. (Psalm 28:7)”

COVID-19 informational resources:

For the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19, please visit the following websites:

Government of Canada 

World Health Organization

Five-year-old girl healthy after heart surgery

When Harichandana was born five years ago, doctors immediately noticed something unusual with her heart. They diagnosed her with a Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD), a hole between the heart’s lower chambers. Her parents were heartbroken. Their newborn baby was referred to a children’s hospital in Nellore, India, for a rigorous round of tests. Having studied the case thoroughly, doctors recommended to wait for surgery as Harichandana was still too small to undergo an operation. The family decided to forgo the surgery and take their daughter for health checkups every year on a regular basis.

Weeks rolled into months, and months into years. Suddenly, on September 25, 2019, Harichandana suffered from severe breathlessness and a terrible cough. She was rushed to the hospital, and doctors advised Harichandana’s parents to prepare her for an immediate open heart surgery. Unfortunately, the family was barely making ends meet on their income of $55 CAD a month. They couldn’t afford the hefty cost of the surgery, adding up to nearly $4700 CAD.

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New water project for Asembo, Kenya

“I remember harvesting beans with my grandmother from her backyard garden. As we would wash and clean them standing over the kitchen sink she would entertain me with stories from when she was a little girl. She grew up on an isolated farm in the country with no electricity or running water. She had many chores to complete before walking to school each morning, one of which included drawing water from their well. It was most certainly a demanding task and quite unpleasant in cold and rainy weather to be sure, but at least she didn’t have to worry about getting attacked by crocodiles or snakes!

As a child I could never understand what it was like for my grandmother to not have access to water inside her home. Even today as an adult who works in international development, knowing the realities million of people around the world face each day, I still find it difficult to comprehend the monumental effort people put forth each day in their quest to gather enough water to meet their daily needs.

This may be the reason that ensuring people have reliable access to safe water is one of my favourite projects. The unification of our generous donors here in Canada which allows for the infrastructure to be built overseas and brings such joy and relief to the families in our sites is a beautiful sight to witness. We are excited to present our most recent water project which will bring treated water to about 4,100 residents and schools within Aduoyo and Kokise villages at our Asembo sponsor site in Kenya.

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School feeding creates lasting impact

In 2014, Pope Francis said, “Educating is an act of love; it is like giving life.” If you get the opportunity to visit a school in one of our sites you know this to be true – the children are so happy and so thankful to be able to learn.

But hungry kids can’t learn. One of the ways that Chalice breaks the barrier hunger places on education is through our Nutrition Fund which provided over four million meals last year!

Surrounded by three slums, Muthaiga Primary School, located near our Baraka site in Kenya, rarely receives funds from the Ministry of Education, which places a real burden on them. The children attending school often came hungry and their academics suffered.

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Break the barriers: Thank you for the gift of hearing

Education is essential to break the cycle of poverty, but children also need to be healthy to be able to learn. Being affected by vision or hearing loss, chronic pain, or mobility problems can severely affect a child’s ability to learn. Donations to Chalice critical needs is one way our supporters help break the barrier poor health can place on a child in need.

Munich, a 17 year old sponsored teenager from our Tondo site in the Philippines, lives with severe mixed hearing loss in both her ears. She had a typical hearing throughout childhood but around the age of 10 her mother noticed that she was having trouble with her hearing.  Munich’s family is quite poor. She lives with her parents and seven siblings in the slum and even though it was evident that Munich was in great need of hearing aids to keep up with her school work, a series of unfortunate events befell the family and she didn’t receive the help she needed.

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Elder sponsorship gives Isodoro and Nati comfort and security

In addition to child sponsorship, Chalice also offers elder sponsorship at many of our sites around the world. Many elders living in poverty no longer have the ability to work for a living, and those without children or family nearby are left to support themselves. Sponsorship gives struggling elders the support they need to receive essential medical care, eat nutritious meals, and live with comfort and dignity.

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Mother and medical student: Nadia’s journey

With Mother’s Day quickly approaching, we’d like to recognize all of the incredible and hard working mothers around the world. Despite poverty and obstacles, we see the love of mothers shine through and persevere in every site in which we work.

In Paraguay, especially in poorer areas, many children are raised in single parent families, with mothers usually taking the role as primary caregiver. Nadia, from our CMAVIL site in Paraguay, was raised by her mother, Bernarda. When Nadia was very young, she had constant issues with her ears, and required expensive surgeries. Her mother was determined to help Nadia, and declared: “I will get those surgeries if I have to pick up every can in the city to pay for it!”

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Mother from Samar makes a full recovery

At our Samar site in the Philippines, many parents struggle to find full-time work. Since Samar is an island, industries and businesses are limited, and the most common work for families is fishing or seasonal wage work.

Alicia is a mother from our Samar site, and has two children, Abigail, and Vincent. Both of her children were fortunate to be chosen by kindhearted Chalice sponsors, and receive support to attend school. Alicia and her husband were both blessed to be working full-time, and the family was thriving.

A tragedy struck when Alicia’s husband had to have his arm amputated due to illness. He was left unable to work at his labour job, and Alicia was now the sole wage earner for the family. She had to pick up multiple jobs to make ends meet.

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