With a mischievous grin and sparkling eyes, Tracey, a non-sponsored child living near our Tondo sponsor site in the Philippines, seems like any other active seven-year-old child. His antics keeps his parents on their toes as they smile with relief and whisper prayers of thanksgiving.
This typical rowdy behaviour brings his parents much joy because unlike most children, Tracey has faced many medical challenges in his young life. He was born with a congenital heart defect known as Tetralogy of Fallot, a rare condition caused by a combination of four heart defects. His parents knew that he would need surgery at some point and worried about how they would ever afford it. His father has only been able to find infrequent contract work, so the family of four survives on their grandfather’s meagre salary as a local police officer.
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.
-We are still open during our regular hours, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. AST, Monday to Friday. As of March 16, 2021, most of our Canadian staff are currently working in our Bedford, Nova Scotia office with enhanced hygiene and physical distancing practices, but some may still be away from the office due COVID 19 related circumstances.
-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, international travel restrictions are lifted, and travel would not expose our Chalice family (in Canada and abroad) to an unreasonable level of risk.
-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.
Thirteen-year-old Alina is an outgoing, happy girl who lives with her parents near our Ternopil site in Ukraine. When she was very little, Alina was diagnosed with double-sided deafness. She’s unable to hear any sounds on her own, and must use sign language to communicate with her friends and family.
With the help of hearing aids, Alina is able to hear some faint sounds, which helps keep her safe and alert in public. Despite her disability, Alina is an accomplished student, and a talented swimmer. She’s earned many awards in her endeavors!
Every year, Alina’s parents take her for a hearing checkup at the local hospital. After her last examination, doctors recommended that she wear a better quality hearing aid that will allow her to hear high definition sounds. Her last hearing aid was purchased over six years ago, making the technology obsolete.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.