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!”
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.
Good dental hygiene is essential for the health and happiness of growing children. In the Philippines, tooth decay is a widespread problem afflicting many children and adults. Last year, at a routine heath check at our sponsor site in Tondo, almost 100% of our 1325 sponsored children had cavities.
Tooth decay and gum disease have a serious effect on both children and adults. Tooth issues can weaken bodily defenses for serious and potentially dangerous diseases and infections. Poor oral health also negatively affects school performance. In the Philippines, toothache is the primary cause of absenteeism, and reduces confidence and self-esteem due to pain and missing or decayed teeth.
Every child deserves to have a strong, beautiful smile. Our new Zero Cavities project aims to treat and eradicate cavities for sponsored children and their siblings at our Tondo site. Children receive dental treatment for current issues, regular fluoride rinses, and are being taught how to properly care for their teeth at home.
In the Philippines, many children living in poverty are in poor health. Malnutrition, leading to anemia and poor dental health, is one of the most urgent issues at many of our Filipino sites. Through the support of our sponsors and donors, we work with our local partners to implement nutrition programs to help nourish hungry children and families.
In addition to sponsorship, our Tondo site in the Philippines provides regular daily meals supported through our nutrition program. Vitamins and extra supplements are also provided to anemic and vitamin deficient children.
So far, the children in Tondo have greatly benefited from the regular, healthy meals. In our 2017-2018 year, 144,551 meals were fed to children in need. Sponsored children aren’t the only ones who benefit- the coordinators were given permission to feed other children who were hungry and came asking for food, as long as the children in the program were fed.
Last September, Maskym, a sponsored child from our Ternopil site in Ukraine, came home from school with a sharp headache and high fever. Svitlana, his mother, kept Maksym home from school for two days thinking he had the flu. Maksym, however, just kept getting sicker. Svitlana also noticed that his head was constantly tilting to one side.
Svitlana brought Maksym to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with swelling of the brain. Treatment, however, had no effect. Maksym was quickly transferred to larger hospital where he underwent a variety of blood tests. It was soon discovered that he suffered from Lyme Disease. After a few days of antibiotics, he improved and was sent home.
Just one month later, Maksym became sick once again. Doctors informed the family that Maksym would need to be treated for upwards of one year to see improvement. Worst of all, the disease had caused many complications, such as inflammation of the brain stem, chest, stomach, heart, and kidney and pancreas issues.
Nutrition is the foundation to a healthy life. Kids who eat healthy, well-balanced meals every day have the fuel to excel. Nourished children learn better in class, and have the energy to laugh, run, and play. In communities near our CMAVIL site in Paraguay, healthy eating isn’t always common knowledge. Many parents come from a background where they never learned healthy eating habits. It can be hard for busy mothers to make sure their children get the proper nourishment, especially those without access to resources or education.
This September, we’ve heard many inspiring back-to-school stories from our sites. Kind donors have made it possible for many classrooms to be stocked with essential school supplies, and sponsorship allows children to attend school with the proper care and nourishment they need to thrive.
Our sites are dedicated to making sure every single child gets the support needed to shine in the classroom. For some children, this means extra study time and tutoring, or specific equipment needed for school. Site staff and teachers pay close attention to make sure students are successful!
Franco, 13, is from our Levetante Mujer site in Bolivia. For the past few years, Franco had been falling behind in his classes. He didn’t seem to understand material written on the board, and constantly complained of headaches and blurry vision. He was frustrated with his classes, and wasn’t excited to go to school in the mornings.
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.