Theresa, from Serenje, Zambia, had to leave her mother and father when she was very young. Theresa comes from a large family, and has three sisters and five brothers. Her parents, who work as farmers, cannot provide for all of their children, especially when rainfall is scarce and crops are poor. When Theresa’s older brother was old enough for a job of his own, he took Theresa and one of her sisters to live with him, his wife, and their child in another town.
When Theresa first went to live with her brother, they all lived in a tiny thatched hut in a mission compound. The hut was small, uncomfortable, and worst of all, unsafe. The three women in the hut didn’t feel secure at night, and Theresa’s brother feared for the safety of his newborn. They wished desperately for a safer home, but Theresa’s brother didn’t make enough as a general worker to send Theresa and her sister to school, let alone purchase a new home.
In Pochaiv, Ukraine, tradition and culture is tightly woven into the fabric of the community. Parents and teachers dutifully teach long-standing customs and traditions to younger generations in order to keep Ukrainian culture strong. Pride in one’s culture creates a lasting bond among community members, and strengthens solidarity between families.
Music is an extremely important part of Ukrainian history. The earliest form of Ukrainian music was used to signal community members, imitate the sounds of nature, and to celebrate important events such as births and weddings.
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 were no shower facilities for the 55 resident children to use.
In Chiclayo, Peru, some children and their families live in remote, outlying shanty towns. These small towns don’t have the same resources that more populated areas might have, and often times, schools are under stocked. Children’s books are especially rare.
Every child should have the right to read. Thanks to the support from donors through our Gift Catalogue, our Chiclayo site started a program that allows children in remote areas to read, learn, and grow.
Ten years ago, Grace’s life was turned upside down. After a controversial election, political unrest in her home country of Kenya was at an all-time high. Violent riots were breaking out in many towns. Her hometown of Eldoret, was no longer a safe place for her family.
Grace made the difficult decision to leave her life in Eldoret behind, and flee to Gilgil, a safer area of Kenya. Grace’s husband, however, didn’t agree with her choice, and deserted the family. Grace moved alone with her children to Gilgil to start anew. Rebuilding was difficult- she was struggling to get reestablished, and couldn’t provide enough food to feed her children.
Most Canadian residents have become accustomed to a certain standard of living. Appliances, like a stove and a fridge, are household necessities. Beds, sheets, and pillows are bedroom staples, and there’s usually light bulbs in every room to light the way when night falls.
In many struggling communities in the developing world, what we view as household basics are unaffordable luxuries. Often, homes don’t have reliable electricity or running water. Individual bedrooms are rare, as are clean beds and bedding. The lack of stoves and refrigeration makes preparing hot, nutritious meals a difficulty.
When Viviana González was a little girl, she inherited a very special talent from her mother. She learned the beautiful art of weaving ñanduti, a rare, artisanal fabric found only in her hometown of Itauguá, Paraguay. Viviana’s still an avid weaver, and she doesn’t let her age of 81 slow her down.
Every morning, Viviana walks four kilometers to the market to stock up on crafting materials, and to buy herself enough food for her daily nutrition. Before she was sponsored, however, Vivian could barely afford what she needed to keep afloat.
Kateryna, from Pochaiv, Ukraine, didn’t have an easy childhood. Her mother, the only caretaker of the family, worked her hardest to take care of Kateryna and her two brothers. She took on multiple jobs, including servicing a local cemetery. She worked nearly every day, even on Sundays selling candles and lamps to cemetery visitors.
It was incredibly hard for Kateryna’s mother to afford housing on her small income, so the family lived in the cemetery’s facility building.The family of four shared one tiny room cluttered with landscaping tools, buckets, and shovels. The room had no running water or bathroom facilities. The children, often left alone to entertain themselves, would play between the cemetery graves.