Sponsorship Empowers Women To Succeed

When women are given opportunities, they are unstoppable. And who knows that better than mother-of-three Lorenza?  

This enterprising mother lives near our Ayolas site in Paraguay, and is fortunate two of her children, Cesar David and Rodrigo Ariel, have Chalice sponsors. Lorenza “faces difficulties with courage”, our site staff write, while sharing the values of love and responsibility with her children. 

Since two of her children are sponsored, Lorenza is a member of a Chalice Family Circle Group. Parents meet monthly to discuss expenses and empower one another to start small businesses.  

Soon, it was Lorenza’s turn to be empowered. 

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“So What?” Mississauga Teacher Inspired Students To Care

Valens Wolfs doesn’t take credit for a club that sponsored a child for over a decade and inspired students year after year. The credit, he said in an interview, all goes to his students. 

When grade 13 was still around, the seasoned teacher taught a class called Science in Society at Father Michael Goetz Secondary School in Mississauga, Ontario. The class covered science’s impact in society throughout the history of technology, and quickly, the word spread: this was the class to take. Soon, enrollment tripled.  

Eventually, students who finished the course began asking: “Sir, can we keep meeting?”  

Valens, knowing those moments don’t come around every day, jumped at the chance. 

“As an educator, doesn’t matter what you’re doing – stop everything, hold the presses, we’ve got interest,” he said.  

Thus the SSO Wh5t Club (pronounced ‘So what?) was born. What began as a group of students meeting weekly to discuss an article blossomed into a 25-year club that raised awareness of social justice issues and, eventually, sponsored a child named Samuel through Chalice. 

Chalice

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A Tale of Three Tailors

If you ever take a trip to India (post-COVID-19, of course), you might find three women living near our Tamil site. Though they come from very different backgrounds, they all have one thing in common. 

Ms. Selvi’s father died not long ago, and she lives in a thatched house with her mother, older brother and younger sister. She completed grade 12, but no further. 

Mrs. Priya lives with her mother-in-law, husband and two children. One child is in grade one, while the other is four years old. 

Mrs. Easu lives with her husband and two children. She and her husband are both agricultural workers, but the money hasn’t been enough to support the family. They desperately needed another source of income.  

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Hope Blooms Amid Pandemic

It’s a sunny day near our Fatima site in Bolivia, and the winds have slowed. Some might even call it a lucky day. 

A group of elders are gathering with families and friends, some for the first time in over a year. It’s to be a meeting of friendly conversation over lunch.  

“These diseases are taking our time,” says one woman, Mrs. Cristina. She’s arrived with her granddaughter and grandson and has just spotted a friend. It’s been over a year since she last saw this person.  

Incessant words have rung in their ears this year. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s been a constant refrain of, “Take care of yourselves, don’t go out or touch other people.” Their lives are lived in confinement, and they can no longer partake in their interests among friends. 

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One Family, Double the Entrepreneurs

Coming from an entrepreneurial family, it’s no surprise Yosebu ended up running a business of his own. 

But let’s rewind. He lives near our Mangalagiri site in India, and has two brothers and one sister. Growing up, times were tough. Yosebu’s father struggled to support all his children, so his daughter’s generous Chalice sponsor became a blessing.  

Life began to improve, and the family’s basic needs were met. Yosebu’s brother, Solomon Raj, became a mechanic. The Chalice gift catalogue set him up with what he needed to open his own shop, and he’s doing well.  

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Calex Gives Back

From just a young age, Calex had a front row-seat into what it means to be successful. 

Hailing from near our Don Bosco site in Paraguay, he used to accompany his mother and father while they sold straws and brooms.  

At age 10, Calex was fortunate to be selected by a kind Chalice sponsor, and with their help, remained dedicated and faithful to his studies.  

He finished high school, and went on to university, a major step in his life, eventually graduating with a Bachelor of Science. 

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How Sponsorship Completely Changed Eunice’s Life

When MaryAnne first looked at the sea of children in a Chalice sponsorship booklet, Eunice’s eyes stood out.  

Compared to all the other children, she looked “so sad,” MaryAnne shared in an interview. 

At the time, MaryAnne worked as Chalice’s International Operations Manager for Latin America. She already sponsored one child, and wanted to take on another. She and her family chose Eunice, a young girl from Kenya nearing her teenage years. 

Like many sponsors, MaryAnne and her family wrote to Eunice. Through their correspondence, Eunice received valuable support from MaryAnne, as well as the prayers of her family.  

But soon, the situation changed.  

The boarding school Eunice attended ended its relationship with Chalice, and the site closed. Many of the students simply went home. For Eunice, whose mother passed away years before and whose father wasn’t in her life, home wasn’t an option.  

MaryAnne, on the other side of the world, was heartbroken.  

She wrote her a letter, letting Eunice know she was on her mind and heart, and in her prayers. 

“That was it. It was closed, and we had no more contact with her,” she said. 

In the intervening four years, MaryAnne thought about Eunice often. But with no way to contact her, she had no way of finding out what had happened to her. She didn’t know Eunice prayed regularly, in the hopes she would meet MaryAnne again.  

MaryAnne was eventually promoted to Senior International Manager at Chalice, a role she still serves in today. The opportunity to visit Kenya soon came up.  

It was a longshot, but she knew she wanted to try and find Eunice. Just in case.  

If there’s one thing that can be said about our site staff in Kenya, it’s that they’re miracle workers. They managed to trace Eunice to a Christian boarding school, where she had, against all odds, studied hard and earned admission on merit. 

This was all news to MaryAnne. She was prepared for any possibility, but amazed when she discovered Eunice doing so well. 

The only thing left was to reconnect. 

The deputy principal of the school told Eunice someone was there to meet her. But Eunice had no idea who that someone was. 

To her surprise, Eunice shared in the interview, the first face she saw was MaryAnne’s. 

“It was like, ‘God has answered my prayer’,” Eunice said.  

At that moment, all they could do was hug each other and cry.  

Up to that point, Eunice was working whenever she could to pay for school. MaryAnne asked Eunice if she’d like to be sponsored again, and naturally, Eunice accepted. With the help of sponsorship, Eunice’s expenses and fees were covered, so she could focus on her studies.  

That wasn’t the end of Eunice’s struggles, but it was the beginning of renewed hope.  

When MaryAnne visited Nairobi again, she helped Eunice apply for university. It was then Eunice asked if she could call her “Mom”.

Of course, MaryAnne said yes.

Around the same time, Eunice was introduced to Martha, Chalice’s East Africa coordinator.  

Despite all the support from MaryAnne and her family in Canada, Eunice was missing something important: a place to truly call home. She needed somewhere to go when not in school, that could give her support on the ground.  

In that moment, with a loving and generous heart, Martha stepped in.  

She offered Eunice the chance to come live with her and her family, giving her a soft place to land. They grew close, and today, when Eunice thinks “family”, she thinks “Martha and MaryAnne”.  

She’s now completed studies in special education, and is doing an internship at Chalice’s Konta site, formerly called the School for the Deaf. There, she works with children who are deaf or hard of hearing, her true passion.  

“When I talk to them, we interact, I am able to make them feel they are accepted in the society,” Eunice said. 

She dreams of pursuing a master’s degree, and prays that one day, she can help a child the way MaryAnne helped her

In fact, Eunice said, MaryAnne returned to her life at just the right moment.  

“She’s more than a mother to me,” Eunice said.  

Follow Chalice on Facebook and Instagram for daily updates from our sponsor sites, impact stories, and more!

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Peruvian Chocotejas

Chocotejas are a traditional dessert from Peru! Originally from Ica, in the south of Lima, this delicious dessert is filled with “manjar blanco”, or “dulce de leche”, along with pecans, walnuts, fig, raisins, and coconut flakes.  

It’s common for people from other Peruvian regions to travel to Ica just for delicious chocotejas they can share with friends and family.  

(Makes 6-12 chocotejas*) 

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A Q&A With Chris Bray

Introducing…Chris Bray! 

Chris is a Catholic speaker, musician, and author who spends his days travelling across the country, giving people hope by helping them draw closer to Christ. He inspires people everywhere he goes, and from them, he draws encouragement and motivation to grow his ministry.  

He’s partnering with Chalice to speak at the Catholic Educators’ Conference in Vancouver, B.C. But what’s the story of Chris? What’s going on behind that smiling face? We sat down for a Q&A with Chris to get to know the real him.  

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