At many of our sites around the world, we work in tandem with Catholic Sisters to offer support and love to those in need. In Kumbo, Cameroon, we are blessed to work with the Sisters of St. Therese of the Child Jesus. The Sisters oversee our sponsorship program for children and elders in Kumbo and surrounding rural communities. In addition to sponsorship, the Sisters provide adult skills training for women, HIV/AIDS testing, and workshops on computer skills and responsible management of family farms.
The Sisters also run the St. Therese College and Women Empowerment Center. The college provides excellent educational and professional opportunities to young Cameroonians, with a special emphasis on the less privileged. This central hub for education is essential for many local young adults looking to continue their studies after high school.
For many years, the college lacked a proper dormitories for girls. Our Chalice supporters gave girls in Cameroon a great gift when they funded renovations for the dormitories!
Oleksandr grew up small village in Ukraine with his mom and younger brother. When Oleksandr was eight years old, he was diagnosed with scoliosis, a deformation of the spine. Instead of forming a straight line, his spine was slowly taking on an “S” shape. Over the years, his mother tried many nonsurgical treatments for Oleksandr, hoping to alleviate his pain.
By age 14, his condition worsened significantly. His spinal curve was visible, and he felt a sharp pain in his back while sitting and standing. One of his rib cages became higher than the other, which caused breathing and heart problems. Surgery was the only solution to these complicated issues.
Thanja, a sponsored child from our Imphal site in India, just scored in the top 0.1% on his national high school graduation exams, placing 23rd out of 37,138 students.
A shy village boy, Thanja grew up lacking basic necessities. Before he was sponsored, he had no hope of pursuing education, and limited his dreams. With sponsorship, Thanja was able to attend school, receive proper care, and start planning for his future.
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!”
Rosemarie, from Bulacan, Philippines, is the youngest of three children. Both of her parents worked very hard, but barely earned enough to put food on the table. Many days, Rosemarie would go to school without eating anything for the entire day.
While she was still in elementary school, Rosemarie was selected by a Chalice sponsor. Her determination and competitive spirit were fueled even further with the support of sponsorship. Her many talents, such as dancing, drawing, and playing musical instruments were honed by joining school activities. She was a shining star in the classroom, and achieved top marks until she graduated.
Women from our Fatima site in Bolivia had the unique opportunity to strengthen their independence. Over 75 mothers of sponsored children were invited to participate in a two month cooking course organized by our site. This course, however, didn’t just cover household recipes; it featured popular recipes for Bolivian street food.
Street food is quite popular in Bolivia, and is a fast and easy way to make an income. Proper food safety, good recipes, and basic business knowledge are all required for success. With the experience gained from our site’s cooking course, women would be well prepared to run their own small businesses selling delicious food!
Mariya, from Ternopil, Ukraine, comes from a large family. Even though her parents both work full time, they could barely meet the needs of their children. Sponsorship brought great new opportunities for Mariya and her siblings. “From the day I was sponsored, we were able to afford food, school supplies, and household goods. My parents were also able to save for our education and development,” Mariya says.
Thanks to the support, Mariya had the special opportunity to attend music school, and was able to excel in her regular studies, too. She took home many school prizes in academic contests, and always achieved top marks. As she got older, she became especially passionate about English class. “At that time I understood that English and language skills were important for my future. I had extra classes of English with a tutor who inspired me to connect my future with English and teaching,” Mariya explains.
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.
Our Mercy Care site is located in the Mwingi region of Kenya. This area is dry and arid, and usually receives very little rain. Last spring, however, unusually heavy rainfall drenched the region. The soft, dry soil was heavily eroded, devastating farms and roads. Many homes and structures were extensively damaged, as they were not built to withstand rainstorms.
With families and children left vulnerable, we scrambled to provide makeshift shelters. Other families in the community generously offered to share their small homes with displaced families. One of the most affected families was a family of five left homeless, as their entire house collapsed.