Chalice US Catholic Child Sponsorship Programs Empower Bolivian Women

March 8th is International Women’s Day;  Alejandra Duran, Chalice Site Coordinator for the Guadalupe Sponsor Site in La Paz, Bolivia shares the following success stories of some very hard-working women.

Women in Bolivia struggle to claim the recognition they deserve. Most impoverished families live with only a mother to sustain them. As a patriarchal society, women are still the unseen heroes of their families. As mothers, they do everything they can to support their families. They get several jobs and even beg for money just to put food in their children’s mouths.

Women who don’t know how to read or write, or who don’t have any job skills still find a way to care for their families. Most of them endure the hardship of abuse and neglect by their partners and were abused in their homes growing up. It’s a horrible reality that most women who are extremely poor live under.

Chalice has helped these women become empowered, to take their destiny into their own hands. Our Catholic child sponsorship programs not only provide financial aid but also create a family environment with “family circles”. These circles create a support system for an impoverished mother, so she can have other mothers in the same situation on her side.

Chalice does not want to keep families dependent on sponsorship and our goal is to empower women and help them rise out of poverty. In 2017, at the Chalice Guadalupe Sponsor Site in La Paz, Bolivia, we created a community project called Business for Life. This program allows mothers who have small businesses or want to open a business to have access to top quality business education.

We have professors from the best university in Bolivia teaching our entrepreneur mothers how to run their business and create a business plan with marketing, production, and financial points.

From all the students we had in our first class, five women were selected to receive the equivalent of 1000 USD to start their business. We also selected a sixth recipient who was awarded $400 to continue her business. These women are now empowered and ready to give their children the life they deserve.

A Bolivian standing with two women of the same ethnicity.

From left to right: Chalice International Manager for Latin America Douglas Estanga, Lourdes’ mother, and Lourdes. Chalice US offers Catholic based child sponsor services.

Of these six women we will present two special cases.

We have Lourdes, who makes polleras, a traditional skirt that has many layers and are very difficult to make. She is a single mother who cares for her mother as well as her children. She learned how to make polleras with her mother as her teacher. Her mother’s sight is too weak to keep making them.

Before Lourdes entered Business for Life she had a small sewing machine that overheated with the work she had to do. She worked until dawn to complete all her work. Her shop is in her small house and in the rural area where she lives it is hard to find transportation. With the 1000 USD that she was awarded as she had one of the best business plans, she now has a heavy duty sewing machine that can take the hard hours of labor required to make all the polleras.

This sewing machine makes her life easier, reduces the time it takes her to make a pollera and she can earn more money by making more. She also has a lot of fabric and a beautifully styled mannequin that is dressed like a “cholita” so people who go to her shop can see her work. She is now sought after by many people because they know she is one of the best. Even though she lives far away from the city and she has to walk many miles on dirt roads she continues to thrive. Her hours are still long but now it’s because of all the people who want her polleras.

Additionally, we have Lucia. She sells shoes for women online. Before Business for Life she had a limited stock of shoes and only a few models. The internet access she had was only through her phone. She too had one of the best business plans, and with the 1000 USD she received, she was able to buy a lot of better quality shoes that are on trend and at accessible prices.

A woman with her two sons stands with a man from a Catholic charitable organization.

Lucia with her kids and Chalice International Manager for Latin America Douglas Estanga. As the mother of children sponsored through Chalice Catholic child sponsorship programs, Lucia participates in a small community group of other mothers where she received training to grow her business.

She also received a laptop directly from Chalice where she keeps the registry of all her sales and purchases and where she can have better internet access. She now has an easier time selling her shoes and keeping track of her inventory. She also has made room in her small house that looks like a shoe store where her clients can easily try on shoes.

Chalice has not only assisted these women with the opportunity to give their children a better life, but they have given them a chance to have a sense of professional fulfillment. This is extremely important to them because they are not only providing for their families, but they are loving themselves in the process.

God has allowed Chalice to help these women become better mothers and better people through our Catholic based child sponsor services. It’s a blessing that we get to enter into these people’s lives and not only give them an opportunity to succeed, but to have our merciful God in their lives. Each of these women know that without the will of God they would not be where they are, and they thank their children’s sponsors and all the donors that were a part of this amazing transformation in their lives.

Alejandra Duran, Chalice Site Coordinator for the Guadalupe Sponsor Site in La Paz, Bolivia

Chalice Catholic Child Sponsorship Programs are Making Connections

Chalice is about making connections; between children in need and people who can teach and empower them at sponsor sites. And Chalice is about making connections between those children who need access to our sponsor sites and people who want to sponsor a child and provide them with the opportunity to participate in our Catholic child sponsorship programs.

Oksana is one person with whom children at the Ternopil Sponsor Site in Ukraine are fortunate to make a connection. She has a heart for helping children in need and an ability to see their gifts and talents. Although her training is in biology, she felt called to the Ternopil Sponsor Site in 2012 and finds great joy in serving the sponsored children in Kozova.

Oksana and Vasyl stand by a display of his wood crafts.

Oksana made a connection with Vasyl through Chalice Catholic child sponsorship programs and encouraged his talent for wood carving.

Oksana takes great care to nurture a child’s talents and interests to help them achieve their goals. She has received well deserved recognition in her community through her involvement in arranging various activities at the local library for the sponsored children. From celebrations, contests, and parties to performances, lectures and master classes, she breathes life and love into everything she does. Oksana’s individual approach and caring attitude toward each child makes them blossom.

Oksana also has a wonderful ability to make children’s dreams come true. After receiving a gift of an accordion, Hrystyna showed great dedication and passion. Through hard work and a lot of practice she was able to join the Musical College last year. In gratitude, Hrystyna performed a solo concert for sponsored families in the area last December.

Another youth in which Oksana recognized an incredible talent is Vasyl, a 15-year-old boy, who is disabled but has a great skill for carving. He received a tool set from the Chalice Gift Catalog which allowed Vasyl to make amazing pieces of art which he has shown throughout the community.

Oksana recognized Lyusyna's talent for art at the Chalice Ternopil Sponsor Site in Ukraine.

Oksana also made a connection with Lyusyna through Chalice Catholic child sponsorship programs at the Ternopil Sponsorship Site in Ukraine.

Diana has aptitude for writing poems and her dream for many years was to publish a poetry booklet. Oksana gathered her poems, printed and bound them and presented the booklet to Diana at the St. Nikolas party at the sponsor site.

Another child Oksana has encouraged is Lyusyna, an 8-year-old girl with disabilities who has dreams of becoming an artist. Unfortunately, her parents were unable to afford art classes and didn’t really recognize their daughter’s talent. Oksana encouraged Lyusyna, however, and presented her with a gift for a master class in a private art studio for her birthday. Lyusyna was ecstatic. The art teacher said that she is very skillful which has not only improved Lyusyna’s self-esteem but awarded her the opportunity to take free drawing classes to help develop her talent further.

Oksana’s dedication has brought positive changes to the Kozova community. Oksana says the best part of her job is seeing the smiling faces and rays of hope in the eyes of children when they succeed. This drives her passion to help people who are struggling to survive. May God bless her and her heart for all that she does.

Catholic Child Sponsorship Programs Advance Direct Family Funding

Florence and her husband are raising their four children in a modest two room wooden house in the village of Karima Ka Ntwiko, located in Meru County, Kenya.  Her husband is a watchman and care taker for the grounds of a private business in Meru town. The family home sits on an eighth of an acre among some fruit trees which they have planted. Although Florence and her husband work hard to provide for their kids, getting the funds together for school fees and classroom supplies can still be out of reach.

Chalice Catholic child sponsorship programs offer a way for parents to receive financial assistance to support the education of their children. As parents of a sponsored child, Florence or her husband must participate in a Small Community Group, along with other parents or guardians of sponsored children. Chalice has implemented Direct Family Funding (DFF) for members of the Small Community Group (SCG) at the Meru Sponsor Site.

Florence preparing breakfast in her home

Florence wakes at 5:00 a.m. every morning to prepare breakfast for her family.

Florence sweeps the grounds outside her home.

Florence tidying up outside her home before leaving for the bakery.

With DFF, parents and guardians decide how they will allocate sponsorship funds and then report back after the funds have been spent. As always, school-aged children must attend school. Chalice staff provides ongoing training, support, and guidance. Each group elects a leader, secretary, and treasurer and whenever possible, a bank account is opened in the name of each sponsored child’s parent or legal guardian who participates in the SCG.

Florence and some of the other members in her SCG decided to use some of their funds to launch a business to earn additional income for their families. So every morning at 5:00 a.m. Florence wakes up to cook breakfast for her family, feed the chickens, clean up and walk an hour to the makeshift bakery located at the site of the Good Shepherd Sisters who run the Meru Sponsor Site.

The bakery consists of a few tables and a large oven in a simple wooden structure with corrugated steel walls and roof. The women tie on crisp white aprons to begin their work day under the supervision of Judy the site social worker. They work as a team to methodically measure, knead and form bread and cakes. Paid on commission, Florence brings home between 100-150 Kenyan shillings for a day’s labor, almost one USD to about $1.48. The group meets twice a week and must look for odd jobs the rest of the week to make ends meet.

Women running their own bakery in Kenya.

Florence with her business partners at the bakery. Because Chalice Catholic child sponsorship program have implemented Direct Family Funding, parents and guardians of sponsored children decide how funds will be best spent for their families. Florence and some of the women from her community group started a bakery with a portion of their funds to earn money.

For Florence and her business partners, the bakery is more than an extra source of income; it’s also a support network and a place to belong. They aspire to grow their business with a building that can be certified for food safety and new equipment to increase their output, sell more, and get higher commissions in return. The site is working with Chalice and the group of women to meet their business goals. Please keep Florence and her fellow bakers in your prayers.

Direct Family Funding empowers families of sponsored children and makes their communities stronger. Chalice recognizes that when given the support and encouragement, caregivers will make good decisions that benefit their family. When people ask, does sponsoring a child really work; where DFF is advanced, the answer is a resounding yes.

Catholic Child Sponsorship Programs Really Make a Difference

Growing up, Liseth spent every day after school at Chalice’s Fátima sponsor site in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Besides receiving help with homework, she also enjoyed a daily nutritious meal. Keeping her eyes trained on the cooks in the kitchen preparing those delicious meals, she developed a keen interest in their culinary skills and knew that someday she would like to become a chef.

Liseth, now 20, has been sponsored since the age of 13. One of seven children, she was raised by her mother and father, who worked as a mason. The family shares a two-room brick home with no indoor plumbing. Fortunately, Liseth was able to participate in Chalice’s Catholic child sponsorship programs. Thanks to her sponsor, she completed primary school and was able to continue and complete secondary school.

girl graduates from Catholic child sponsorship programs

Liseth was able to finish high school through participation in Chalice Catholic child sponsorship programs. Now in order to pay for culinary school, she works at the Fatima sponsor site and at a local restaurant. The staff at the site speak highly of her work ethic, and her discipline and determination in everything she does.

Now Liseth is working very hard to make her dream of becoming a chef come true. A scholarship, awarded to Liseth because of her scholastic performance and dedication to her studies, pays for a portion of her schooling at the local institute in Cochabamba, but she must come up with the rest on her own. On top of that she also supports her parents, now elderly and unable to work.

So, she works. Liseth works at a restaurant in Cochabamba and cooks meals at the Sacred Heart Daycare Center, run by the Fátima sponsor site, feeding roughly 100 children every day.  That means her waking hours are spent either working or studying. She has come full circle, making meals for kids just like she once was.

On Chalice’s recent mission trip to Bolivia, staff, sponsors, and volunteers had the opportunity to meet Liseth. Among them was Roddie, a Chalice volunteer, with an incredibly generous heart and a deep commitment to supporting people in need. A restaurant owner, he spotted the talents of a budding chef and showed Liseth how to prepare his renowned pizza. What a tremendous gift from one chef to another!

Liseth is a person of few words. The depth of her character shows as she quickly and efficiently moves around the kitchen dedicated to the task at hand. Her coworkers and staff at the Fátima sponsor site speak highly of her work ethics, discipline and determination in everything she does.

What Liseth did share is how close she has become to the staff at the Fátima sponsor site, to the point where she sees them as family and mentors. She also spoke of her desire to diversify her culinary studies to an even greater extent. Her dream is to travel to other countries where she can learn and specialize her skills as a chef, then return to Bolivia and open a restaurant.

When God brings people together great things happen. Someone decided to sponsor a child; and a girl who may have otherwise been unable to continue school beyond the primary level is on the way to fulfilling her potential.

Catholic Child Sponsorship Programs Make Surgery Possible

Alexander, 14, suffers from severe intestinal problems. When he was 9 years old, he was operated on in Santiago, Chile.

For a recent complication of the previous operation, he was transferred back to Santiago. Thanks to the support of Chalice Catholic child sponsorship programs, he was able to make the trip from his home, a three-hour flight or 22-hour drive.

The doctors decided they needed to remove his colon. For this reason, Alexander was depressed.

Alexander was able to receive care through Chalice's Catholic Child Sponsorship Programs.

Alexander at the hospital in Santiago, Chile. His trip there was made possible through Chalice Catholic Child Sponsorship Programs.

Alexander was scheduled to have a surgery to remove the colon. He was very nervous so we here at the Arica Sponsor Site were in daily contact with him while he was in the hospital. I sent him very positive prayers.

One day before the surgery the doctor said that he had found living tissue in the colon and that they could save it with a long treatment. The light returned to Alexander’s heart. He could barely get in touch with me to tell me the miracle. Alexander was crying with emotion and told me that he loved me very much. He kept asking me for more prayers, so I sent him one each day.

When I met Alexander, he was a very sad depressed child; now I see a positive Alexander, full of the love of God.

— Veronica Herrera, Site Director, Arica Sponsor Site, Chile

Catholic Child Sponsorship Programs Support Elders Too

Alberto is 81 years old.  He is a very active person, despite his advanced age. He receives a basic pension from the State that is not enough to cover all his basic needs. To compensate, he works sporadically as a construction worker.

Chalice Catholic child sponsorship programs not just for kids.

Alberto and his sponsor.

Alberto’s health is compromised because he has a deviation in his spine that affects his ability to walk. He also suffers from hypertension and osteoarthritis. Despite these challenges, Alberto worked on the construction of the addition of a second floor for the Parish Center of Cristo Hermano Church at the Arica Sponsor Site in Chile.

One of the members of the Sharing Christ Chalice Mission to Chile, which was in part tasked with helping with the parish center renovations, noticed Alberto. She was moved to see him working in precarious health conditions and decided to sponsor him. Since that day Alberto feels that his life has changed because he receives support from his sponsor.

— Veronica Herrera, Site Director, Arica Sponsor Site, Chile

Editor’s Note: As of this year Chalice supports more than 50,000 children through our Catholic child sponsorship programs. At sponsor sites where Direct Family Funding (DFF) is implemented, not only the child benefits, but the entire family and community are empowered. A small number of sponsorships specifically support elders. Although you can find children in need of sponsorship on the Chalice US website, elders are not featured. If you are interested in supporting an elder please send us a message at info@chaliceus.org.

Scrambling for Last Minute Christmas Gifts Ideas? See These!

Chalice US has a Christmas Gift Catalog full of great gift ideas! It’s not too late to find the perfect Christmas Gift for someone you love or that person who has everything. When you purchase a gift for someone in need you make a difference for the recipient and allow your friend or loved one in whose name you gave that gift to experience the incredible gift of changing someone’s life! You can download a printable card today to give to that person whom you’re still shopping for, and let them know they’re receiving a gift that is making a difference for someone living in poverty.

Here are a couple of examples of the impact previous gifts from the Chalice Christmas Gift Catalog have made for some of our sponsored children and families.

Household: Light Up a Bright Future

Beckham is one of the brightest pupils in his school’s district in Meru, Kenya. Since receiving a solar lantern, Beckham studies longer at night and is motivated to achieve his dreams.

Beckham is one of the brightest pupils in his school’s district in Meru, Kenya. Since receiving a solar lantern, Beckham studies longer at night and is motivated to achieve his dreams.

Beckham is one of the brightest pupils in his school’s district in Meru, Kenya. Since receiving a solar lantern, Beckham studies longer at night and is motivated to achieve his dreams. This solar lantern has blessed Beckham’s entire family as it is also used by his mother when she is cooking and cleaning at night. Kerosene oil is expensive and emits dangerous fumes that are harmful to the environment and the respiratory system. The gift of a solar lantern allows children to study in a healthier environment and helps families save money.

Most Needed Gift: A New Home

The gift of a modest new home provided a safe haven for Maria and her four children who were escaping domestic abuse and seeking a new fresh start.

The gift of a modest new home provided a safe haven for Maria and her four children who were escaping domestic abuse and seeking a new fresh start.

The gift of a modest new home provided a safe haven for Maria and her four children who were escaping domestic abuse and seeking a new fresh start. Maria is very grateful for this gift, “I can feel God’s presence through the generosity of people that helped me and my family during this difficult time.”

Here’s how the Chalice gift catalog works:

  1. Select a gift from the catalog.
  2. Download a printable card to give to the person in whose name you are giving the gift.
  3. Your gift catalog item is received by someone in need.

A gift of $50 from the Nutrition section of the Gift Catalog will Feed a Family for a Month. Fifteen dollars gives a gift of Milk, and $25 will provide Bottles and Formula when mother’s milk is not an option.

Besides Education and Nutrition, gifts are available in the areas of:

Animals and Farming

Household

Health

Livelihood

Community Improvement

Most Needed Gift

You can also choose to sponsor a child in the name of a loved one or friend. Investing in the future of a child in need through the Catholic child sponsorship programs provided by Chalice US costs just $33 per month and gives children the support and nourishment they need to learn at school while providing families with the resources they need to care for their children and learn skills to improve daily life for their family and community.

— Compiled with research provided by Simone Stubbs, Chalice Communications Assistant

Last Minute Christmas Gifts Ideas that Give Twice!

It’s not too late to find the perfect Christmas Gift for someone you love or that person who has everything. Chalice US has a Christmas Gift Catalog full of great gift ideas that give twice! When you purchase a gift for someone in need you make a difference for the recipient and allow your friend or loved one in whose name you gave that gift to experience the incredible gift of changing someone’s life!

Here are a couple of examples of the impact previous gifts from the Chalice Christmas Gift Catalog have made for some of our sponsored children and families.

Education Gift

In Lima, Peru many children do not have a place to study, complete homework, or store their school supplies. Catalog items were used to create a study corner to resolve this problem. The children are thankful to have a place to study at home.

In Lima, Peru many children do not have a place to study, complete homework, or store their school supplies. Catalog items were used to create a study corner to resolve this problem. The children are thankful to have a place to study at home.

In Lima, Peru many children do not have a place to study, complete homework, or store their school supplies. Catalog items were used to create a study corner to resolve this problem. The children are thankful to have a place to study at home.

Here is another home study area made possible by a generous gift from the Chalice Christmas Gift Catalog.

Here is another home study area made possible by a generous gift from the Chalice Christmas Gift Catalog.

Nutrition: Feed a Family for a Month

Elirene sells bread and milk to provide for her eight children but often has difficulty making ends meet which is a common reality for many families in Haiti. The gift Feed a Family for a Month helps families like Elirene’s receive the nutritional support they need to work, learn, and play.

Elirene sells bread and milk to provide for her eight children but often has difficulty making ends meet which is a common reality for many families in Haiti. The gift Feed a Family for a Month helps families like Elirene’s receive the nutritional support they need to work, learn, and play.

Elirene sells bread and milk to provide for her eight children but often has difficulty making ends meet which is a common reality for many families in Haiti. The gift Feed a Family for a Month helps families like Elirene’s receive the nutritional support they need to work, learn, and play.

Here’s how the Chalice gift catalog works:

  1. Select a gift from the catalog.
  2. Download a printable card to give to the person in whose name you are giving the gift.
  3. Your gift catalog item is received by someone in need.

A gift of $50 from the Nutrition section of the Gift Catalog will Feed a Family for a Month. Fifteen dollars gives a gift of Milk, and $25 will provide Bottles and Formula when mother’s milk is not an option.

Besides Education and Nutrition, gifts are available in the areas of:

Animals and Farming

Household

Health

Livelihood

Community Improvement

Most Needed Gift

You can also choose to sponsor a child in the name of a loved one or friend. Investing in the future of a child in need through the Catholic child sponsorship programs provided by Chalice US costs just $33 per month and gives children the support and nourishment they need to learn at school while providing families with the resources they need to care for their children and learn skills to improve daily life for their family and community.

— Compiled with research provided by Simone Stubbs, Chalice Communications Assistant

 

Promote Self-Sustainability with Gifts of Seeds at Christmas

Our farming items in the Gift Catalog are aimed at enhancing a community’s ability to produce enough food to feed their families, increase incomes, and move towards self-reliance.

At our Berhampur Sponsor Site in India, Chalice provided 17 people from six villages with seeds to continue farming. These recipients are skilled farmers who live in remote areas that make it difficult for them to access seeds. Thanks to donations towards sustainable farming through Gift Catalog purchases, the farmers received maize, bean, cabbage, snake bitter gourd, and brinjal seeds.

Additionally, these six villages are on their way to greater independence as the farmers confidently grow quality vegetables to sell, increasing their income. These farmers are also able to provide nutritious vegetables for their families to eat.

Farmers receive seeds from donations to Chalice Christmas Gift Catalog.

Thanks to donations towards sustainable farming through Gift Catalog purchases, the farmers received maize, bean, cabbage, snake bitter gourd, and brinjal seeds.

Skilled farmer receives Chalice Gift Catalog seeds from Site Director in Berhampur, India.

The recipients of the Gift Catalog seeds are skilled farmers who live in remote areas that make it difficult for them to access seeds.

Chalice’s Berhampur Sponsor Site opened in February 2000 and is managed by the Diocese of Berhampur. With the help of Chalice’s Catholic child sponsorship programs, the Diocese runs separate hostels for boys and girls in collaboration with the Sisters of Charity and Holy Cross Sisters. The children belong to marginalized groups such as physically challenged people, conflict refugees, children with family members suffering from leprosy, as well as many tribal people. These children have never had the opportunity to go to school or receive guidance towards holistic development until becoming part of Chalice’s Catholic Child Sponsorship Programs.

Purchase a life-changing gift from the Christmas Gift Catalog today.

— Simone Stubbs, Chalice Communications Assistant

Give the Gift of Dental Care this Christmas

For Christmas I’m sending you to the dentist! That’s not something you would typically hear in the United States, in fact, it might cause some kids to burst into tears. Yet, consider this, have you ever had a toothache or experienced the pain of untreated tooth decay? Have you ever been relieved, if not grateful, when the dentist makes the pain go away?

You can give the gift of a dental visit to a child or elder in need with a selection from our Christmas Gift Catalog.

Children receiving dental care during Chalice’s mission trip to our sponsor sites in Bolivia this past November. You can give the gift of a visit to a dentist or specialist with a donation from our Christmas Gift Catalog.

Many of the children and elders at our Sponsor Sites don’t have access to regular dental care. A visit to the dentist for one of the kids in Chalice’s Catholic child sponsorship programs or anyone who benefits from the programs at our Sponsor Sites is truly a gift! This gift of a Visit to a Dentist or Specialist, Item 301, in our Chalice Christmas Gift Catalog is something you can give this holiday season to someone in need from one of the Sponsor Sites at any of the 15 countries where we work.

It’s a gift you can give twice! Not only does a beneficiary of your kindness receive the gift of dental care, but you can give this gift in honor of a loved one or friend. Just access our Gift Catalog online, go to the Health category, click Give a Health Gift Now! Then scroll down and select Visit to a Dentist or Specialist. With your $25 donation online, you’ll be making a difference for two people this Christmas! You can download an e-card and let someone you care about know: A Gift of a Visit to a Dentist or Specialist has been given in your name. I’m thinking of giving one to my dentist.

Almost exactly one month ago, Chalice staff and volunteers were on a mission trip to Bolivia which included a dental team. Communication Specialist, Kate Mosher, wrote in her blog post: “The dentists were overrun with children who needed dental procedures – some needing as many as three teeth extracted!”

I wonder if I can convince my teen that this year’s Christmas gift is wisdom teeth extraction.

— Beatrice Maynor, Web Content Editor, Chalice US