Just like in Canada, teachers and students around the world are preparing for a back-to-school season like no other. The return to classes is going to look very different from country to country with changes due to the pandemic taking place around the world. Students in Tanzania returned to school at the end of June, while schools in Bolivia will remain closed for the entire academic year. Other countries, such as Ukraine, are looking at ways to re-arrange classes and schedules to allow for safe learning.
During all this change, one thing remains the same; the children’s need for school supplies. Items such as uniforms, notebooks, pencils, art supplies, bookbags, and shoes are daunting expenses for parents each year, especially in large families.
As an added challenge, students with disabilities need specialized learning tools, which can be expensive and difficult to source. At the two schools for the visually impaired in our Kawambwa site in Zambia, the Sisters of the Child Jesus face a constant challenge to provide enough braille writing slates, so only older students can use them. Without these specialized tools, children instead must learn the alphabet using learning aids made from items such as bottle caps, marbles and egg cartons. With resources scarce, teachers use similar items for tactile math lessons.
The children, parents, and sites are all deeply grateful when generous Chalice supporters help to overcome these challenges. Through sponsorship and the gift catalogue, your contributions bring dignity, equality, and a higher standard of learning into these classrooms.
“I would like to express my sincere thanks on Braille and Braillion papers,” writes Moses, a student at St. Mary’s School for the Visually Impaired. “For blind children, Braille paper is the key to our learning and teaching. What a wonderful thing you have done. I was speechless; as soon as we received the papers, we rushed to our classrooms and updated the notes. We have experienced unconditional love from you donors.”
With schools set to re-open in September, our Pochaiv site in Ukraine became concerned that 600 of the neediest students would not have adequate materials. “Lack of school supplies makes access to school education impossible for these children,” reported Halyna, our site director. In August, Chalice launched a fundraising project to provide packages to each of these students, containing 18 of the most essential back-to-school supplies. To learn more, visit our Current Projects page.
During these difficult times, please join us in praying for students and teachers all over the world as they return to a new and unusual school year. May they be blessed, protected, and achieve their goals despite setbacks and unknowns.