Volodya is a energetic, hardworking 11-year-old boy from our Ternopil site in Ukraine. He’s in grade six, and his favourite subjects are computer studies and biology. He’s very social, and enjoys playing soccer with his friends and attending dance and drama club at his local community center. He adores animals, and enjoys taking care of his dog Alfa and cat Murka!
When Volodya was growing up, his life wasn’t always filled with happy moments. When he was born, his father abandoned him and his mother, Svitlana, who was left to raise her new baby alone. Volodya suffered with frequent illnesses, so the family had to spend most of their time at the hospital. Since they were homeless, they lived in the small hospital shelter for a year while Volodya received treatment.
After moving from shelter to shelter for over three years, Svitlana eventually found a shabby apartment that they could afford on her small income as a janitor. The building has no running water, and was in need of many repairs. Svitlana still struggled to pay rent, and the two often didn’t have enough to eat.
In 2014, Pope Francis said, “Educating is an act of love; it is like giving life.” If you get the opportunity to visit a school in one of our sites you know this to be true – the children are so happy and so thankful to be able to learn.
But hungry kids can’t learn. One of the ways that Chalice breaks the barrier hunger places on education is through our Nutrition Fund which provided over four million meals last year!
Surrounded by three slums, Muthaiga Primary School, located near our Baraka site in Kenya, rarely receives funds from the Ministry of Education, which places a real burden on them. The children attending school often came hungry and their academics suffered.
Our Madurai site in India first began in 1997 in partnership with the Sisters of the Cross of Chavannod. “We aim to empower the poor and downtrodden,” says Sr. Amala, our site director. “We work to identify the capabilities hidden within students and to find creative strategies to convert them in to very useful and relevant skills!”
Today, our Madurai site sponsors over 700 children. Two hundred of these live in the subsite area of Kodaikanal. In this area, many children faced barriers that prevented them from attending school. Continue reading
When Scolastica’s mother passed away, she and her sister’s life changed forever. The two sisters from Nanyuki, Kenya, had to leave their lives behind and move in with their uncle, who offered to adopt the girls into his family. Scolastica’s uncle has a wife and children of his own, and works as a casual laborer to make ends meet. The family doesn’t own land and lives in a rented house, and the financial burden of two extra children caused them to quickly fall behind.
Laurette faced poverty and hardship from a very early age. Both of her parents were peasant farmers in Western Kenya, and struggled to meet the basic needs of Laurette and her younger brother. They would often go days without a proper meal, and had to borrow food from relatives. The family couldn’t afford to purchase shoes or clothing, so the children went barefoot and wore makeshift clothing made from rugs.
At just eight years old, Laurette’s mom passed away from pneumonia. Laurette had to step up and help raise her younger brother, who was just five years old. She would accompany her father to work on farms, and do many of the household chores.
Four years later, when Laurette was 12, her dad suddenly passed away, too. Orphaned, Laurette and her brother were shuffled between family members. It was an incredibly difficult time for both children.
Twin brothers Valentyn and Mykhaylo live in a small, rural village near our Ternopil site in Ukraine. Natalya, their mom, suffers from multiple sclerosis. She’s unable to work, and must receive regular treatments for her illness. Her husband, Andriy, commutes 40 kms to work daily, while Natalya stays home and cares for the family.
“I do all the jobs around the house myself,” says Natalya. “My mother, Maria, also lives with us, and she has a severe form of diabetes and also requires care. I am not afraid of work, and when i’m feeling well, I’m not worried. But I often feel weakness in my arms and legs, get headaches, and get tired easily.” she says.
In Ukraine, beds remain one of the most frequently requested items from our gift catalogue. The majority of the families at our sites in Ukraine are large, and often times their homes are small. Children share beds with siblings and parents, with often up to four people sharing one small bed.
Over the years, we’ve used generous donations through our gift catalogue to replace broken beds with new ones, or provide bunk beds to siblings so that children could sleep in their own beds. Sofa beds are also a popular choice, as many families have limited living space- sofa beds can be used as a sitting couch during the day, and a bed at night.
Starehe Girls’ Centre, located in Nairobi, Kenya, is the only chance some girls get at a quality education. The boarding school was founded in 2005, and offers education to economically disadvantaged girls. The centre boasts an extremely high standard of education, and is meant to prepare girls to continue their studies competitively in university.
Starehe Girls’ Centre works in tandem with Chalice sponsorship to allow girls from poor backgrounds to attend. It also receives our support for sports teams, school gardens, student clubs, and more. “The Centre sets out to not merely provide food, clothing, and protection to girls in need, but to restore them in self-confidence so often injured by earlier misfortune in life,” says Sr. Jane our Starehe Girl’s site director.