by Monica Planas, Regional Communications Manager, ChildFund Americas
Because living conditions in Bolivia are challenging, many families struggle to feed and support their loved ones.
ChildFund Bolivia and its Estrella del Sur Project strategically analyze and plan to help families survive hard times and become more self-sufficient. Each community has different needs, problems and scenarios, so ChildFund works with and for the communities, seeking ways to guide, contribute and facilitate processes that will allow them to eventually make it on their own.
ChildFund’s Gifts of Love & Hope catalog is one direct means for Bolivian families to acquire necessities that help alleviate hardships.
A few years ago, the Estrella del Sur project requested two ovens to equip a kitchen for training community members in pastry and baking techniques. Thanks to these trainings, many community members now have a place to prepare baked goods, which they sell to earn a living.
ChildFund organizes periodic trainings to keep community members involved in constant learning and up to speed on the latest baking and decorating techniques. With these skills, they can compete in the market and offer their products at a higher price.
The Estrella del Sur project community kitchen also has a batter mixer, (another Gifts of Love & Hope request) and several other bakery equipment items and tools purchased specifically to help train the community.
Last year, the project used funds to purchase cake displays and hot dog carts for a group of families interested in working hard to improve their economic conditions. Many families are gaining economic value from the cake displays that were purchased with the support of committed child sponsors. The displays, which provide a pleasing exhibit of the cakes baked by community members, boost sales at Mother’s Day, Fathers Day and national holidays. And 10 families benefit from the hot dog carts used on a daily basis on the streets of Bolivia.
The training and support from ChildFund doesn’t end there, the Estrella del Sur project also delivers entrepreneur and small business workshops for those who wish to take that extra step.
Children, youth and parents are able to take advantage of these workshops, led by consultants who guide them through the process of setting up a small business. Community members gain marketing, sales and financial tools, empowering them to make a better living.
“It’s amazing how members of the community gain self-confidence with our workshops,” says Alvaro Vargas, ChildFund Bolivia coordinator for the Estrella del Sur Project. “Many of the mothers, youth and children who attend our workshops never thought they would be able to approach people and make a sale; they lacked the self-confidence to do so,” she says. “At ChildFund, we not only develop communities, but also the individual.”
by Virginia Sowers, ChildFund Community Manager
Spending Black Friday at the big-box store or local mall has become a post-Thanksgiving tradition for many Americans eager to get a jump-start on holiday shopping.
But it can also be a bit harried…getting up at o-dark-thirty for that special bargain in limited quantities, navigating a crowded parking lot, hurrying to be first in line.
Just think how pleased they will be to know you took time to honor them with a gift that helps children in practical and lasting ways.
The gifts are unique, and each comes with a guarantee that the item you select will be used exactly as described in the catalog—whether that’s to improve the nutrition of young children and income for their families or to provide learning and development toys for a school.
A few samples to help get your shopping started:
Please visit our online catalog to view our full selection of special gifts. It’s a shopping experience sure to brighten your Friday, and that light will spread across the world.
by Jennifer Harter, Public Relations Specialist, St. Catherine’s School
Each Monday morning for the past school year, students in St. Catherine’s lower school in Richmond, Va., proudly brought in their pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters and even some paper money. They carried it in sandwich bags, brown paper bags, canvas totes and nearly every container imaginable.
The collective goal of “Make a Change Mondays” was to make a difference in the lives of other children around the world who are in need. Proceeds from the project along with another school fundraiser during the year are being donated to ChildFund International.
The students’ efforts remain true to the spirit of the school’s sacred motto: “What we keep we lose; only what we give remains our own.”
“We made a positive difference in the lives of others by putting our concerns into action and taking on a number of special projects in the area of community service,” says Margaret Bloor, lower school director.
The students raised more than $800.
“It took a long time to count,” says third-grade teacher Ashley Miller, who coordinated the project. “The kids had helped with some, but, wow, there was still a lot to count. It took me hours and I could hardly carry it over to the business office it was so heavy!”
Beyond just raising money for ChildFund, Miller wanted to tie classroom lessons for each grade level to the project. So she turned to the Gifts of Love and Hope catalog for some teaching ideas.
“I tried to choose things that were relevant to each grade,” Miller explains. “For example, the kindergarten hatches chicken eggs in incubators in their classrooms, so I made giving chicks to families for food and income a [fundraising] choice for those girls.
“The second graders study Jamestown, where hundreds of people died of malaria, so I included mosquito nets as one of their choices.”
At the end of the year when the spare change was tallied, each grade level voted on which items to give from the Gifts of Love and Hope:
St. Catherine’s School is the only all-girls school in the Richmond area for junior kindergarten through 12th grade. An Episcopal school, St. Catherine’s offers a rigorous college preparatory education through a community of teachers and staff committed to fostering the development of the mind, body and spirit.
What do chickens, pigs and vegetable seeds all have in common?
They’re Gifts of Love and Hope that you, as a ChildFund supporter, can give to families this spring to improve their quality of life.
When you purchase chickens, ducks and other livestock for families in our program countries, not only do you ensure that children receive nutritious food from meat, milk and eggs, you also provide families with a sustainable, renewable resource.
ChildFund trains families in animal husbandry for increased production, which generates income to help parents send their children to school and purchase supplies and medicine to keep them healthy.
Think of the chickens, ducks, cows, goats and pigs in our catalog as “living gifts.” They live on, helping others long after your initial purchase.
With the gift of vegetable seeds or fruit tree seedlings, families in Mexico, Mozambique, The Gambia and other program countries support one of ChildFund’s basic building blocks: good nutrition.
When families join forces in a community to build flourishing vegetable gardens and fruit orchards, they maintain a healthy, stable source of nourishing food for their families.
Healthier families lead to a healthier, more prosperous community. As children grow, they acquire vocational skills to expand the gardens and orchards into a sustainable source of income.
So jump into spring and purchase your own Gifts of Love and Hope for children and families in need.
by Virginia Sowers
ChildFund Community Manager
The day after Thanksgiving, my local newspaper inserts a busy elf on the lower corner of the front page with a kind reminder of 24 shopping days until Dec. 25.
Today, we’re at 17.
But I’m not panicking. I’m about to pull a rabbit (actually, a goat) out of my hat.
ChildFund International’s Gifts of Love & Hope still has an excellent selection of gifts with lasting impact for children. What better way to honor my friends and family than by giving a gift on their behalf to help someone truly in need?
Families in Sierra Leone lost all of their livestock during 11 years of brutal civil war. Now that the country is at peace and rebuilding, ChildFund is setting up school livestock programs.
Today, six schools maintain goats and sheep. The animals, contributed by ChildFund supporters through the Gifts of Love & Hope catalog, are housed in pens built by community members. The entire community is involved in the success of this project, and they are enjoying the benefits of better nutrition.
Now, that’s a truly wonderful gift.
So as the shopping days rapidly evaporate in this busy season, I’m resolving not to stress. Instead, I’m flipping through the Gifts of Love & Hope catalog and imagining the happy excitement of children around the world when they receive a gift from my family.
And I’ll also be able to share with my friends and family the true meaning of the honorary gift I’ve chosen for them this season.
If this sounds like a good idea for you, too, then take a look at ChildFund’s catalog. From farm animals to healthy environments, you’re sure to find a gift to multiply your love.
Rather than rushing to the big-box store at o-dark-thirty the day after Thanksgiving, consider this alternative shopping scenario.
You sleep in (if you’re fortunate enough to be off work).
Later in the morning, as you sip your tea or coffee, you flip on your computer and start checking off your gift list.
A great place to start your shopping day is at ChildFund International’s Gifts of Love and Hope online catalog. The gifts are unique, and each comes with a guarantee that the item you select will be used exactly as described in the catalog—whether that’s to improve nutrition of young children or to provide learning and development toys for a school.
Malaria is still the number one killer of children under the age of five worldwide. Mosquito nets for children in India, Afghanistan and The Gambia will provide protection for sleeping children and prevent malaria. Nets range from $5 to $14.
Children Helping Children
One section of the catalog helps children learn to share with others less fortunate. From board games to book bags to toys, these gifts range from $4 to $15.
The 20 List
And be sure to check out ChildFund’s 20 gifts under $20. Among the most popular gifts in this category are chickens and ducks that will provide nutrition and generate income for families in poor communities.
There, your shopping is all done without ever having to fight for a parking space at the mall.
Scouting for affordable gifts this holiday season?
At ChildFund, we’ve got you covered with 20 gift ideas for under $20. A gift that changes a child’s life is sure to inspire your friends and family.
Each tax-deductible item in the Gifts of Love and Hope catalog will help children and families in practical and tangible ways. A special card will be sent in your name to the gift recipients on your list.
The 20 List
1. a chicken and feed for a family in The Gambia ($4)
2. one duck for a child in Indonesia ($5)
3. corn and bean seeds for a family in Mozambique ($7)
4. educational toy for a child in Indonesia ($7)
5. book bag for a student in Sri Lanka ($7)
6. text book for a student in Liberia ($7)
7. mosquito net for an expectant mother in Zambia ($7)
8. 10 chicks for a family in Indonesia ($8)
9. chair for a classroom in Kenya ($9)
10. snack backpack for a child in the USA ($10)
11. pair of chickens for a family in Mozambique ($10)
12. two toys for a dream corner in Sri Lanka ($11)
13. mosquito net for a child in Afghanistan ($13)
14. board game for a youth center in Zambia ($13)
15. a pair of shoes to protect a child’s feet in Sri Lanka ($14)
16. mosquito net for a child in Mozambique ($14)
17. five story books for a dream corner in Sri Lanka ($14)
18. school bag with supplies for a child in Indonesia ($14)
19. warm blanket for a child in Mozambique ($14)
20. story and activity books for a school in the Philippines ($15)
Visit our catalog to choose from hundreds of additional items that will keep on giving to children and families in need worldwide.
It’s a wonderful way to acknowledge the special people in your life this holiday season.
Flip through the pages of ChildFund International’s Gifts of Love and Hope catalog, and you’ll glimpse the hopes and dreams expressed by children in the 31 countries where we work — including the United States.
Here’s a sampling from the wish lists of vulnerable and excluded children who are anxiously waiting to see if their greatest needs are met.
2009 Wish List Items
• soccer team kit for children in Mozambique
• one large pig for a family in Zambia
• board game for a youth center in Zambia
• scholarship for the “Little Chef” nutrition program in the United States
• water buffalo to help a family in Indonesia with the hard work of farming
• a well and hand pump for a community in Afghanistan (carrying water long distances makes children too tired to attend school)
• mosquito net for children in India
• pair of goats for a family in Ethiopia
• set of beds and mattresses for family in Bolivia
• learning and development toy kit for children in Brazil
• a cow for a family in Indonesia
• five chickens with a pen for a family in Kenya
• 10 fruit tree seedlings for a family in Brazil
• a table and two chairs for a classroom in The Gambia
• supplies for a community garden in the United States
• vegetable seeds and a watering can for a family in Timor-Leste
• a sewing machine for girls in Guinea
• concrete floor for a family home in Mexico
Each gift you choose will be used exactly as described in the catalog. The gifts come in all shapes and sizes — and price ranges — and are a great way to become more familiar with the work ChildFund does.
Visit www.ChildFund.org/gifts for more ideas on how to make dreams come true this holiday season.
In a recent ChildFund International online survey, 43 percent of adults said their favorite gift to give children and teenagers is a toy. The majority of respondents also said they like to help others during the holidays through contributions, donations via a gift catalog, volunteering in the community or adopting a family.
During the 10-day survey, we asked our Facebook fans and Twitter followers about their favorite gift when they were growing up. The results:
• 31 percent dolls
• 15 percent electronics/video games
• 15 percent other (books, clothing)
• 7 percent sports equipment
• 6 percent board games
We conducted the survey on our social media platforms to raise awareness of ChildFund’s Gifts of Love and Hope catalog. Each gift chosen from the catalog is used exactly as described, whether it’s a soccer ball for children in Brazil, a mountain bike for a youth advocate in Zambia or an outdoor game set for Ethiopia.
The gifts come in all shapes and sizes — and price ranges — and are a great way to become familiar with ChildFund’s work to help deprived, excluded and vulnerable children around the world become leaders of enduring change.
Forty percent of survey takers cited books as a favorite holiday gift to give others. In the Gifts of Love and Hope catalog, $38 will purchase three reference books for a school in the Philippines and $14 will buy five story books for a children’s “Dream Corner” in Sri Lanka.
Candy and books tied as the favorite stocking stuffer, with 31 percent of survey respondents identifying each. Five percent of respondents listed toothbrushes as a favorite stocking stuffer — children of dentists perhaps?
For the upcoming holiday season, here are some original stocking-stuffer ideas sure to make your loved ones smile: corn and bean seeds for a family in Mozambique ($7); 10 chicks for a family in Indonesia ($8); a 60-day supply of vitamins for a child in Belarus ($21).
Traditions are an important part of the holidays. In our survey, the holiday meal was a top favorite, as cited by 31 percent of respondents. Another 23 percent selected decorating. Fifteen percent said looking at holiday lights, and 11 percent selected volunteering as their favorite holiday traditions.
Among the pages of the Gifts of Love and Hope catalog, it’s easy to find unique ways to share those holiday traditions with others in very practical ways. Just think of the excellent meals that could be prepared in the eco-oven and chimney by a family in Honduras ($143).
Imagine the decorative items that a young person in Indonesia could make with a new set of weaving materials ($40). Think about how a solar lantern ($117) to study by at night will light up a child’s eyes in India.
So this year as you look for that perfect gift for those special people in your life, consider one that also helps children and families around the world. Multiply your love.
By David Hylton
Public Relations Specialist
Our blog series ventures to east Africa today as we visit Mozambique, a country where the life expectancy is just 41 years, and 1.5 million people are living with HIV/AIDS.
The infant mortality rate in Mozambique is one of the highest in the world. And for those children who live past infancy, the grim facts are that almost 15 percent die before they reach their first birthday, and 25 percent never reach age five. This high mortality rate is partially due to the lack of prenatal care for mothers and postnatal care for babies, including limited availability of immunizations.
Another cause of mortality in young children is malnutrition. At ChildFund, we strive to keep children fed, nourished and healthy by teaching their parents better farming practices and more effective ways to preserve food for lean times.
How can you help? For just $7, corn and bean seeds can provide nutritious and healthy meals for a family in Mozambique. For $64, a pair of goats gives a family a way to earn an income by producing more goats, as well as providing milk for children. And for the price of a couple of video games, a soccer team kit ($114) can provide many children in Mozambique hours and hours of playtime. You can find these items and more by clicking here and searching our Gifts of Hope and Love catalog.
For more information about Mozambique and our work there, click here.
More on Mozambique
Population: 21.6 million
ChildFund beneficiaries: About 40,000 children and families
Did You Know?: Maria de Lurdes Mutola captured gold in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney — the first gold medal winner from Mozambique.
What’s next: We head to West Africa to visit Togo.