By Kate Andrews, ChildFund Staff Writer
Hooray, it’s spring! (For many of us on the East Coast and in the Midwest, it’s been a long time coming.) Let’s celebrate by giving gifts that grow, like chickens, goats and fruit trees.
Families in countries where ChildFund works have requested these as specific needs, among others. Livestock and plant seeds are gifts in more than one way, because they produce food that families can eat and sell. A pair of dairy goats provides milk, cheese and yogurt; fruit trees produce nutritious fruit and seeds that can grow into more trees. And chickens lay eggs, which frees up family income for other needs like education and health care.
These gifts often make a difference in a child’s ability to attend school or have proper clothing and shoes, because families can make income from selling surplus fruit, dairy products or eggs. Please consider giving a gift from our online catalog or by calling us at 1-800-610-9013. Thanks, and let’s enjoy the season.
By Nicole Duciaume, Americas Region Sponsorship Manager
Read Nicole’s first post about her trip to Dominica, a Caribbean island nation where ChildFund works.
I often say that ChildFund’s work begins where the pavement ends, and this rang true in Dominica. Within a few blocks of a docked cruise ship, about 10 miles outside of the capital of Roseau, we parked the car and walked up a path of crumbling stones and packed earth.
It was there that I met Miranda, 31, and her 4-year-old daughter, Lashana. Miranda and her five children, who are enrolled in ChildFund’s programs, live in a small two-bedroom home she inherited from her grandmother. The home is made of weathered wood panels atop cement blocks. There are gaps where the ceiling and walls don’t meet, and broken windows outnumber whole ones.
They have lived without electricity for more than five years, and their bathroom is in the backyard, with a pit latrine and a hose for a shower, plus a few panels of plywood and rusted metal sheets for privacy. Her three sons, aged 17, 14 and 12, share one tiny bedroom; her two daughters, aged 9 and 4, sleep in a twin bed in the hall outside of the bedroom that Miranda shares with Lashana’s father.
Miranda does her best for the family. She encourages her children to go to school so they will have more opportunities than she had. The school down the road is supported by ChildFund and embraces the child-friendly methodology (including alternative discipline, age-appropriate furniture, bright and engaging learning environments and parental engagement). We had visited the school earlier in the day to distribute sleeping cots for preschoolers and to see a renovated library where children can read, study and imagine.
Lashana suffers from asthma and other respiratory problems, which often forces her to return home early from preschool; she often falls ill if any of her classmates are sick. Miranda believes in the power of early stimulation and education, something ChildFund encourages throughout Dominica and in other countries, so she has educational charts at home to promote Lashana’s learning of the alphabet, numbers, vegetables and fruits.
Miranda doesn’t have a formal education, so her employment options are limited.
She takes on odd jobs, anything to provide for her family — cleaning homes, washing laundry by hand and so on. Miranda also keeps a small garden in the backyard to feed her family and sell the surplus produce in the market. But heavy rains this year ruined her crops and waterlogged the seeds. As a result, the family is having a hard time making ends meet. This is why Lashana was all smiles as she told me her most exciting news: She recently received a goat from her ChildFund sponsor. Though Lashana knows it is her goat, she also realizes that this goat will help the entire family with milk to sell, and once they breed the goat, they will be able to supplement their income by selling the offspring.
The day-to-day life for this family is daunting, but they have hope. Sponsors help provide hope for many children through their support of ChildFund’s programs and the families themselves. Sometimes in the form of a goat.
By Loren Pritchett, ChildFund Writer
Attention early holiday shoppers! (And if that’s not you, we totally understand). But if you are the type who likes to get a jump on things, we wanted to let you in on the news: The 2012 edition of ChildFund’s Gifts of Love & Hope catalog is now online and in the mail.
You’ll find hundreds of meaningful gifts in this year’s catalog including clean water, warm clothing, school supplies, medical needs and a barnyard of farm animals.
They’re not usually gift wrapped and you can’t find them at just any store, but goats are one of the most requested items in many of the countries where ChildFund works. Providing nutritious milk, fertilizer and a source of family income, goats are a valuable asset to families and communities. ChildFund’s Gifts of Love & Hope catalog makes it possible to send this essential gift and many more to families in need. As an early shopper you will have peace of mind knowing that your shopping is done and your timely gifts are answering a family’s most urgent needs.
Honor your loved ones with a gift ordered before Dec. 15, and they will receive a personalized card announcing your generosity. For gift catalog orders of $100 or more, placed by Dec. 31, ChildFund will deliver a free mosquito net in your honor. Take advantage of these specials, order early!
Once you order – we take care of the rest! Each item in the catalog has been specifically requested by children and families who live in ChildFund program areas. ChildFund staff in each country will purchase and then deliver your gift. You can rest assured that each item is delivered and used as described in the catalog. In many cases of farm animal purchases, ChildFund will even provide gift recipients with additional training in animal husbandry to maximize the value of your donation.
For children in our programs, these gifts are an opportunity for a brighter, healthier future. We invite you to preview the catalog and purchase a gift of love and hope that will help change a child’s life.