Tag Archives: On the Road

A Health and Economic Crisis

This story was written prior to yesterday’s horrible tragedy in Beruit. We have connected with our volunteer coordinators in the country who have informed us that our affiliated projects have not been affected at this time. We will continue to update our supporters as we find out more information. 

With lockdown in place as of March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lebanon saw itself quickly decline into economic collapse — further damaging the lives of residents who were already suffering from job loss and financial insecurity. Banks restricted citizens’ access to cash, and at the same time, the value of the Lebanese pound plummeted.

We hear from our volunteer coordinator, Gladys, at the Father Andeweg Institute for the Deaf (FAID), about how they are continuing to support children, in large part thanks to our donors, through the country’s health and economic crisis.

We hear from our volunteer coordinator, Gladys, at the Father Andeweg Institute for the Deaf (FAID), about how they are continuing to support children, in large part thanks to our donors, through the country’s health and economic crisis.

“Unfortunately, the schools in Lebanon are closed until further notice, and we do believe it will be impossible to open again soon.”

“We are still delivering courses through our Facebook and other online groups specially designed for each grade.”

“Despite the situation in Lebanon regarding the economy and the virus, we have still been able to provide hearing aids to the children in our program, thanks to donations from Children Incorporated. We were able to take earmold impressions, as well [as hold] speech sessions and  provide parental guidance [as] part of our outreach work with the Lebanese and Syrian refugees.”

About Lebanon

Renowned for its towering cedar trees, Lebanon boasts fertile valleys, snow-capped, ore-rich mountains, and — in a region where water is scarce — sixteen rivers that flow into the glistening Mediterranean Sea along Lebanon’s western coast. This small Middle Eastern country has an incredibly rich culture, evincing the influence of Greek, Roman, Arab, Ottoman Turk, and French culture. However, Lebanon’s wealth of diversity has also contributed to its turbulent history.

Lebanon continues to suffer repercussions of a history riddled with wars — both civil and international. Poverty, unemployment, and the ever-present threat of war are tragic realities in the country which have been exacerbated in recent months due to COVID-19.

Our affiliated projects

Thanks to our donors, we are able to provide support to our projects in Lebanon through the pandemic.

The Armenian Secondary School – Anjar
Anjar, Lebanon

In the 1930s, an influx of Armenians (a minority ethnic group in Lebanon) fleeing Turkey settled in Anjar, Lebanon, near the Syrian border. To this day, Armenian agricultural laborers who earn very little comprise an extensive portion of Anjar’s population. For this reason, the Armenian Secondary School serves as a beacon of hope. Serving both boys and girls of this impoverished and marginalized population, the school contains an attached boarding home for students whose parents cannot afford to send them to school. In conjunction with Children Incorporated sponsorship, the Armenian Secondary School provides these deserving children with opportunity through a well-rounded education.

Armenian Evangelical Schools
Beirut, Lebanon

The Armenian Evangelical Schools were first established in 1964 by the late Stephen Philibosian, a successful Lebanese-American businessman. In the years since their inception, these schools have enabled thousands of children in Lebanon to be educated.

The Father Andeweg Institute for the Deaf
Beirut, Lebanon

Founded in 1957, the Father Andeweg Institute for the Deaf provides deaf children with basic education and specialized training to become self-sufficient. It plays a crucial role in giving these hearing-impaired — and often destitute — children the opportunity to rise above the challenging circumstances that they face.

***

HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN LEBANON?

You can sponsor a child in Lebanon in one of three ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members; email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org; or go online to our sponsorship portal, create an account, and search for a child in Lebanon who is available for sponsorship.

SPONSOR A CHILD

Taking Care of Families in Honduras

In Honduras, where lack of adequate funding has led to inadequacies within the healthcare system, COVID-19 is a massive threat. For those living in poverty, the risk to them is even higher as those who rely on earning money daily to provide for their families means they often can’t protect themselves by staying home.

For those living in poverty, the risk to them is even higher as those who rely on earning money daily to provide for their families means they often can’t protect themselves by staying home.

Thankfully, our COVID-19 Response Fund and our incredible donors offer support to sponsored children, which relieves their parents from some of the enormous burdens they feel as they struggle to provide for their kids during a global pandemic. Our volunteer coordinators at our affiliated projects in Honduras report to us that thanks to donations from Children Incorporated, they have provided hygiene items and food bags to families every week, which is helping to keep them safe and healthy during these unprecedented times.

About Honduras

Nestled in northern Central America, Honduras was once home to several Mesoamerican peoples – most notably the Maya. This ecologically diverse land – with its rainforests, cloud forests, savannas, mountain ranges, and barrier reef system off the northern coast – teems with life. Its wealth of natural resources is equally impressive, including a variety of minable minerals and agricultural exports (such as coffee, tropical fruit, sugar cane, and lumber). Moreover, its growing textiles industry serves an international market. The nation’s wealth of natural beauty and resources, however, belies the dire poverty in which its people live. In fact, Honduras holds the unfortunate distinction of being one of the poorest nations in Latin America. This is due in part to its longstanding political instability, social strife (including the world’s highest murder rate), and economic issues (fluctuating export prices, rising inflation, and unemployment). Other contributing factors include frequent natural disasters (hurricanes, mild earthquakes, and flooding), widespread poverty, disease, and inadequate education, which results in a high rate of illiteracy.

Our affiliated projects

Siguatepeque Primary School 
Siguatepeque, Honduras

Offering families in need food and hygiene items has been critical to their survival during COVID-19.

In the small, rural town of Siguatepeque, unskilled workers receive only a few dollars a day, a tragically typical wage. The poorest residents subsist on a daily diet of beans and corn, which only propagates the widespread malnutrition among area children. In 1970, a local church group recognized the dire need for education among the town’s most impoverished children and established Siguatepeque Primary School. Today, the school serves as a beacon of hope, not only providing for these deserving children’s most basic immediate needs, but also offering them the tools with which to build a promising future.

Maria Reyna Home
San Pedro Sula, Honduras

Founded in 1942 as a girls’ orphanage, the Maria Reyna Home cares for the area’s orphaned, abandoned or neglected children. The home serves as a safe haven, away from the slum housing, hunger, disease, crime, and pollution that are all-too-tragic realities in this region. Through education and moral support, these deserving girls receive the opportunity to rise above the difficult socioeconomic circumstances from which they have come.

El Refugio Welfare Center
El Progreso, Honduras

El Refugio Welfare Center was established here in response to the devastation inflicted by Hurricane Mitch in 1998. This natural disaster claimed thousands of lives, causing catastrophic flooding and landslides. The damage was so extensive, in fact, that the Honduran president estimated that the storm set the nation’s economic development back a full 50 years. The progress of rebuilding homes and schools has been very slow, and residents here still grapple with the aftershocks of homelessness, disease, and heightened poverty. For this reason, El Refugio Welfare Center serves as a beacon of hope, a place where many of the town’s impoverished and abandoned children come to receive food, clothing, and educational assistance.

***

HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN Honduras?

You can sponsor a child in Honduras in one of three ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members; email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org; or go online to our donation portal, create an account, and search for a child in Honduras that is available for sponsorship.

SPONSOR A CHILD

A Need and Love for Extra Attention

At the end of every school year, our volunteer coordinators from all over the United States write to us to let us know about the power of sponsorship and what it has done for children at their respective schools.

We hear from Lara at Genoa Elementary School in Wayne County, West Virginia about how our sponsors have changed the lives of their sponsored children.

We hear from Lara at Genoa Elementary School in Wayne County, West Virginia about how our sponsors have changed the lives of their sponsored children.

“Dear Children Incorporated,

I am writing in appreciation of your continued dedication and generous contributions to the students of Genoa Elementary School. This year more than ever, our students have needed support, attention, and love from their sponsors. Our little school faced closure (and won) this year. The students at Genoa Elementary love their school. It was a very hard time for them. The gifts from the sponsors during that time reassured the students that no matter what, they are loved and cared for.

Students at Genoa Elementary School love their school — and their sponsors!

The support from the sponsors is invaluable to the Genoa Elementary students. They love getting new clothes to wear to school. They cannot wait for a gift to come. In addition to the excitement of getting a gift from their sponsors, students look forward to writing thank you letters. They enjoy telling the sponsors what they have been doing at school or activities they do over breaks.  This correspondence makes the students feel special. They like the extra attention, which many of them need.

My favorite time of the year with the students is Christmas. The gifts from the sponsors make the students so happy. The students come to my room at school to open their gifts from the sponsors. We gather around the Christmas tree to open presents. I love to see their expressions when a sponsor gets exactly what they wanted. They will look at me and ask, ‘How did they know?’ with bright eyes and a huge smile on their faces. There is such joy in the air! This truly is a blessing for me. It fills my heart to see the students so delighted.

I want to express my gratitude and appreciation to all of the wonderful Children Incorporated staff members and the life-changing sponsor heroes! The world is a better place for children because of people like you. Thank you!

With my utmost respect,

Lara”

About Wayne County, West Virginia

For this reason, Genoa Elementary School serves as a beacon of hope and a safe haven, one of the few places where children from impoverished families can count on support, encouragement, and a warm nutritious meal each day.

Wayne County lies nestled amid the vast natural beauty of the Allegheny Mountains, which still conceal deposits of the coal that once made this a rich and populous area of the Mountaineer State. Automation of the mines and the ecological stigmas attached to coal as a fuel source has seriously damaged Wayne County’s economy. With coal mining almost shut down, all businesses that once depended upon mining (and the buying power of the miners) have closed. Unemployment continues to rise, and industry development remains at a crawl. Like many small towns in this rural part of West Virginia, Genoa is remote, located far from any sizeable town or city. A few strip mines still produce coal, and there are some sawmills that cut lumber. Overall, however, Genoa’s economy is struggling, with high unemployment and a lack of industry development. Many residents in this region live well below the poverty line.

For this reason, Genoa Elementary School serves as a beacon of hope and a safe haven, one of the few places where children from impoverished families can count on support, encouragement, and a warm nutritious meal each day. The caring teachers at Genoa Elementary strive to improve each child’s self-esteem and wellbeing through a well-rounded education – the key to breaking the cycle of poverty.

***

HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN West Virginia?

You can sponsor a child in West Virginia in one of two ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members, or email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org.

SPONSOR A CHILD

A Meaningful Gift for Ms. Wilson

This story was originally written before the COVID-19 outbreak and has been updated for publication. 

In late February, I had the pleasure of not only attending the concert of one of our sponsors, Mary Wilson (of the legendary Supremes), but she also let me set up a table at the venue to let her fans know about Children Incorporated’s work. As concertgoers entered the building, they passed right by me, and many stopped to pick up literature about our sponsorship and special gifts programs.

Lynetta’s gift to Ms. Wilson was a testament to the value of our sponsorship program and the importance of what we, through our kind and generous sponsors, offer to children around the world.

Once the concert started, I took my seat for Ms. Wilson’s performance. Ms. Wilson, who turned 76 years old just a few days later, was at the top of her game that evening. She sang not only her classic Motown hits, but also a variety of other styles of music. She kept the crowd engaged from the first to the last note she sang, not only with her music, but also with her warmth and humor.

After the show, I returned to the table I set up prior to the show, and again, many people stopped to chat with me as they waited for Ms. Wilson to come out and sign autographs. When she did arrive, she was seated right beside me, and as people came to her for an autograph or to get a book or photo signed, she pointed to me and said repeatedly, “This is my friend, Ron. You need to talk to him. I sponsor a child with Children Incorporated, and you can too.”

I was so pleased with the way she encouraged people to talk to me, and many did. Interest in  Children Incorporated’s work was high.

Ms. Wilson pictured with Mr. Carter.

After Ms. Wilson greeted her fans, she moved across the room to take photographs with many more of them. Once the photo-taking was over, I presented her with a lovely card and handmade bracelet that her sponsored child, Lynetta*, had created just for her. When she saw the bracelet, she immediately took off her silver one and replaced it with Lynetta’s heartfelt gift. As she did, I was able to tell the guests who were still assembled about Children Incorporated and our life-changing work in the United States and in 20 additional countries.

The whole evening was perfect. Lynetta’s gift to Ms. Wilson was a testament to the value of our sponsorship program and the importance of what we, through our kind and generous sponsors, offer to children around the world. It was magical to be able to share that experience with Ms. Wilson and her fans.

*Name changed to protect the child. 

***
Ms. Wilson recently created a video to share, asking that others join her in supporting children through our sponsorship program. We are incredibly grateful for her dedication to Children Incorporated.

***

How do I sponsor a child with Children Incorporated?

You can sponsor a child in one of three ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members; email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org; or go online to our sponsorship portal, create an account, and search for a child that is available for sponsorship.

SPONSOR A CHILD

Isolated but Not Forgotten

Although much of the world is in isolation for the foreseeable future, the support from our sponsors helps our sponsored children and their families feel loved and taken care of in these uncertain times.

Our volunteer coordinator at our affiliated project, the Recanto Esperanca Center in Brazil, writes to us about how the support of our donors is making an impact on children in need.

Although much of the world is in isolation for the foreseeable future, the support from our sponsors helps our sponsored children and their families feel loved and taken care of in these uncertain times.

“We are fine, still in isolation. Thanks to you and the sponsors, we can buy basic baskets and hygiene products for children. Many families are without income and are very grateful for this help.

Last week we launched a milk campaign, and we have already achieved a lot. We will continue, as we probably need to help these families for a long time to come. We are also providing the children and teenagers with hygiene kits to take home.

Thank you so much for everything you are doing.”

About Brazil  

Brazil is the fifth-largest country in the world – both geographically and in terms of population. It is truly massive, sharing borders with every other country in South America except for Ecuador and Chile. The Amazon rain forest — recognized for having the greatest biological diversity on the planet — sprawls over the country’s northern half, with rugged mountains to the south.  Despite its wealth of natural resources and beauty, Brazil suffers from staggering poverty, rising inflation, unemployment, and lack of social development.  

About our affiliated projects

Recanto Esperanca Center
Curitiba-Paraná, Brazil

Located in the Urebaba District of Curitiba, where many families lack the resources to provide for their children’s education and basic needs, Recanto Esperança is a non-profit organization whose mission is to support children and their families to rise above the difficult socio-economic circumstances from which they come.

CARITAS-Novo Milênio Center
Lages – Santa Catarina, Brazil

Thanks to donations to our COVID-19 Response Fund, sponsored children in Brazil are receiving food and hygiene items regularly.

In the city of Lages, located in the south of Brazil, many families are forced to live in urban developments like Novo Milênio, which lack electricity, drinking water, and even sewage service.  Job opportunities here are extremely limited, and area public schools are ill-equipped to provide a quality education to the ever-increasing number of students. Children here roam the streets, sad, neglected, and vulnerable to the threats of crime, drug abuse, and worse. The plight of these children aroused the compassion of CARITAS, a non-profit organization run by the Catholic Church. As a result, the CARITAS Center in Novo Milênio was established to help these children and community members.

Casas Lares–ACRIDAS
Curitiba, Brazil

Curitiba’s city slum neighborhoods inspired ACRIDAS (Christian Association of Social Assistance), a non-profit organization of business and civic leaders, to establish several orphanages to assist these deserving young ones. Many children are placed in Casas Lares–ACRIDAS by court order, to protect them from the threats of abuse, drugs, violence, and malnutrition.  Casas Lares–ACRIDAS serves as a safe haven, offering underprivileged and vulnerable children the opportunity to live in a safe home environment.

Nossa Senhora Das Graças
Lagas, Brazil

The plight of children living in Lagas aroused the compassion of a charitable civic organization called Nossa Senhora Das Graças (Our Lady of the Graces) who founded the Nossa Senhora Das Graças daycare center to provide assistance, support, and hope to the needy children in this region of Brazil.

CADI CENTER
Fazenda Rio Grande – Curitiba, Brazil

In Fazenda Rio Grande, a town on the outskirts of Curitiba in southern Brazil, many families struggle to afford even the most basic of needs, let alone education-related expenses for their children. What began in 1994 as a soccer school to motivate and assist the children of these low-income families has now become CADI (Centro de Assistência e Desenvolvimento Integral) – a national nonprofit that maintains a center of holistic development in Fazenda Rio Grande. The CADI center’s mission is to motivate and equip these deserving children with an education and the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty.

***

HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN BRAZIL?

You can sponsor a child in Brazil in one of three ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members; email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org; or go online to our donation portal, create an account, and search for a child in Brazil that is available for sponsorship.

SPONSOR A CHILD

Praise from a New Coordinator

It is always nice to hear from our volunteer coordinators about the impact that our sponsors have on children in our program as they are the ones that see first-hand the power of sponsorship.

“Without your help, I would not be able to help the students and their families in this program.”

We recently received a letter from a new coordinator, Anita, from Johns Creek Elementary School about her first year working to support children in our program:

“First of all, I would like to thank Children Incorporated for sponsoring children in my school. Without your help, I would not be able to [serve] the students on the limited budget I receive from my school district.

I am a new coordinator with the Family Resource Center and Children Incorporated. The former coordinator, Mr. Smith, retired February 1st, and I began on February 12th. I am new to the Family Resource Center, but not new to our school or the children and families, as I have served as the school secretary for the past twenty years.

In the last few months, I have introduced several new resources for our students and their families. I created a school supply cart, and each morning I would take it to the front lobby of the school. As the students would come into the building, they could get any school supplies from the cart that they might need. I also created a clothing closet, a hygiene closet, and a food pantry. At any time during the day, the students can come to my office to get items privately.

Staff outside of Johns Creek Elementary School ready to provide students with items to take home during the COVID-19 outbreak (photo courtesy of Facebook)

I have also started a birthday recognition program for our students. I send a card and a sweet treat to each student on their birthday. For the students sponsored by Children Incorporated, I purchase something off the child’s wish list and provide a birthday cake for the child to enjoy with their family.

After a couple of weeks of being hired as Family Resource Coordinator, I received word that some of our families of unsponsored children didn’t have the resources to provide the child a birthday cake, so I began purchasing them a cake. As word got out about the birthday cakes, I now have school staff and parents who make or purchase the cakes for all the children. I will deliver the cake to their home on their birthday or on the day the family is having a party.

The past couple of months have been difficult for our students, but they have stayed strong. They haven’t been able to attend school since March 12th. Beginning March 13th through May 15th our students participated in non-traditional days. If the student had access to the internet, they participated in online learning with their teachers and classmates. Several of our students had internet but didn’t have a reliable computer to do the work on, so we provided them a Chromebook from the school. For students who didn’t have internet, we delivered paper packets of their work and videos of the online sessions to their homes.

During this time, we have been blessed to be able to provide weekly delivery routes using our buses to deliver food and supplies to our students. We also have had Grab N’ Go Meal pickups on Thursdays at our school. We have been able to provide children 18 and under with seven breakfasts and seven lunches free of charge during this time through our School Food Service.

During this time, we have been blessed to be able to provide weekly delivery routes using our buses to deliver food and supplies to our students.

Each week, they receive a breakfast and a lunch bag. The breakfast bag usually consists of two cereal boxes, two Pop-Tarts, two chicken biscuits, a sausage biscuit, seven assorted fruits and seven assorted juices. The lunch bag usually consisted of a hamburger, a hot dog, a ham sub, a turkey sub, a chicken sandwich, a corn dog, pizza, chips, French fries, assorted veggies, assorted fruits and a gallon of milk.

With help from Children Incorporated, we have been able to provide a snack bag each week to every sponsored child in addition to the meals. The snack bags contain packs of oatmeal, boxes of cereal, beef sticks, fruit snacks, packs of macaroni and cheese, cans of soup, cans of spaghetti, sports drinks, drink mixes, and water. We also have a tote sitting outside the front entrance to our building providing food bags for any family who may need extra food.

Our last day of school for the year was Friday, May 15th and the last day we were able to use our buses for deliveries. Our School Food Service is still able to offer the same seven breakfast and lunches to any child under 18 through Grab N’ Go Meals on Thursdays from 9:30-2:00 at our school during the summer. Our school staff has stepped up and is helping me deliver meals and snack bags to any student whose family can’t come and get the meals on Thursday, and for that I am grateful!

Anita is incredibly grateful for the support of our sponsors.

To celebrate summer, I prepared each sponsored child a summer fun bag, a basket of cleaning & hygiene supplies, and a food basket and delivered those to the homes the last week of school. For the beginning of school in the fall, I have ordered each child a backpack, lunch/snack box, school supplies, school T-shirts and shoes. Without the help from your sponsors and donors, I would not be able to provide for the students and their families.”

About Johns Creek Elementary School

Nestled in the picturesque Appalachian Mountains and steeped in a rich cultural heritage, Pike County once thrived due to its coal and lumber industries. Then, in 1994, the Eastern Division of Pittston Coal Company closed its mines. Unfortunately, the mountain passes and rugged terrain have effectively blocked other types of industry from settling in this part of Kentucky. Thus, few industries and employment options remain in the area. As a result, unrelenting poverty and unemployment have taken their toll. Moreover, their debilitating effects do not only impact adults. Hunger and cold nights in bed are no strangers to many of the children of this area, as their parents struggle to make ends meet.

For this reason, Johns Creek Elementary School — the largest P-8 educational facility in the county — serves as a beacon of hope, allowing students to learn, discover and grow in a warm and caring environment that is geared towards education — the key to breaking the cycle of poverty.

***

HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN KENTUCKY?

You can sponsor a child in Kentucky in one of two ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members, or email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org.

SPONSOR A CHILD