This Christmas season, you can give the gift of protection and opportunity to children around the world.
One of the best things about Christmas is the joy we see in a child’s eyes when they open a gift we have given them. With this moment of happiness and generosity, we honor the great gift that Jesus gave us on the first Christmas morning—the gift of Himself!
Many of our Maryknoll Sisters will be spending this Christmas living and working with children whose greatest want is not a toy or a game, but a future. So many of these children have known nothing but poverty, hunger, sickness, and abuse. The best Christmas gift these children can get is the chance for something better. You can make this happen!
In Tanzania in east Africa, Sister Bibiana Bunuan, M.M. oversees the “Child-to-Child” program, which guides children away from bad and destructive behavior by encouraging them to act as mentors and sources of support for younger children. The program takes its inspiration from an African proverb: “The way a child is raised is the way he or she will grow.”
On the other side of the world in the Central American nation of Guatemala, Sister Connie Pospisil, M.M. lives in our community in the Mayan village of Lemoa. Her most recent project is a nutrition center for malnourished children.
Back in Tanzania, in the village of Mwanza, Sister Celeste Derr, M.M. founded a Montessori school to educate the local children—many of them orphans—in a positive setting free of fear and threats. Before this the children had either no formal education at all, or an education punctuated by beatings and humiliation. We are trying to raise the funds to buy a school bus for the children. Some of them must travel as much as 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) each way to reach the school—obviously, this is difficult and discouraging as well as unsafe. Your generosity will go a long way toward solving this problem.
Farther south, in the African country of Zimbabwe, Sister Mary Frances Kobets, M.M. has devoted the last 35 years to working among orphan children, many of whom have lost their parents to the nation’s severe HIV epidemic, and many of whom are themselves HIV positive. Sister Fran’s Orphans’ Education and Agricultural Support (OEAS) program works to get these children off the streets and into homes, and to provide them with an educational and agricultural basis for supporting themselves. This is effective but difficult, because the program has no source of funding other than money raised from donors and sponsors like you.
These are just some of the places our Maryknoll Sisters are working to help children and families who are struggling—we serve in 23 countries around the world. As you make your Christmas gift list, I know you will honor our Newborn King by helping to secure a future for His brothers and sisters… as He Himself said, whatever you do for them, you do for Him!
Again, a dollar stretches much further in these countries. Even a small donation can save a child’s life, and your generosity can literally work miracles—give what you can!
May God bless you for your caring, your prayers and your support, and may He grant you a wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year!