Children's Emergency Relief International (CERI)

Children's Emergency Relief International (CERI) is a faith-based health and human services organization that has been bringing hope to children who are impoverished and deprived since 1999. CERI strives to break the generational cycle of poverty through a holistic program of nutrition and health services, educational achievement, biblical social values, and spiritual discernment. The goal is to give every child a lifestyle of self-determination and self-reliance that provides hope for the future. CERI is the international arm of BCFS, a system of health and human service non-profit organizations.
Jan 12, 2012

A Happy Ending to a Difficult Mission

A little girl with her new boots
A little girl with her new boots

After months of planning and preparation, forty-seven volunteers from the U.S. traveled to Transnistria during two weeks last month to deliver 3,859 pairs of new winter boots and socks to orphans and impoverished children there.  The first week of teams was able to enter the country and deliver shoes as planned, but the second week teams were prohibited from entering the disputed region by the local government due to anticipated demonstrations and the threat of potential violence in the area as a result of the presidential election. 

Although disappointed, our staff and volunteers adjusted well to this unforeseeable turn of events.  The volunteers who were disallowed entry into Transnistria worked instead with institutionalized orphans in neighboring Moldova, visiting orphanages and conducting dramas and playing with the children.  The kids were thrilled to have visitors and some one-on-one attention.  Our staff arranged for local church members in Transnistria to deliver the remaining boots that were unable to be delivered by the second week teams.  These church members rose eagerly to the task, working throughout the next week after our teams had departed to deliver all of the remaining boots to Transnistrian children! 

Although the boot distribution did not occur as planned, the end result was still accomplished, and CERI is grateful to the many donors who gave generously and sacrificially to provide orphans with new socks and winter boots for the cold months ahead. 

A boy is fitted with new boots
A boy is fitted with new boots
The joy of giving
The joy of giving
Delivering boots
Delivering boots

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Jan 9, 2012

A Family Endeavor

Mrs. Valliammai learned the art of gardening and cultivation from her parents.  Now it is her livelihood, and, with the help of a CERI microenterprise loan and her own enthusiasm, it is somewhat of a family business.  Mrs. Valliammai is 56 years old and is the foster mother of Sivarasa, a child in CERI’s care.  Her husband, Vanniasingham, is an unskilled worker who has a difficult time finding work much of the time.  When there is no work for him, he helps his wife with the gardening.  Sivarasa helps also during school breaks.  They consider it a blessing to engage in this effort together.

The family is skilled in planting crops, knowing the appropriate times for planting and harvesting.  They were granted a microenterprise loan of 10,000 Rupees (approximately  100 USD) and planted mung beans, okra, chilies, eggplants, lettuce, and manioc.  While typically allowed payments of 10 installments to repay the loan, Mrs. Valliammai and her family repaid theirs in just 5 installments.  The family sells their produce at the weekly market and in their village, and they are able to make a profit each week. 

Although a portion of their cultivation was recently damaged due to a flood, the resourceful Mrs. Valliammai converted the flooded area into a paddy field and was thus able to avoid a devastating loss of income.  She has now requested a second loan to continue to pursue and expand her paddy cultivation efforts.  Mrs. Valliammai is a motivated woman and drives her family forward with her determination.   There are many more like her who only need a small boost to help them start a business that can propel their families toward self-sustainability.  CERI’s Microenterprise program provides that boost with the help of donors like you!

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Dec 8, 2011

Opportunities for a Better Life

CERI’s Transitional Care program in Moldova is designed to provide teenagers graduating from the country’s orphanages with opportunities for a better life.  One example of a teenager whose life was changed by this program is a young woman named Ecaterina.  “Catea,” as she is called, was born an unwanted child and had a very rough childhood.  Her mother has 3 children, each with different fathers.  Catea has never met her father.

She and her older sister lived with their grandmother until Catea was in the 6th grade.  At that time she went to live at an orphanage and boarding school in Chisinau.  She was a hardworking student and earned high grades. 

During her last year of schooling at the orphanage, Catea was introduced to CERI’s Transitional Care program.  The CERI staff encouraged her to make the decision to continue her education after graduating from the orphanage and to participate in the program. 

Catea chose to continue her studies at the National College of Commerce.  This is when the challenges of independent life began for her.  She had to work as a nanny at night for very low pay and as a promoter during the day after her classes to earn money to support herself.  Her first year of college proved difficult with new classmates, new subject material, and the stress of balancing her studies with working two jobs.  She had no emotional or monetary support at home, as her mother was consumed with alcoholism and did not take care of herself or her children.  While struggling to make it through her first year of college and work, Catea even prepared meals for her mother and visited daily to feed her. 

With the help and support of CERI, Catea finished that difficult first year of college and is now in her second year.  This year has been easier for her, and she is thankful for the Transitional Care program where she was introduced to a supportive community and received monthly financial support, emotional support and encouragement from her sponsor and the CERI staff, and life skills training classes to help her be successful.

Catea already had the potential to succeed within her--she just needed the opportunity and some positive reinforcement along the way.  Thank you for supporting this program and promising young adults like Catea!  Your gifts make opportunities possible for them.

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