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.
Dec 3, 2010

CERI Helps an Enterpreneur Improve Family Welfare

Mrs. Sivamala feeds her chickens
Mrs. Sivamala feeds her chickens

Mrs. Senaratna Sivamala, 59, lives in the city of Batticaloa, Sri Lanka’s Eastern Province. The province was hit hard by the 26-year civil war that ended in 2009. A caretaker of four children whose parents are deceased, Mrs. Sivamala is a versatile entrepreneur, who is adept at poultry farming, basket-weaving, and husbandry.

When CERI began supporting her small business through a revolving micro-loan program, Mrs. Sivamala and the children in her care were all cramped in a tiny hut. She has received two loans from CERI’s Women’s Small Group (WSG) in the amount of $44 and $88, respectively, which allowed her to purchase 70 broiler chickens and expand a poultry farm she owns.

CERI set up the WSG as a network of foster mothers in Batticaloa, who have pooled their funds together to establish a loan fund that each foster family can tap into to launch or expand its micro-enterprise initiatives.

Mrs. Sivamala now generates a profit of $27 per month from her chicken egg sales, in addition to earning $9 per week by selling hand-woven decorative baskets – an impressive increase in income by the standards of provincial Sri Lanka. The tireless businesswoman has recently built a new, spacious house, and organized wedding celebrations for two of her grandchildren.    

“I’m very happy about my progress and am deeply grateful to the Women’s Small Group for helping me to promote my self-employment. I am also looking forward to getting a larger loan from CERI for goat farming,” Mrs. Sivamala said.                                    

Mrs. Sivamala
Mrs. Sivamala's new house
Nov 2, 2010

CERI Gives a Boost to a Widow's Sewing Business

Mrs. Nallammah Vadivel Chooses Fabric for a Dress
Mrs. Nallammah Vadivel Chooses Fabric for a Dress

Mrs. Nallammah, 60, is a widowed hostel administrator in the town of Batticaloa, Sri Lanka’s Eastern Province. Three of her four adult children live abroad, and she looks after her grandson. Struggling to make ends meet, Mrs. Nallammah began moonlighting as a seamstress and joined the Women’s Small Group, a grassroots network established by CERI to provide small loans to the budding entrepreneurs in Mrs. Nallammah’s community.

The majority of small business owners supported by CERI are foster parents who participate in the agency’s initiative promoting the adoption of orphans and children separated from parents as a result of the destructive 2004 tsunami and the protracted civil war that ended in 2009.

Mrs. Nallammah received two loans from CERI in 2005-2008, which she repaid on time. These funds enabled her to expand her home-based sewing enterprise and increase her income to $26 per month—no small feat for a widow in rural Sri Lanka.

She sews dresses, blouses, pillow covers and school uniforms, in addition to traditional Sri Lankan female outfits, such as sari and salwar (loose trousers with a tight fit around the ankle). Her business gets quite busy during the Sri Lankan holiday season in December.

In April 2010, Women’s Small Group (WSG) disbursed a third loan in the amount of $133 to Mrs. Nallammah. She needs to repay it with a 0.75% interest within 12 months. Since she became the recipient of WSG’s loans, the resourceful dressmaker has widened her clientele, purchased additional rolls of fabric, and put her attractive outfits up for sale. She currently earns $35 per month, continues to repay her loan on time, and contemplates targeting a larger neighborhood market with her hand-made garments. When asked about her future plans, the ambitious business lady said she “would like to receive a larger loan to open a tailor’s shop and to hire additional staff” to help her run the business.

Mrs. Nallammah Vadivel and Her Client
Mrs. Nallammah Vadivel and Her Client
Nov 1, 2010

An Urgent Plea for CERI's Boot Mission to Moldova

CERI Volunteers Fit Boots on Children
CERI Volunteers Fit Boots on Children's Feet

Dear friend,

How poor is an orphan? Poor enough to say, “The first present that I ever received was a new pair of boots and socks from the Americans.” 8,112 pairs of boots are being loaded unto a ship this week and will arrive in Moldova before Thanksgiving for volunteers to personally give to orphans. We have raised approximately $55,000 but $107,000 needs to be given. My wife and I are praying about the amount we should give and I am asking you to do the same.

The shoe mission is always an adventure of faith. CERI must place the shoe order in late spring so the shoes can arrive in December. At that time we do not have the funds to pay for the shoes. We rely on your generosity. Over the years you have faithfully given and even volunteered to go and deliver the shoes. This year, 54 volunteers from 25 different churches and students from six universities will form five teams to put on all the shoes.

Some creative donors have enlisted their Sunday school classes to give an offering. Others have given shoes as Christmas presents (my wife and I also did this for those who “had everything”). CERI can provide you with informative materials if needed. The approximate cost for a pair of shoes is $20.00 which includes shipping, storage and other related fees.

Remember the Godly woman described in Proverbs 31? The bible says that “She opens her hands to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.”  I want to be like this woman. Please reach out to the poor orphans with your gift today.  Donations to CERI Boot Drive for Moldovan orphans and indigent children can be made at: http://goto.gg/6237.

Thank you!

CERI Truck Delivers Winter Boots to Moldova
CERI Truck Delivers Winter Boots to Moldova
Moldovan Children Received New Boots from CERI
Moldovan Children Received New Boots from CERI
CERI Volunteers Fit Boots to Children
CERI Volunteers Fit Boots to Children's Feet
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