Celebrating International Day of the Girl

Bob Hentzen

Bob’s passion was to build bridges of love and understanding between all people.

As CFCA prepares for the funeral tomorrow of our President and Co-Founder Bob Hentzen, we honor International Day of the Girl. Educating and empowering girls throughout the 21 developing countries where CFCA works was important to Bob and will continue to be part of his legacy.
The International Day of the Girl is a movement started by youth to speak out against gender bias and advocate for girls’ rights everywhere.

Stereotypes and patriarchal attitudes hold girls and women back from living up to their full potential.

These close-minded judgments take place all over the world, from girls like Malala, a Pakistani activist standing up for rights for women, to women like Cecilia, a mother and volunteer in her community of Cali, Colombia.

Cecilia is the mother of four CFCA sponsored children in Cali, Colombia.

International Day of the Girl

Cecilia, left, with her husband, James, right, and their four children.

Before her children were sponsored, the family lived in a small poorly built home made from wood.

Their income was not enough to support the family until they began receiving sponsorship assistance.

But Cecilia’s story begins much earlier, when she was just a girl — a girl who would experience hardship and gender discrimination for many years.

As a child, Cecilia was raised in a home where boys were in charge. Girls and women were available to serve the men and boys and be at their beckon call.

Her struggles taught her that believing in herself was not an option.

“When I was a child, my parents loved my brothers but not me because I was the only girl at home,” she said.

“I had to do the chores and cook the food for my brothers, and my parents did not treat me well.”

Cecilia’s home life wasn’t the only challenge she faced.

Gangs and criminal activity polluted the neighborhood where she grew up.

Bob Hentzen

Cecilia and many other CFCA families around the world respected and admired our late President Bob Hentzen.

Many forces were working against her, and she struggled to keep herself on solid ground.

“I left my home, and I lived for a few years on the streets,” Cecilia said.

Once Cecilia reached adulthood, she started a family with her husband James.

Starting a family was difficult at first, but they shared a deep love with each other and worked hard to build their family.

A new beginning

When Cecilia’s oldest child reached the first grade, she learned about CFCA, and shortly thereafter her four children became sponsored.

International Day of the Girl

Through her volunteer work, Cecilia teaches mothers of sponsored children and helps with other CFCA activities.

“When CFCA reached our lives, it was a terrific help for us because we had many needs with our four little children,” she said. “I started to attend CFCA’s local office and I liked their work. It was how I became a volunteer at CFCA.”

Cecilia helps at the CFCA office by delivering lunch to the sponsored children and also distributing benefits to sponsored friends and their families.

Cecilia’s volunteer responsibilities have grown over time, and she also helps other women who are struggling in difficult situations, much like she was long ago.

International Day of the Girl

Cecilia, mother of four sponsored children, stands in front of her new home holding a picture of her old home. Through CFCA efforts and support, she improved her family’s living conditions. Their new home is made of brick and has a much stronger roof.

“I will always love CFCA for bringing the opportunity of education to my children,” she said. “I love to serve others. … I tell my children that they have to study hard to help their community and help others.”

Challenges may have stood in Cecilia’s way, but it never stopped her from achieving her dreams.

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3 thoughts on “Celebrating International Day of the Girl

  1. I have been thinking about exactly this today. I stood in one home while Bob spoke with the family. He asked a girl (14/15 ish) if she was going to school and she said no. There was no judgement on his part, but I like to think that even as a teenager who had fallen out of the education system, that planted some seed in her mind and heart that it is not too late ……… God definitely spoke through him.

  2. For sure life becomes a better place when there is some one to support and believe in you. BOB HENTZEN was that kind of person. Thank you for the great work done, you will always be remembered.

  3. A number of years ago my husband and I were fortunate to visit Guatemala on one of the tours offered by CFCA. On that visit we spent time with Bob and his brother. We reflect many times on the admiration we hold for what he was able to accomplish in his lifetime! We will always feel blessed we were able to have Bob Hentzen touch our lives so that we could make a small difference in the world as well.

    Bob and Marge Gaudio
    New Jersey

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