Jan 31 2013

The wonder of wetlands: Salvadoran family helps care for environment

Lake Guija, wetlands site in El Salvador

Lake Guija in El Salvador.

Feb. 2, 2013, marks the 16th celebration of World Wetlands Day. Citizens, organizations and government agencies have participated since 1997 in raising public awareness for protecting the wetlands of the world.

CFCA serves families in El Salvador who live near Lake Guija, a designated wetlands area. Remigio, a farmer and fisherman, and Corina live with their children on a rented plot of land near the lake. One of their children, David, is sponsored through CFCA. Read more

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Jan 29 2013

Mother makes environmentally friendly charcoal in Madagascar

Charcoal-Madagascar

Marie, mother of a CFCA sponsored child in Madagascar.

Meet Marie, mother of three children in Madagascar, who found a creative way to help her family through selling environmentally friendly charcoal made from soil, grass and charcoal powder!

One of her children, 11-year-old Safidison, is sponsored through CFCA.

My husband works in rice fields. I am a housewife.

Before our son was sponsored, we sometimes went hungry because we could not afford to buy food, especially when my husband could not find a job.

Paying school fees for all three children was really a challenge.

Life was not easy. Money was hard to come by since my husband does seasonal work, and the money he made was not enough for our needs. Read more of Marie’s story

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Jan 14 2013

Community in Colombia plants trees to help in drought

A Chinese proverb says it’s better to light one candle than curse the darkness.

We can find a modern-day parallel in a community in Cali, Colombia, where families in the CFCA program found it’s better to take action and plant a tree to help the environment!

Water walk in Colombia

Yeraldin, CFCA staffer in Colombia and CFCA scholar, plants seeds for a future tree in an environmental campaign to help fight against drought. Yeraldin was sponsored through CFCA as a child.

For several years now, Colombia has suffered from a drought that has caused the nation’s government to urge citizens to conserve water (see this article for more information).

This particular CFCA community in Cali has had limited water supply as a result, and CFCA mothers groups met to discuss the problem. Read more

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Jul 27 2011

Organic vegetable gardening takes root in CFCA Filipino community

Chinese cabbage grows in a CFCA organic gardening initiative in the Philippines

Chinese cabbage grows in bamboo strips in a CFCA organic gardening initiative in the Philippines.

Rapid urbanization has brought many problems, including garbage, malnutrition, poverty and food insecurity.

CFCA helps secure food for sponsored friends and their families while encouraging them to develop creative, sustainable solutions.

Mavic Ihap, Quezon project coordinator in the Philippines, describes how parents of sponsored children are cultivating vegetable gardens in a Caloocan City neighborhood.

As the CFCA project encourages families to act on their own development, our parents of sponsored children initiated a food security project, believing that cultivating their own crops is a better way of securing food for their families.

One of the identified issues in their community is rapid urbanization.

In the city people can seldom obtain fresh vegetables because most of it comes from distant provinces, which contributes to its high cost.

CFCA organic gardening in the Philippines

Parents of CFCA sponsored children in their communal garden.

Through their regular small-group meetings, parents eventually came up with the idea of vegetable gardening.

They coordinated with the city’s agriculture unit for free seedlings when they started the project in January 2011.

Beyond saving time and money, they can now provide their families a delicious and nutritious menu from the fresh vegetables just outside their doorsteps.

For households with no space to plant, they used bamboo strips, plastic containers, tin cans, old pots and rice sacks.

The gardens are a way of advocating environmental awareness within the community. They help “green” the city and reduce air pollution.

It can also reduce garbage as they recycle non-biodegradable containers, kitchen scraps and anything that decays, which can serve as organic fertilizer.

A mother of a CFCA sponsored child picks cauliflower in a vegetable gardening initiative in the Philippines

Jenny, mother of CFCA sponsored children Shailyn and Shaira, harvests cauliflower.

Aside from household vegetable gardens, the project also includes communal gardening.

Extra produce from the communal vegetable garden is sold around the neighborhood, helping replenish the group’s fund.

This is a result of the project’s continuous community empowerment as we journey toward realizing the Hope for a Family program values.

This initiative formed as a result of CFCA PamBuhay groups, where parents of sponsored children work together to identify and resolve important issues in their communities. You can learn more about PamBuhays in this story.

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Apr 22 2011

CFCA in Honduras improves environment with eco-stoves

To celebrate Earth Day, we wanted to share this report from Ricardo Garcia, project coordinator in Santa Rosa, Honduras. It’s about eco-stoves that help both the environment and the health of our sponsored friends.

In 2008, the Santa Rosa project in Honduras initiated a medical campaign to benefit all the sponsored members and their families.

During the campaign, we learned that many mothers suffered from pulmonary emphysema caused by excessive smoke from cooking food.

Later in 2009, we initiated a reforestation effort because large swaths of trees were being cut in the communities. But the problem wasn’t getting better.

One solution addressed both problems. We decided to build eco-stoves because they use less firewood and they don’t produce smoke in the home.

Getting the program off the ground was difficult because the families were accustomed to seeing lots of smoke in their homes. But they see how much better off they are financially because they don’t buy as much firewood.

Their homes are free from smoke, their food is cooked healthier, and the man does not have to spend so much time gathering firewood. This gives him more time to work.

The project also provides an opportunity for the families to interact because from the beginning, we trained them to build the stoves.

The fathers help other households with the construction and in the process of sharing their knowledge, they support other members of the community and live better together.

The plan is to have enough funds to support this initiative so that someday, all families in the CFCA communities of Santa Rosa who need an eco-stove can have one. This should greatly diminish the deforestation problem.

We also hope to incorporate the support of other organizations and institutions to help us supply so many families.

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Apr 22 2009

‘Clean and Green’ in the Philippines

By Malou Navio, Antipolo project coordinator

Caring for the communal gardens.Project staff and CFCA families in the Antipolo project respond to the call to care for our Mother Earth by caring for our local environment through a program we call Clean and Green.

Clean and Green enhances CFCA sponsorship for our sponsored individuals and their families.

The Antipolo project uses ongoing training, lectures and discussion to incorporate Clean and Green into spirituality and way of life and to encourage families to consider the ecosystem.

As CFCA farming families learn irrigation methods for rice paddies and corn growing, more and more are gradually shifting away from the kaingin (slash and burn) way of farming. The families in urban areas promote waste management by reducing, reusing and recycling.

To reinforce this practice, we do not use disposable cups, plates or utensils; plastic wrappers; straws; and Styrofoam during our activities.

Our sponsored children, youth, their parents and the aging in kapitbahayans (small, caring communities) devote one to two hours every Saturday morning to cleaning up their surroundings, streets, canals and rivers. This contributes to disaster risk reduction.

Kapitbahayans grow plants and flowers in easement lots and open spaces to improve their communities. They cultivate these spaces for communal gardens of vegetables and medicinal plants. They can also share the harvest with neighbors.

A tree-planting activity takes place yearly. Most families plant the seeds from the fruits they eat. Many sponsored aging friends love this activity.

Though they say they may not witness the fruition of the trees they have planted, for them it is their gesture toward repaying the food they eat without the effort of growing it.

We have planted and nurtured thousands of trees. The ages of these trees range from younger than one year to more than 10 years old.

They are growing in backyards, along the roads, rivers, in the parks, open spaces, foothills, watershed and shores in the communities served by our three subprojects.

Fifteen sponsored youth leaders with parent advisers are graduates of a comprehensive training on holistic environmental education. This training discussed inner- and outer-ecology, and cosmic ecology.

They also learned about the making of bokashi balls (click here to read more about bokashi balls), an indigenous technology of effective micro-organisms that eliminates harmful bacteria from fresh waters. They facilitate the same training on weekends with the sponsored youth, children, mothers and fathers group leaders.

Earth Day parade, 2008

Earth Day parade, 2008

The Earth Day celebration is one of the most important events of the year for us.

This year, the families will celebrate Earth Day with a parade around the town or barangays (neighborhoods), and then they will watch a film and attend workshops on environmental concerns and climate change.

The fathers group, with CFCA families in the communities of Angono, will celebrate Earth Day with a parade around the town and will launch their commitment and initiatives to heal the dying Angono River. They made 14,000 bokashi balls to drop into the Angono River to help heal the river and its species.

In our little way, we can radiate to each other, to the children, youth, aging and families, our dedication to care for the environment and our special love for Mother Earth.

Happy Earth Day!

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