May 15 2010

Show your family some love

Weekends in May can be busy, with a mixture of graduations, end-of-school preparations and weddings going on. But today, International Family Day, try to take a moment to gather around you those you love, and let them know how much you appreciate them, whether it be a phone call, a high five or a hug.

We’ll leave you with an inspirational story of a strong family, sent to us by the CFCA Quezon project.

This is about how Noemi and her family survived the wrath of ìPepeng,î the typhoon that hit Northern Luzon. It was Oct. 8, when the heavy rains and strong winds started to ravage the town where they lived. The familyís small hut was situated on the hill side. The continuous wind and rain made the family nervous and worried, keeping them all awake.

It was midnight when suddenly they heard a roaring sound coming from the mountain. The father cautioned the family to stay close together and to embrace each other, and they prayed. In a minute, they and their hut were being carried by the mudslide coming from the mountain. Even during that time, they never let go of each other. As they struggled against the falling stones and mud, Noemiís mother seriously injured her arms with a piece of bamboo, but she just ignored it: all she cared about at that time was the safety of her children.

When they were able to come out of their hut, they rushed to their relative’s house for shelter, waiting for the morning to come.

With the projectís aid and with additional assistance from CFCA, the family was able to rebuild a new house and able to start a new life again. With the familyís strong faith and love for each other, they were able to survive the storm that nearly took their lives.

Noemi is a 4th year high school student who has been sponsored since kindergarten.

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Apr 27 2010

Paying it forward

Bhaskar Karanampally is on his way to becoming a successful engineer, an accomplishment that few children in his neighborhood slum outside Hyderabad dream about.

Bhaskar with some of the children he tutors.

Thanks to his God-given talents and the encouragement and support of CFCA, Bhaskar is in his third year of engineering studies.

He persevered with his studies in the government school he attended, in spite of the substandard education provided there. In India, government schools provide impoverished children with access to education, but the schools lack basic infrastructure and skilled faculty.

Most students drop out, as did Bhaskarís sister and brother. He was about to end his studies because his family could not afford to pay for his higher education. The income Bhaskar’s father earns from his neighborhood shop is just enough for the food and clothing needs of Bhaskar and his two siblings.

A CFCA social worker encouraged Bhaskar to stay in school, and he was admitted to the Swami Vivekanada Institute of Technology in Hyderabad.

ìMy dream is to complete my technology degree with good marks and work as a software engineer,î Bhaskar said. ìItís because of CFCA that I am able to dream of this new goal in life.î

Bhaskar is eager to repay the help he received from CFCA. In the evenings, he conducts a study hour for the neighborhood children and helps them with their homework. Mothers from the neighborhood have witnessed how Bhaskarís involvement is boosting their children’s self-esteem.

Bhaskar offers a study hour to children in his slum.

ìHe hails from our own slum,î said Nagamani, a member of a CFCA mothers group. ìHe is not only able to help the children, but has such a positive influence on them.î

Bhaskar is proud to be a role model.

ìI know for most of my companions, life was a missed opportunity, but I want to see these kids reach their higher goals,î he said. ìWhat makes me happy is that so many children in my slum now receive formal education, and that I am able to support and guide them.î

This was the feature story from the 2010 spring issue of The Scholar. You can read more stories like this one on our website.

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Nov 25 2009

The joy of friendship

Editorís note: Ronald, 21, graduated from the sponsorship program in June of 2008.

RonaldIím Ronald from Hyderabad, India. I come from a family where education was always a daydream. Iím delighted to share a few memories of my life, as I was a fortunate child who has been blessed by God.

CFCA has helped me complete my education and stand on my feet. To make my dreams come true, CFCA came to my aid. Because of their valuable and timely help, my parents were able to enroll me in Mount Carmel High School. CFCA took care of all my educational needs and supported my parents.

Throughout my association with CFCA, I thought all the sponsors belonged to rich families, and helped unfortunate children with their surplus. But to my astonishment, my sponsors, John and Bobby, were an elderly couple who were not wealthy, and were no longer in touch with other family members. I was very joyful to know that they treated me as their grandson.

I remember in one of the letters John told me he had made a big board in his room where he preserved my letters, photographs and paintings, and he read them whenever he felt lonely. I was taken aback by his affection for me.

Sadly, John passed away, but Bobby continued to sponsor me. She also shared with me that after John died I was the only one with whom she could express all her feelings. Iím happy that I was able to know such adoring people.

After I received my education, I got a job with an information technology company. Today, I have everything I need: loving parents, a good education and a fine job. And the two most important people responsible for my life being so good today are my dear sponsors, John and Bobby.

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Oct 12 2009

Moringa trees in the Philippines

Oct. 16 is World Food Day, created in 1979 to increase awareness of the global food problem. In light of this event, we will be doing our part to raise awareness of simple, natural ways to combat malnutrition and hunger. Because CFCA spends more money on nutrition-related benefits than any other, our project staff and families are very creative when it comes to sustainable options. For example, in a recent report from the Philippines, we learned that CFCA families plant moringa trees. Not only is this tree extremely nutritious, but itís drought-resistant AND most of the tree can be used. Although this is the first time weíve heard of this tree, our projects are very familiar with its benefits. This week, you will hear how several projects incorporate this ìmiracleî tree into the CFCA program.

Llyod climbs the moringa tree to harvest the tiny leaves.
Llyod harvests the tiny moringa leaves.

Q&A with Malou Navio, Antipolo, Philippines, project coordinator

1. You said in the Clean and Green report that CFCA families plant moringa trees. How do they use the trees?
The moringa tree is a popular, indigenous herb to us and to people in the communities. Its matured bark is scraped to get a teaspoonful of shavings to mix with a cup of hot or cold water to make a tea known to cleanse the urinary tract. It can also be used as an antiseptic.

The young branch can also be used as plaster liniment. We start with a six-inch cutting, then make it flat, add a little oil, then heat it. When it warms to a tolerable temperature, put on the painful area to relieve the pain.

Moringa seeds can be used as water purifier. Just pound the seeds then place them in the water jug or jar.

2. How do you care for the moringa trees?
Just water the moringa tree during dry season. In rainy season, elevate the soil around the trees. Moringa will die if water sits for long around its roots. Pruning is also helpful to sprout more branches.

3. If the leaves are used for food, how do you prepare moringa? How do you eat it?
We thresh the leaves from its stem. It can be incorporated almost in all viands — soups, noodles, sweets, snacks, burgers and juice. It is prepared just like an ordinary cabbage or spinach.

4. Can you harvest the tree at any time of the year or only certain seasons?
Moringa can be harvested at any time of the year when there are enough leaves. For a large tree, we can harvest twice weekly.

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