Editor’s note: Some of the names of people mentioned in this blog post have been changed to ensure their privacy and protection.
Our goal at CFCA is to help families build a path out of poverty. And we mean it. So we frequently seek to grow and improve our programs.
We want to know if what we’re doing is successful. It matters to us, to the families we serve and to the people who trust us with their support.
We hear encouraging stories of how the Hope for a Family program is changing families’ lives. We thought you might want to hear those stories, too.
Over the next few weeks we’ll share some of our goals with you, along with stories that exemplify how they’re being met in the field.
We hope it encourages you, as it does us, to see hope growing in families.
GOAL: We want families to become self-sustaining, relying on their own income-generating activities to feed their families and plan for the future.
CFCA works with families in Heredia, Costa Rica, a rapidly industrializing community about six miles north of San Jose.
The reality for families living in Heredia is harsh. They live in slums and struggle with social problems. Many live in river basins or dangerous areas threatened by landslides.
In a rough area such as this, hope can be just out of arm’s reach. But the CFCA mothers groups, support and income-generating groups for mothers of sponsored children, give these mothers an extra boost.
Marcela and Nora are two mothers of CFCA sponsored children in Heredia who taught 15 other mothers to sew.
These mothers in turn taught members of their CFCA mothers groups.
Now all 180 women in the CFCA Heredia mothers groups can sew. They sew uniform shirts and rain capes for schoolchildren and work from home.
Maribel is a single mother raising two children with no financial support outside of CFCA sponsorship.
Her economic situation was very difficult. She did not know how to sew before joining the mothers group, but today she is able to provide more for her family.
“I feel very motivated,” Maribel said. “The money I get (from sewing clothes) is an income for my children and me. This is really a great blessing.”
GOAL: We want families to feel the benefits of community: encouraging one another, supporting one another and working together to better themselves, their families and their neighborhoods.
Mothers groups in India act as a support system for mothers of children sponsored through CFCA.
These groups provide encouragement for mothers, as well as job skills training and small business loans.
At times, these groups also support mothers facing domestic violence, something that is sadly common in areas where CFCA works.
In India alone, 45 percent of men acknowledge physically abusing their wives.
Latha (not her real name) is a widowed mother of a sponsored child in Hyderabad, India.
After facing many challenging family circumstances, including abuse, Latha attempted to start a small ironing business. But because she could not afford a quality iron, her business suffered.
Around this time, Latha’s daughter, Shanti (not her real name) was sponsored through CFCA.
Through sponsorship, Latha began attending mothers group meetings, where she found encouragement and support in the midst of the abusive situations she had endured.
After several meetings, Latha took a loan from the group to buy a good iron.
Business improved and she now makes additional income to help meet the family’s needs.
Shanti, now 14, has been sponsored for eight years. With the steadfast help of her mother and a CFCA scholarship, Shanti has flourished in school.
Latha worked to ensure that her daughter did not end up in the same situation she experienced.
“Her dream is to become a doctor,” Latha said, and with CFCA’s support “my child will definitely become a doctor.”
Though once held back because she was a widowed mother living in an abusive situation, Latha fought against tremendous odds and overcame her previous circumstances.
“CFCA has given me a new life to live with dignity,” she said. “It has not only helped me financially, but it has given me confidence and new hope for a better future.”