By Kristin Littrell, CFCA correspondent
CFCA is not a one-size-fits-all organization. We rely on our field staffs to know the families in each community, to listen to their needs and hopes, and to provide a program that empowers them to build a path out of poverty.
In the second post in this three-part blog series, we give you a window into several CFCA communities, to gauge the success of the Hope for a Family sponsorship program.
Water still covers the path to the home of Kuya and Beng, parents of a sponsored child in the Philippines. The area has yet to dry out from monsoon rains that recently hit their community.
Kuya and Beng live with their family in a small home, made of bamboo and plywood, just 5 meters from the lake’s edge.
Like many in their small fishing village, they depend on the lake for their livelihood. Kuya owns a banca (a small fishing boat) and a fish cage.
But the fishing hasn’t been going so well lately.
Water hyacinth, a highly invasive aquatic plant, has hurt the local fishing business. The water hyacinth grows densely along the shore, making it difficult for fishing boats to navigate. The plant also prevents sunlight from entering the water, which reduces the food supply for the fish.
But often, when something seems bad, the hopeful among us are able to turn it around and find something good. And that’s exactly what Beng and other mothers in the community have done.
Several mothers of sponsored children learned to produce bags, envelopes and journal covers from the water hyacinth plant, turning the ever-present pest into a product for an income-generating business.
CFCA-Antipolo loaned Beng the start-up capital she needed to create her small family business.
Kuya and the couple’s eldest son, Ralph Joseph, harvest the stalks of water hyacinth and hang them to dry. They are paid for every dried stalk that meets or surpasses a set standard.
The income from this business has been a great benefit for the hard-working family.
However, they still work at several other jobs to make ends meet ó hauling heavy fish basins in the fishing port, fishing and sewing.
Beng and Kuya share the hyacinth business with the families of other CFCA sponsored friends in their neighborhood.
Beng employs youth who need help paying their school tuition. She also employs other mothers of sponsored children to help process the water hyacinth plants and sew the products.
She finds great joy in being able to help other families in her community.
Kuya, Beng and their entire family truly exemplify CFCA sponsorship at work: Families become self-sustaining and help other families in return.
More about the CFCA program in Antipolo, Philippines
Arlyn Jacela, a CFCA-Antipolo staff member, describes the Hope for a Family program in Antipolo.
The Antipolo project opens pathways for sponsored friends and their families to achieve their socioeconomic goals.
Sponsored friends and their families who are in need of capital, either to build up new or existing livelihood and microenterprises, are able to borrow from the program.
Those engaged in farming and fishing are able to acquire equipment, tools and gear. Families who are into trading, vending and manufacturing are able to take out a loan based on their capacity and willingness to repay the borrowed amount.
Sponsored friends and their families can also access loans for purposes such as education, health, housing and other needs.
Each family sets aside a fixed amount for savings each month, which is equally matched with a grant from CFCA.
Sponsored friends and their families also form kapitbahayans, small groups of neighboring families, where they can pool their individual savings. Through these kapitbahayans, families can loan each other money from the group savings account.
With these efforts, and many more, families in the CFCA-Antipolo project are recognizing their potential and building pathways out of poverty.