Staff members in Kansas City recently had the opportunity to sit down with 26-year-old Paul, a former sponsored child from Hyderabad, India.
Paul was in Kansas City for his job, and wanted to see CFCA’s headquarters and share his experiences as a sponsored child.
Paul was an only child from a very poor family.
They lived in a house made with mud walls, and it did not have running water, electricity or a bathroom.
Before joining the program, Paul attended a small school that provided poor education. His family also struggled to meet their most basic needs.
“My father was a daily laborer,” Paul said. “Sometimes we were not able to have food daily. I know that my parents were sacrificing, but they never expressed it to me. I could still understand that they were sacrificing their food and everything for my education.”
When Paul was 9 years old, the family was introduced to CFCA through their parish priest.
At the time, there were approximately 80 children participating in the sponsorship program in their village.
Since that time, the number has doubled.
Paul shared that after joining the sponsorship program he was able to enroll in a better school.
The burden of paying school fees was lifted from his parents as the sponsorship benefits covered the cost of his schooling.
Their overall living conditions also improved, and Paul and his parents had better access to resources for their daily necessities, such as food and clothing.
As Paul grew up, he helped the younger children in the sponsorship program write their letters. He also worked for a time at CFCA’s office in Hyderabad, filing paperwork and helping out with translations.
He said these were some of his happiest experiences in the program.
“[At] CFCA, we used to celebrate our birthdays and Christmases together. [We] felt like one family,” he said.
The support Paul received from the CFCA community was only part of what helped him improve his situation.
He said that the strong support of his parents and the encouragement he received from his sponsor are what kept him in school when so many others gave up.
Not only did Paul complete his high school education, but he went on to finish a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree before retiring from the program in 2011.
His hard work and the access to better education he gained through the CFCA program gave him the skills he needed to succeed.
“I always wanted to be an engineer,” Paul said. “Now I’m working as a software engineer. … I think I would still be in my same village, doing some work, maybe as a daily laborer. I don’t think I would be here without CFCA.
“My basic goal was to give my family a better life, and I can do that now. I want to give my parents a good life ahead. … Education is a gift you can give that helps people grow in life.”