Category Archives: Environment

Mar 15 2013

Helping families achieve self-sufficiency, part 2: Antipolo, Philippines

By Kristin Littrell, CFCA correspondent

 water hyacinth products

Beng in her storefront selling her water hyacinth products.

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. Read more

Mar 13 2013

Wishing for a well: Community gets clean water source

By Jordan Kimbrell, CFCA Sponsor Services

Oliver's village
A rural village, west of Antsirabe, Madagascar, is home to a small farming community.

Farming is one of the main sources of income in the Antsirabe region, and the members of this community rely on it.

families in Madagascar

In 2011, Dolores Reed from Paducah, Ky., who sponsors Olivier in this region of Madagascar, learned from an article that many people in the country don’t have easy access to clean water for drinking, cooking or watering the crops in seasons when rainfall is scarce.

She learned through CFCA that Olivier’s village lacked ready access to clean water. The community where he lives relied on streams, which also served as drinking water for the livestock.

“They didn’t have [good access to] water,” Dolores said. “We take water for granted.” Read more

Mar 7 2013

Recycling plastic bottles to make furniture in Guatemala

At first glance, this may look like an ordinary loveseat in a Unbound office in Guatemala:

recycled sofa

But as is so often the case in Unbound, great stories abound where you least expect them. Peel back the cover and you get this:

recycled sofa

That’s right, a loveseat made from recycled plastic bottles ó a true labor of love from Unbound scholars in Guatemala!

We’ve blogged before about how CFCA scholars perform community service as part of their scholarship requirements. Unbound scholars in Guatemala perform 30 to 40 hours of community service each month.

One enterprising group of students decided to make these eco-friendly furniture pieces as their community service contribution:

recycled furniture

“The scholars who made this furniture show us that recycling can be a lot more interesting than stuffing paper, cans, cardboard and bottles into the proper containers,” said Luis Cocon, Unbound communications liaison for Guatemala.

“A couch made from recycled plastic bottles may not be something we are used to, but I was pleasantly surprised with the comfort I experienced while taking a seat in one of them.”

What are some ways in which you find new ways to renovate used or recyclable items?

Feb 15 2013

A day in the life: Preparing spring onions in Guatemala

By Judy-Anne Goldman, CFCA multimedia manager/producer

Juana, the mother of two CFCA sponsored children, cleans scallions, also known as spring onions, for 8 hours a day, three days a week in a small town in Guatemala.

Preparing spring onions with CFCA in Guatemala

Does she get tired of onions after all that time? “No!” Juana said. Her appreciation only grows. “Our onions are good. People in other towns and countries come to buy them. You should try them grilled,” she suggested. “It will make your mouth water!”

Women in Guatemala prepare spring onions

From left: Lucia, Zoila, Ramos and Juana start their work day at 8 a.m. and finish at 5 p.m., peeling spring onions that are a delicious part of local meals. Lucia and Juana are mothers of CFCA sponsored children, Zoila is sponsored through CFCA, and Ramos is a former sponsored child. Read more

Feb 8 2013

Sponsorship = ‘A blessing from God’ for CFCA sponsored youth

A recent CFCA awareness trip to Guatemala provided this precious opportunity for sponsors to hear from Mariana, an 18-year-old CFCA scholar who was sponsored as a child in 2000. Mariana

For me it was a great blessing to have been sponsored, because in my family we are 11 siblings. For my parents it has been a little bit hard to help every one of us move forward, and much more now that my dad is suffering from health problems, just like my mother.

My sister Selva has already graduated thanks to God and CFCA’s support. Seven of my siblings have already graduated, and only four remain to finish.

It has been a very nice experience to be in CFCA, because besides giving us food, shoes and clothing every month, we have had many activities.

I really liked the CFCA Christmas celebrations. The activities that take place are very nice, and I really like to participate in them.

The CFCA social workers who have helped me for the past 12 years have been very kind, as well as the entire CFCA staff; they have a unique way of caring for the people. Read more

Feb 6 2013

Indigenous group obtains recognition of ancestral lands


Chieftain Rogelio plays a tune for his grandson, Erick, right-center, and two other children, Myrna, left, and Joshua, far right.

Deep in the lush mountains of the northern Philippines, an indigenous tribe lives respectfully with nature.

Meet the Dumagats.

The Dumagat indigenous community has lived in the mountains and lowlands of the Philippines for a thousand years.

They have slowly been pushed out of their home by logging, overfishing and encroaching landowners.

They could do nothing to address these problems because they never officially held a title to their lands.

And without guidance and assistance, they were hesitant to begin the painstaking documentation needed to obtain a title.

Until they partnered with CFCA.

Read the amazing story of the Dumagat indigenous community and how they worked with local CFCA staffers to gain the recognition of their ancestral domain.

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

Jan 29 2013

Mother makes environmentally friendly charcoal in 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

Jan 24 2013

Sponsored child crafts ‘clean and green’ turtles from recycled paper

CFCA sponsored child makes recycled paper turtles

Andres in Colombia holds one of the turtles he crafts out of recycled materials.

My name is Andres, and I have been sponsored for six years through CFCA in Colombia.

My father works as a bricklayer and my mother is a housekeeper. My father works by seasons, and sometimes we do not have any income to sustain our family.

One day I had a great idea. I went with my mother to the CFCA office where she met with her mothers group. I like to go and help her during the meetings. At the meeting, I met a mother who knows how to make crafts. She was making many things with plastic, and I was very curious about it. Read more of Andres’ story

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