By Sreekanth Gundoji, CFCA communications liaison in India
People in south central India spent today marking a new beginning as we celebrated the festival of Ugadi. Ugadi is a new year for the Telugu people.
Telugu is the local language in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Children, families and aging friends in CFCA’s Hyderabad project speak Telugu.
The name of this new year is Vijaya, which means success. Our new calendar will start from this day onward.
We prepare a special dish to start the new year. It’s called ugadi pachhadi (pachhadi means pickle).
Ugadi pachhadi has a traditional value. It’s a mixture of six varieties of tastes symbolizing six feelings, good and bad, that everyone experiences in life.
In the spirit of the Telugu new year, we’d like to offer this ugadi pachhadi recipe. Note the special meaning of each ingredient.
- 1 cup of sugar, signifying happiness (the traditional sugar used is jaggery, made from sugar cane, date palms or coconut)
- 3 cups of tamarind juice, signifying disgust because of the sour taste
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of neem flower petals, signifying sadness
- 1/4 tablespoon of salt, signifying fear
- 1/2 tablespoon of pepper, signifying anger
- 3 tablespoons of unripe, green mango pieces, signifying surprise
1. Mix all the above listed items in a bowl. (This signifies that everyone has to accept all life experiences equally.)
2. Serve in cups.
Happy Ugadi, Telugu new year!
We recently heard from our Hyderabad project in India about several mothers of sponsored children who are exemplifying the potential of families living in poverty. Here’s the story of Sujatha, enjoy!
My husband used to work as a daily laborer for a contractor. He would sell bananas on the side of the road from morning until late in the evening. The contractor would only pay $2.77 USD per day.
We were never assured of a regular income. If my husband fell ill or if the contractor didn’t have fruits to sell, we lost our income for that day.
My husband and I decided together to purchase a puller cart (a large, flat cart with handles used to sell items), so we could sell bananas on our own.
My daughter, Shoba, is sponsored through CFCA. In January, I obtained a loan through my CFCA mothers group and bought a puller cart. Luckily, a store owner allowed us to place our cart in front of his shop on the main road.
My husband goes to purchase the fruits, and I manage the stand until he returns. When he arrives with the new fruits, he continues the work and I go home to manage the household work.
The group loan helped us to purchase the puller cart and the fruits we sell. Now we are receiving a good income to support our family. We are planning to take out another loan through my mothers group, so we can purchase a second puller cart and sell a wider variety of fruits.
My dream is to own our own home and also give a better future to my two daughters.
I am also interested in helping people. I learned this charity from my daughter’s sponsors.
We recently heard from our Hyderabad project in India about several mothers of sponsored children who are exemplifying the potential of families living in poverty. Here’s the story of Meena, enjoy!
Ours is a large family. We have a total of 12 people staying under one roof.
I am the eldest daughter-in-law of the family. My husband and his two brothers run a food delivery service on the side of a busy street. The other ladies of the household and I support them by preparing chutneys, curries, mixing the flour for dosa (a type of crepe or flat pancake) and also by washing dishes.
My husband’s family has been in this business since before we were married. My son, Shiva, is sponsored through CFCA.
When I got the opportunity to take a loan from my CFCA mothers group for the first time, I purchased a grinder.
Before this, we used to mix the dough and grind it manually in a stone grinder.
Now with the help of an electric grinder, our work is much easier. Read more
By Annie Vangsnes, CFCA correspondent
Kumbh Mela in India is the largest spiritual gathering on Earth.
The celebration comes to Allahabad, home to 617 children and families in the CFCA program, every 12 years.
It is a time for Hindu pilgrims across the country and world to gather to take a dip where the Ganges and Yamuna rivers meet. Bathing in the waters during the festival is believed to bring Hindus holiness and salvation.
An estimated 100 million people are expected to bathe in the waters during this Kumbh Mela.
For sponsored children and their families taking part, the celebration takes much planning and preparation.
Although the festival lasts almost two months, Suman, the mother of sponsored youth Vibhor, said she prepares to have guests for the six main auspicious days. Read more
CFCA strives to help families achieve economic self-sufficiency. The Hope for a Family program aims to partner with families so that over time they may rely less on benefits from CFCA and more on their own income-generation activities to meet their basic needs.
We recently heard from our Hyderabad project in India about several mothers of sponsored children who are exemplifying the potential of families living in poverty. Here’s the story of Prakash and her sister Jesintha ó enjoy!
In 2010, my sister, Jesintha, and I started a food stand called Curry Point.
We prepare food items like dal, sambar, potato fry, brinjal curry, tomato pickle and chapattis (Indian bread) and other foods. We sell our meals at reasonable rates, so it is affordable for many.
I am Prakash. My sister and I are part of a mothers group in Hyderabad, India. She has a son sponsored through CFCA, and my son is sponsored as well.
My sister and I both took out a loan from each of our mothers groups to start this curry business. Read more
The voice of powerless women in India has been heard.
It’s tragic that it took the rape, torture and agonizing death of a promising young physiology student to bring that voice to the world.
“I am heartbroken about the news of this young woman,” said Paul Pearce, CFCA director of global strategy. “She was heroic to hold her head up high and go to school. I hear she had big dreams of building a hospital back in her village.”
CFCA has more than 35,000 sponsored children and aging friends in India. We also support a home for boys from the streets in Delhi, the city where the young woman was attacked.
Our staff and families understand how the simple act of boarding a bus can become a deadly decision; women and the poor are vulnerable and become targets just by reaching for their dreams.
“The heroic journey on the path out of poverty can be a daunting and even lonely task,” Pearce said. “Many in the communities where we work live in a state of isolation.”
We are learning that most of the five young men, who are charged with luring the 23-year-old woman and her friend onto a bus with the promise of a ride, came from a slum neighborhood. They have no jobs, and are unable to hire an attorney to represent them.
CFCA works in India and 21 other countries to end this violent cycle with a model that focuses on the individual and his or her needs while building safe and responsible communities. Read more
We recently heard from our Hyderabad project in India about several mothers of sponsored children who are exemplifying the potential of families living in poverty. Here’s the story of Sathya – enjoy!
My family and I live in a remote village in India.
My husband used to be a contract worker; the income he earned was not enough to support our family.
I had an opportunity to take out a loan through my mothers group.
I talked with my husband, and we both shared the idea of opening a store in our village.
He supported my idea and agreed to purchase the required materials for the store.
First, I opened the store in our home.
I soon repaid the first loan, and I took out another loan to purchase a kiosk made with wood.
After that was repaid, I asked for a third loan to buy a refrigerator to keep a few cool drinks in the store.
After a few years, my husband left his job and is helping me run the business. Read more
Each CFCA sponsored friend and family has a story to tell.
For the families of the Santal tribes living in remote areas of India between Nepal and Bangladesh, the story is especially compelling.
As CFCA’s communications liaison in India, I have the honor to tell their story.
The Santals depend on nature for their survival. Agriculture is their way of life.
As their villages are spread across four Indian states and are miles away from towns, they create their own communities with whatever resources are available. They build houses with mud and clay supported by bamboo sticks and cover the roof with grass, straw and tiles made of mud.
The Santals are wrongly considered “behind the times” by many in India, and their way of life may seem rugged to you and me.
But the Santal people can teach all of us important lessons. They take nothing for granted, and they have a lot to share about using scarce resources in the most sustainable ways.
Their culture and religious observances are colorful, dynamic and unique. To the Santals, dancing is essential to life. Read more
Regeena is a 67-year-old widow in India, living in a home for the elderly. She has three grown children and seven grandchildren. When Regeena was younger, she worked in a mill. Regeena lost a foot in an accident at the mill and now has a prosthetic foot.
Regeena has been sponsored since 2007 and enjoys being part of CFCA. “I like visiting [with the CFCA staff members] and making them happy,” she said.
What is your secret for a long life?
I used to work in a mill. That was very good exercise for me. I lost my leg while working and now I use a prosthetic foot.
What advice do you have for young people?
My advice for young people is that they should study well, obey their elders and take care of their grandparents.
What is the most important thing your mother taught you?
My mother taught me to be clean and to work nicely. She always taught me to pray to God.
Tell us something special about yourself. Read Regeena’s answer