By Elizabeth Alex, CFCA community outreach and media relations director
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
Sathya opened her own store with help from a CFCA mothers group loan.
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
By Sreekanth Gundoji, CFCA communications liaison for India
Sreekanth, out on location, wearing a traditional hat of the Santal tribe.
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