Category Archives: Philippines

Dec 13 2012

‘A blessing in my life:’ Kasey’s sponsorship experience

By Kasey, who sponsors Amelia through CFCA

Amelia, left, and Kasey, right.

Amelia, left, and Kasey, right.

I heard about CFCA through an online search.

I knew I wanted to sponsor through a reputable program, and after extensive research and finding that CFCA’s values lined up with my own beliefs, I knew I had found the right place.

I searched the profiles and determined that a woman named Fabiana needed my help most.

Her story resonated with me. For $30 a month, I could help this elderly widow off of her straw bed on the ground and change her whole life.

When I got her first letter, I cried. I read it over and over and then wrote back saying that, although she thought I was a blessing to her life, she was also a blessing in mine.

The gratitude I felt through her handwritten words spoke to my heart.

I carried them close until about a year later when she passed away. I mourned her passing but rejoiced in knowing that I brought her great comfort in that past year.

CFCA then found me Amelia, and although from a different continent and telling a different tale, I was written into her story. Read more

Nov 26 2012

‘Rise and Dream’ family movie night: One sponsor’s experience

Rise and Dream movie night with Newpower family

CFCA sponsor Christine Newpower with her son, Paul, 13, and her daughters, Sarah, 9, and Grace, 7. Along with the film DVD and a music CD, the “Rise and Dream” movie night kit contains a planning guide, invitations and other materials to help make your movie night a fun and successful experience.

Great learning opportunities can sometimes occur right in your living room!

Christine Newpower, a sponsor from California, read about the special “Rise and Dream” movie night kit offer extended to CFCA sponsors and volunteers in one of our newsletters.

Christine, who grew up abroad and remembers her Southeast Asian roots, saw the film as an opportunity to teach her children about global poverty.

“We wanted our children to understand how blessed they are in comparison to children growing up in poverty overseas,” she said. “We also wanted to provide that extra connection, knowing that a large part of our extended family still lives there.”

Christine ordered and received a “Rise and Dream” DVD and movie night kit in July and organized a family movie night for her husband and their three children.

“After dinner, we set up our family room with sodas, popcorn, pretzels and chips,” Christine said. “We turned off the lights and drew the blinds for the full theater experience.”

In more ways than one, the film’s setting hit home for the Newpowers. The family sponsors Jasmine, a 9-year-old in the Philippines. Christine’s children have expressed interest in meeting Jasmine someday on a CFCA trip. Read more

Nov 16 2012

Philippines: Natural wonders, challenges abound

Join us as we celebrate Geography Awareness Week with National Geographic and friends. This year’s theme is “Geography: Declare Your Interdependence.”

QUESTION: Approximately 8,600 CFCA sponsored friends live near this active volcano in the Bicol region of the Philippines. What is the name of this beautiful, symmetrical mountain?

ANSWER: Mayon Volcano

Mayon Volcano in the Philippines

Mayon Volcano in the Philippines.

The Mayon Volcano is the most active volcano in the Philippines.

It is located about 8 miles from Legazpi City. This distinctive landmark is the symbol of the province and region. It is surrounded by verdant rice paddies and fields.

Rey, CFCA sponsored child in the PhilippinesRey, 12, and his family have a clear view of Mayon from their home. Rey, who has been sponsored through CFCAís Hope for a Family program since he was 8 years old, rides a bike to school each day and dreams of becoming a doctor.

CFCA’s Hope for a Family sponsorship program serves more than 43,000 children, youth and aging members through five project locations in the Philippines, which are Antipolo, Legazpi, Manila, Quezon City and Zamboanga.

Families in the sponsorship program face challenges such as natural disasters and high unemployment. Flooding, landslides and tsunamis triggered by typhoons are common, as are earthquakes and active volcanoes like Mayon.

Through sponsorship, families receive access to education, nutrition assistance, dental and health care, and more.

Watch Rey share his story in the video below:

Learn more about Geography Awareness Week here.

Nov 9 2012

‘Rise and Dream': A night of insight and gratitude

Steve Taylor, CFCA sponsor, recently hosted a “Rise and Dream” movie night with others at his parish, St. Jerome Catholic Church, in Virginia.

There was an amazing turnout for the event, and Steve shared his reflection on the evening with us.

Thank you, Steve and St. Jerome parish, for your “Rise and Dream” movie night!

St. Jerome Catholic Church, Newport News, Va., hosted a successful showing of CFCA’s documentary film, “Rise and Dream” to a crowd of approximately 180 parishioners.

The evening’s success was the result of numerous factors centered on St. Jerome’s connection to the Philippines, including Father Henry Diesta, a large spirit-filled Filipino community, a significant number of CFCA sponsored friends in the Philippines and the “Rise and Dream” movie, which was filmed in the Philippines.

The local Filipino community, led by Medy Gameng, supported the evening through delicious Filipino dishes, a folk-dance demonstration by four parish children (video below) and a heartfelt thank you to the parish and the individual sponsors of Filipino children and aging.

CFCA sponsors Gabe Franco and Lisa Garner provided insight into their sponsored friends and the importance of their sponsoring experience. They both requested that attendees consider sponsoring a child or aging person through CFCA.

Although the movie takes place in the Philippines, it represents the 22 countries in which CFCA operates. In all these countries, the children’s needs and conditions are similar and so is their spirit and effort to succeed in school, to help themselves and their families financially.

Steve Taylor, Va.

Sep 20 2012

Good news around the CFCA world

Just a few of the awesome ways that sponsored children, aging friends and their families are serving as agents of change in their local communities!

1) Sponsored seminarians in Philippines ordained to Sacred Order of Deacons

CFCA sponsored seminarians in the Philippines

Seminarians in the Philippines

Malou Navio, our project coordinator in Antipolo, Philippines, told us that six sponsored seminarians were recently ordained to the Sacred Order of Deacons, a perpetual vow to religious life made before the vow to priesthood.

“They are very grateful for the thoughtfulness of the sponsorship that constantly supports part of their needs while studying at the seminary,” Malou said.

Several CFCA staffers and fathers of sponsored children came to watch three of these seminarians take their vows at the St. Gregory Cathedral in Legazpi.

CFCA co-founder Bud Hentzen created the CFCA vocations program, which sponsors candidates studying to be priests and religious sisters, in 1996. Read more

Sep 14 2012

What it means to sponsor an aging friend

CFCA is the only major U.S.-based sponsorship organization to sponsor the elderly.

Michelle Dawson, CFCA-Kansas staff.

Michelle Dawson, CFCA-Kansas staff.

Through our Hope for a Family sponsorship program, aging friends receive benefits that focus on providing better nutrition, access to health care, adequate housing and social activities.

Some sponsored aging friends also participate in skills training or income-generating workshops. Most importantly, they are welcomed into a caring community and feel less alone.

For some sponsored aging friends, CFCA meetings and events may be the only human socialization time they experience all week, or sometimes, all month.

Michelle Dawson works in sponsorship operations at our office in Kansas City. Michelle sponsors five aging friends in the Hope for a Family program. She shares with us some of the reasons why she decided to sponsor an aging friend and why she loves it.

How did you decide between sponsoring a child or an aging person?

I heard a priest speak at my parish many years ago, but instead of sponsoring that day, I took a brochure home with me and called CFCA not too long after that.
Read more

Jun 12 2012

‘Rise and Dream’ CFCA scholar graduates in the Philippines

Xarina, CFCA scholar, graduates in the Philippines

Xarina, CFCA scholar and one of the teens featured in the CFCA documentary film, ‘Rise and Dream,’ graduates from nursing school in the Philippines.

In this season of graduations and young adults entering a new chapter of their lives, we have a very special graduation story to share with you!

Xarina, one of the CFCA scholars featured in our “Rise and Dream” documentary film, graduated this May with a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

“When I received my diploma, I was very happy,” Xarina said.

Xarina learned to play the kulintangan and other traditional Filipino instruments as part of her training for the concert in Zamboanga.

The “Rise and Dream” film follows the story of 13 teens living in poverty in the Philippines, who embark on a journey to discover their heritage and perform in a once-in-a-lifetime concert for their community.

We touched base briefly with Xarina in August 2010, when she answered a few of our questions for her about nursing school and the challenges she had faced there.

“As I am getting close to finishing this course, I encountered lots of challenges and greater responsibility in taking care of others is required,” she had said. “I’m still scared if I can cope with the demands of this course but, one thing I’m very sure Ö I will really become a NURSE.”

Her story, as well as the stories of 12 other teenagers, is featured in the “Rise and Dream” film.

(Note: If you live in the Kansas City area, we’d love for you to attend our screening of “Rise and Dream” at 3 p.m. Saturday, June 30, at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Tickets are available here. The 7 p.m. screening has sold out of tickets!)

Sep 29 2011

Mothers in the Philippines find success in massage therapy

By Emily Soetaert, CFCA writer and graphic designer

Mothers of CFCA sponsored children in the Philippines give sponsored elderly friends massage therapy

Mothers of sponsored children in the Philippines give massage therapy to sponsored elderly friends.

The saying “scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” comes to mind as many mothers of CFCA sponsored children and youth in the Philippines have found a new way to earn income.

In a CFCA community in the Legazpi project, mothers train to learn massage therapy, and in turn provide their services to sponsored elderly friends.

Staff members and individuals belonging to a CFCA livelihood group suggested the idea of giving massage therapy to the elderly to apply the knowledge they learned from the training.

The program has accompanied success for these mothers around the area.

“I get a lot of demand for massage therapy, especially in our community,” said Aster, mother of Rose Ann, a CFCA sponsored child. “And through word of mouth, I became known to many people not only in our place, but also in neighboring places.”

Aster, mother of CFCA sponsored child Rose Ann, gives a massage to sponsored aging friend Eufersina.

Aster, mother of sponsored child Rose Ann, gives a head massage to Eufersina, who is also sponsored.

Sessions occur at least once a month and have already served 50 sponsored elderly. The training helps provide more income to many mothers of sponsored children.

“The money I get from my customer is of big help because it is one of my sources in my children’s allowances and projects in school. I also have a chance to give my children delicious foods,” Aster said.

In addition to training, CFCA also helps the mothers make herbal massage oil used in therapy sessions.

Some of the mothers’ first customers post-training were the children, but as they continue in practice, the sponsored elderly have seen positive results.

One sponsored elderly, Ignacia, acknowledges the notable differences the massages have made in her life.

“When I experienced massage therapy from the trained mothers, my pains were lessened and I’m now able to perform the daily functions at home much easier,” she said.

Jul 27 2011

Organic vegetable gardening takes root in CFCA Filipino community

Chinese cabbage grows in a CFCA organic gardening initiative in the Philippines

Chinese cabbage grows in bamboo strips in a CFCA organic gardening initiative in the Philippines.

Rapid urbanization has brought many problems, including garbage, malnutrition, poverty and food insecurity.

CFCA helps secure food for sponsored friends and their families while encouraging them to develop creative, sustainable solutions.

Mavic Ihap, Quezon project coordinator in the Philippines, describes how parents of sponsored children are cultivating vegetable gardens in a Caloocan City neighborhood.

As the CFCA project encourages families to act on their own development, our parents of sponsored children initiated a food security project, believing that cultivating their own crops is a better way of securing food for their families.

One of the identified issues in their community is rapid urbanization.

In the city people can seldom obtain fresh vegetables because most of it comes from distant provinces, which contributes to its high cost.

CFCA organic gardening in the Philippines

Parents of CFCA sponsored children in their communal garden.

Through their regular small-group meetings, parents eventually came up with the idea of vegetable gardening.

They coordinated with the city’s agriculture unit for free seedlings when they started the project in January 2011.

Beyond saving time and money, they can now provide their families a delicious and nutritious menu from the fresh vegetables just outside their doorsteps.

For households with no space to plant, they used bamboo strips, plastic containers, tin cans, old pots and rice sacks.

The gardens are a way of advocating environmental awareness within the community. They help “green” the city and reduce air pollution.

It can also reduce garbage as they recycle non-biodegradable containers, kitchen scraps and anything that decays, which can serve as organic fertilizer.

A mother of a CFCA sponsored child picks cauliflower in a vegetable gardening initiative in the Philippines

Jenny, mother of CFCA sponsored children Shailyn and Shaira, harvests cauliflower.

Aside from household vegetable gardens, the project also includes communal gardening.

Extra produce from the communal vegetable garden is sold around the neighborhood, helping replenish the group’s fund.

This is a result of the project’s continuous community empowerment as we journey toward realizing the Hope for a Family program values.

This initiative formed as a result of CFCA PamBuhay groups, where parents of sponsored children work together to identify and resolve important issues in their communities. You can learn more about PamBuhays in this story.

Nov 11 2010

Gift of hearing aid “changes everything” for sponsored youth

By Regina, a sponsored youth in Legazpi, Philippines

I have always been a simple and quiet girl. I usually sat right in front of my teacher during class discussions, not because I am a ìstarî pupil but because I am different.

I conversed with others believing that it was a calm, low voice I hear but in reality they are shouting at me, for me to hear and understand them. … Itís because I have a hearing problem.

At the age of 7, it was not a question of finding a solution to my hearing problem. My family, friends and teachers showed enough sympathy and support, except for those who would choose to make my day miserable rather than study lessons.

Regina

Regina

They would play and laugh with me and then publicly show to me their whispering sessions, emphasizing that it was impossible for me to hear them.

I would usually go to one corner, where only very few pass by, sit with my knees drawn up close to my body and my face tucked between my drawn knees and chest, and cry my heart out at the cruelty of others.

I would usually give myself a minute or two to compose myself, a big pat on the back to boost my depleted morale and then go back to my assigned seat in class and forget as best as I could what had just happened.

In high school, I remained the ìdifferent one.î People conversed with me like normal but sometimes, I saw their silent laughs and pitying looks when they turned their backs from me. Well, I was used to it. It was like an ordinary thing for me.

I was in high school when I became a CFCA beneficiary. My sponsors are Mr. Rich and Sarah Deien. From the start this generous couple had never failed to support me. I have received so many beneficial things that I will be forever thankful.

They wrote letters to me and I wrote back. With this, they donít have to shout for me to hear. I easily understood what they wanted to tell me. It felt so normal.

Until I graduated from high school,
Read more