Tag: Africa

Sponsor a child
Sep 29 2014

“Disability is not inability”

Joseph teaches math to students in classes eight and nine.

Joseph teaches math to students in classes eight and nine.

Joseph, 22, is a sponsored student in Kenya. When he was 2, Joseph’s parents noticed that he wasn’t able to do some of the same things other children his age could. By the time he was 3, he was unable to walk or move around.

His parents took him to a local hospital, where he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that impairs movement and is caused by brain damage during development.

Joseph underwent surgery to help straighten his legs. He also received physical therapy and used crutches for some time. In all, he spent four years in the hospital being treated for his condition.

Joseph was finally able to join primary school at the age of 7. He was one of the best students in the class.

Joseph’s parents found it hard to get by with Joseph’s medical expenses, four children in school and no steady income. Unbound staff in their area learned of the family’s situation, and in 2002 Joseph was sponsored. The support he received from his sponsor meant his parents could continue paying for his education.

Joseph’s schooling, however,  was interrupted in fourth grade when he had to have another surgery.. He spent another year in the hospital, which meant he had to repeat fourth grade. Despite the difficulties, he continued to excel when he returned to school and even managed to score highly on the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education.

With his high scores, Joseph received a scholarship from the Jomo Kenyatta Foundation, which combined with his sponsorship benefits meant his parents could send him to a better secondary school.

The first secondary school Joseph attended wasn’t the best fit. His condition made it difficult for him to write, which made it hard to keep up with the other students. But it was the negative treatment he received from some of his classmates that was the biggest challenge.

Seeing his struggles, Joseph’s parents decided to transfer him to a school that specialized in teaching students with disabilities. Being among others who faced similar challenges boosted Joseph’s self-confidence.

Joseph, from Kenya

Joseph walks around his classroom full of students.

Joseph recently graduated secondary school with good grades, and plans to pursue a degree in business administration from Kenyatta University. While he waits to get into the university, Joseph puts his time to good use.

He volunteers at his old primary school teaching math and Kiswahili, and he helps out at the Unbound office near his home.

When giving advice to younger students, he keeps it simple. “Disability is not inability,” Joseph said. “Work hard and stay focused.”

Donations to Health help provide equipment and therapeutic devices to sponsored friends with disabilities, along with many other health related initiatives.

Unbound Awareness Trips
Apr 25 2013

World Malaria Day: How sponsorship is making a difference

CFCA sponsor Dave Herbison and sponsored child Moreen in Uganda

David Herbison meets with his sponsored friend Moreen in Uganda in this 2011 photo from the CFCA archives. Sponsorship benefits helped provide for treatment when Moreen had malaria.

Malaria affects the lives of CFCA sponsored friends around the world. Sponsorship can help provide medicine, mosquito nets and malaria prevention information in a supportive environment tailored to each family’s needs.

Read more

Jan 17 2013

Project coordinator in Uganda: ‘I am a true believer of change’

Teddy Naluwu, Kampala project coordinator in Uganda and former CFCA sponsored child.

Teddy Naluwu, Kampala project coordinator in Uganda and former CFCA sponsored child.

I hope to transform others’ lives through my work with CFCA.

My name is Teddy Naluwu, and I am 31 years old. I have been a part of the CFCA family for more than 20 years, first as a sponsored child and later as an employee.

I have been working for CFCA for the past seven years, and I currently serve as Kampala project coordinator for Uganda, Africa.

Personally, I am a true believer of change. I have seen myself transform from a humble “country girl” to project coordinator of a sizeable project.

Because of CFCA sponsorship and the education I received, I am able to help break through the lines of poverty within my family.

The CFCA-Kampala project believes that we can make the world a better place through our collective efforts.

Engaging with the families in CFCA project activities is an important aspect of my work that shapes my attitude and performance, and boosts my self-worth. Read more

Feb 24 2011

Kenyan: ‘I wanted to prove society wrong by being self-reliant’

By Regina Mburu from the CFCA Communications Center in Nairobi

Javan, 19, had a difficult time growing up in a community where people with disabilities are often shunned and seen as a burden to their families.

Javan, who is deaf, was born first in a family of seven in Kenya. He was born and raised in Bondo, a county in the lakeside city of Kisumu.

Javan in Kenya

Javan uses a construction level tool during his classes.

Thanks to the CFCA Hope for a Family sponsorship program, Javan has transformed from a timid boy to a cheerful young man.

After Javan’s father died, his mother took care of him and his siblings. The proceeds she earned from selling food and through her secondhand clothes business helped provide her family with a meal and the opportunity to go to school.

ìMy mother did everything she could, but sometimes it was difficult for her to keep us in school due to lack of money to pay our school fees,î Javan said in sign language.

ìI often prayed and hoped that something good will come my way. I wanted to prove society wrong by being self-reliant,î he said.

His prayers were answered when another deaf friend introduced him to CFCA. Javan was then enrolled in the Hope for a Family program.

Through sponsorship, Javan attends the St. Joseph Technical Institute for the Deaf, where he studies building and construction. It will take him four years to complete the program.

Javan at school

Javan now attends the St. Joseph Technical Institute for the Deaf.

Javan chose the building and construction course because it is practical, and because he has a deaf friend who also did the course and is now doing well.

ìI am very happy that I am a step closer towards my goal,î he said.

It has not been smooth sailing, however. Javan sometimes has a hard time in class, especially when the teacher is not familiar with sign language.

It becomes hard for him to keep up with the rest of the students. His classmates assist him with notes, which he can study later.

Just like everyone else his age, Javan has dreams that he hopes will come true.

“I want to get a good job that will allow me to help my mother take care of my siblings. I would also love to have a family of my own someday,î he signed as he broke into a wide smile.

Dec 28 2010

Letter to CFCA sponsor: ‘Shoot for the moon … land among the stars’

Here is an edited letter that arrived from a Nigerian sponsored youth, Stephen, to his sponsor, Sarah.

“Dear Sarah,

Greetings to you. I pray and hope this letter gets to you in good health, a nice mood and above all, Sarah, a joyful and peaceful moment.

Stephen, from Nigeria

Stephen, 18, a CFCA sponsored youth in Nigeria.

How are you, my dearest friend, and how has life been for you?

Hope you’ve gotten a good job and how are your parents, siblings and everything in general. Are you still searching? I hope and pray you meet the right one someday. Let’s hope before the first quarter of next year runs out that you will be very much happy.

I am all right and in good health, together with my family. We have the Almighty to thank for it.

I am still waiting and hoping to be admitted into the university since getting into the university is very difficult and very much expensive, even after attaining the senior school certificate examination result.

However, the delay has not stopped me from making many findings about the world and getting more awareness of what I am required to possess if I really want to help God’s little children of the world.

I did some research on the Internet about UNICEF to see what it really takes to work with such organizations that care for the needs of children.

Of course, Sarah, you made me go this far. Remember “shoot for the moon and even if you miss, you will land among the stars?î

This has made me see no limitations to achieving whatever I desire in life, owing to the care you’re taken upon yourself concerning my well-being.

Once again, Sarah, you’ve been more than just a sponsor or even a pen pal. Just to let you know, you are on my list of my first five role models.

My dearest friend, hope you will love this; here are some things I found out we have in common:

  • Alphabets of names ‘S’: Sarah, Stephen
  • Second child of our families
  • Father’s name, David; my brother’s name, David
  • Our love for little children
  • Your knowledge about medical science, my desire to study pharmacy

Dear friend, I would like to know how you have been coping with challenges facing you.

Just want to say a very big thank you for all your love, caring and understanding toward my well-being.”

Says Sarah, “Being a sponsor to Stephen has been and continues to be such a treasured experience for me. I had the privilege of becoming a sponsor to Stephen several years ago. Being able to be a pen pal, friend, cheerleader, encourager and prayer support for Stephen, and watching him grow through the years into a grounded, caring, intelligent young man with heart for God and others, makes me feel like a proud parent! His thoughtful letters always bring light into my life, and I have such hope for the future of the world with individuals like Stephen reaching out to those around him. I am so excited about what CFCA is doing for these families, and I am humbled to play a small part in their mission!”

Dec 16 2010

CFCA sponsor to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro for charities

Diane Palmer

We wanted to pass on this amazing story from one of our sponsors, Diane Palmer from Wichita, Kan.

She is going to climb the highest mountain in Africa, Mt. Kilimanjaro (19,340 feet), starting Jan. 16, 2011!

Her goal is to raise $15,000 for five charities, including CFCA.

“I chose CFCA because I believe wholeheartedly in what CFCA is doing around the world to provide a ‘heads up’ rather than just a ‘hand out’ to thousands of children and aging people,” Diane writes.

“I also am a very frugal person and like to see that in charities that I donate to. †CFCA does a superb job in using the donations wisely to get the most benefit from every dollar that is contributed. †For CFCA to have an overhead of only 4 percent is applauded in this day of bureaucracies and government boondoggles.”

After climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, she will participate in CFCA’s mission awareness trip to Kenya from Feb. 19 to March 2.

She will get to meet her sponsored friend in Kenya during that time.

“My goal is to continue to sponsor a child or an aged person one at a time as my budget allows,” she writes. “I plan to do a mission awareness trip to Guatemala in 2011 or 2012 to visit the young man I sponsor there. †I can’t think of a better way to say I care about you than go see him in person!!!”

Schools can follow Diane’s adventures during her time in Kenya.†If you know of any students who would be interested in touring Africa virtually with Diane, including a safari in the Serengeti, please visit her blog at http://www.adventurediane.blogspot.com.

Godspeed, Diane, from all of us here at CFCA!

Sep 1 2010

Kenyans welcome new constitution

Peter Ndungo, Nairobi project coordinator, sends this report about Kenya’s establishment of a new national constitution. He explains the implications of this for CFCA families in Kenya.

“Kenya reborn … Our day of pride … Itís a fresh start … The dream of a new Kenyaî … These are some of the headlines from one of our mainstream newspapers.

Alice, from Kenya


Kenya became independent on Dec. 12, 1963, with a constitution negotiated in London with heavy input by the departing colonizers.

After many years in pursuit of a truly representative and democratic constitution, Kenyans finally ushered in the new constitution at a ceremony at Uhuru Park, Nairobi, on Aug. 27, 2010.

Kenyans have high expectations for the new constitution. Some CFCA sponsored members and their families shared their reactions.

Alice, a sponsored aging member, said she voted ìyesî for the constitution. She says that it will give rise to a new Kenya free from colonial restrictions.

Rachel, from Kenya


Alice also says she is ìhappy to have lived to see the day that Kenya would have a new constitution.î

Rachel, mother to sponsored child Monica, says that she voted for the constitution because it eliminates tribalism that has often caused people to rise against one another. Rachel says, ìIf my daughter decides to marry in another country, she will not have to give up her identity as a Kenyan. Dual citizenship is now allowed. As a woman, I feel protected by this constitution; I have a right to property.î

Truphosa, mother to sponsored child Kelvin, says she is ìvery excited since the new constitution promises free quality primary education. …

Truphosa, from Kenya


This will benefit many Kenyans as through the years the cost of education has risen steadily, and very few people can afford to pay fees for their children.î

The constitution creates an enabling environment for all Kenyans to live up to their potential in an atmosphere of freedom, liberty, human dignity and equal rights. CFCA in Kenya welcomes with open hands the new constitution, and we look forward with a lot of expectation to the hard part ó the implementation phase.

We want to join other Kenyans in building our nation and giving hope to our sponsored members and their families. We are happy to participate in building a happy and prosperous democratic Kenya.

May 18 2010

Youth program reaches out to students

Interview with Johnson, a 22-year-old sponsored youth from the Nairobi project in Kenya, with an introduction by Peter Ndungo, Nairobi project coordinator.

In the present day, youth can fall prey to negative social and cultural factors. Fear, misinformation, indecisiveness and peer pressure continue to be hurdles that the youth face. Besides academics, the youth need an opportunity to engage in extra curriculum activities, youth exchange programs and forums, this helps them grow socially.

There was a call to initiate a program that would address their social and emotional needs, aside from the academic needs that the project meets with the assistance of sponsors. The youth program was the ideal way to reach out to the youth, to give them support and encouragement in their lives.

JohnsonQ. How long have you been sponsored?
I have been in the program since 2003, almost 10 years now.

Q. Please describe your family situation.
My father lost his job a few years back, forcing him, my mother and two siblings to go back to our rural home. Since we do not have a farm, my parents usually cultivate the land for people on their farms at a fee. My mother sometimes does household chores for people at their homes, like washing clothes, cleaning and cooking.

Q. What are you studying?
I am studying at the PCEA community center in Eastleigh, taking a course in automotive engineering.

Q. When will you complete your studies?
I am pursuing a diploma, it will take me three years to complete the course. I am now in my second year.

Q. Please describe a challenge you have in your life.
The fact that I do not stay with my parents is really hard on me. Sometimes I do not have enough fare or none at all to get to school. There are times I have to walk to college. During lunch hour, I often go hungry. It makes me feel so inferior in the eyes of my college mates.

Q. What do you like about the youth program, and how has it helped you?
The youth program allows us to speak out our challenges. It promotes interaction amongst the youth. As an individual, the youth program has been a source of inspiration and motivation. It has helped me cultivate confidence. At the youth forums, I have gathered advice that helps me keep going, regardless of my circumstances.

Q. What is your dream?
My dream is to be prosperous in life, to help change my familyís way of life.

Interview was conducted by Regina Mburu of CFCA’s Kenya communication center. You can read more about the youth program on our website.

Mar 8 2010

Kenya mothers group makes shoes

By Janet Tinsley, project director, Africa region

On a sunny day in the informal settlement of Kibera in Nairobi, the Vision Mothers group members file into a small courtyard in front of one of their memberís homes for their monthly meeting. The 30 women and one man, all wearing the same cloth wrapped around their waists, heads or shoulders, find seats on benches in the shady areas of the courtyard and open the meeting.

About two years ago, the Nairobi project team introduced the idea of mothers groups to the mothers of the Kibera subproject and asked them to begin forming groups and register with the local government. The project staff intentionally left these responsibilities in the hands of the mothers, insisting that they choose for themselves which group they would join, raise the funds for registration (around $20), and complete the registration process before asking the project for further support.

At the Nairobi project, the mothers group model operates from the basic belief that mothers are capable, resourceful people.

“We realized that whenever we called a parent meeting, it was the mothers who showed up,” Peter Ndungo, Nairobi project coordinator, said. “In our culture, the mothers are the ones [who are] most concerned with the well-being of children, so it made the most sense to work with them.”

At todayís meeting, the topic for discussion was finding a space to rent for their shoemaking business. Earlier this year, the group started learning to make and sell shoes as a way to add to their group loan fund.

The Vision Mothers came up with the unique idea for the shoemaking business through trial and error. Their original idea was to start a trash removal service in their community, but they soon realized that there were already many other groups doing this.

“We didnít want conflict with the other groups, so we decided to change our business idea,” the group chairperson explains.

Shoemaking, a craft that is typically dominated by men in Kenya, is a nontraditional endeavor for the women. Nonetheless, the Vision Mothers saw shoemaking as an opportunity to make good profits and provide a much needed commodity for their community, but CFCA families are only some of the many customers they hope to serve in Kibera.

Some tools of the shoemaking trade

Some tools of the shoemaking trade

With the sale of their first batch of shoes, the group made a profit of about $130, and in the future, they hope to use the profits to start a resource and training center that would include a meeting hall and computer training for the members and the community.

Today is International Women’s Day! Read (and watch!) more inspiring stories about the women of CFCA:

Strength and power
An opportunity for women(Part 1)
Support in a time of need (Part 2)
Mothers share their talents to improve their community (Part 3)
Creating role models close to home (Part 4)

Oct 13 2009

The miracle tree

By Joanna Sabally, CFCA project specialist for the Africa region

Moringa leavesI was a Peace Corps volunteer in a rural community in the Gambia, West Africa from 2003-2005. I had an opportunity to learn more about moringa oliefeira, also known as the ìMiracle Tree.î As part of my training, I learned about the nutritional benefits and uses of moringa, which was already widespread in the area. Moringa trees are small but mighty; they have an extremely high content of several vitamins and minerals, including calcium, iron, vitamin C. It also has high protein content.

Organizations in the region were promoting its use to combat malnutrition in pregnant women and young children. Generally, families in my community used the moringa plant to make leaf sauce, but there are many other uses to the plant as well. I promoted the more intensive use of moringa leaves as a healthy supplement to food, and encouraged women not to dump water drained from moringa sauces, but to drink it as a tea instead.

I grew the moringa tree intensively in my backyard and dried its leaves in the shade, so as not to lose nutrients. I would pound the leaves with a mortar and pestle and sifted them to make moringa powder. Although the moringa leaf has a somewhat strong smell and flavor, a few tablespoons of the powder can be blended into any sauce as a nutrition supplement without impacting the flavor too much. I ate the powder frequently myself, and worked with each family in the village to sensitize them about all the benefits of the plant. Adding about four tablespoons a day to a child or pregnant motherís daily food intake can make a dramatic difference in their health.

Moringa seeds can also be used to purify water, the seed pods can be eaten, and the bark and roots have medicinal uses, although parts of the roots are slightly poisonous. It does truly seem to be a ìmiracle tree.î