Tag: benefits

Dec 9 2011

Bob’s notes: ‘Invited into Archana’s family’ in India

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“Bob’s notes” are reports from CFCA President Bob Hentzen, who regularly accompanies mission awareness trip participants. You can see Bobís full update on his Facebook page.

This account was split into two parts. Read the first part with Annamary’s testimony here.

Inspiring testimonies from sponsored Indian youth:

Minu: “Tears come into my eyes today when I recall how my parents left me with relatives as they searched for work in the northern part of India. It is no less than a divine intervention that sponsorship came. I fear my father may have abandoned us. However, my sponsorship continues, and this has been my greatest consoler and mentor. If I say sponsorship has been my rock, my parent, it won’t be an exaggeration. I am filled with gratitude and awe. I wish to give back to my society as a mark of appreciation for this CFCA program.”

Pinky: “We live in a remote area where there is no good education facility. Before sponsorship, I was like a frog in a well, knowing nothing of the outside world. The CFCA help became a light which removed the darkness of ignorance within me and filled my life with the brightness of knowledge. I have been studying in a well-developed educational institution of the Bhagalpur Diocese for 12 years. On behalf of all sponsored children, I promise you we will fulfill our dreams to be successful and help other children.” Read more

Oct 20 2011

Bob’s notes: Sponsors ‘living on love’ in Guatemala trip

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“Bob’s notes” are reports from CFCA President Bob Hentzen, who regularly accompanies mission awareness trip participants. You can see Bobís full update on his Facebook page.

Our entire team in Guatemala is delighted to receive this fine group of sponsors and friends.

During the mission awareness trip, sponsors experienced the buildup to a presidential run-off election, scheduled for Nov. 6.

This promised to be an exciting trip, considering election frenzy, heavy rains, swollen rivers, damaged roads and major landslides. We often adjusted our itinerary according to weather and road conditions.

Naturally, we thanked our CFCA family for prayers along the way.

Due to abundant rains, Guatemala welcomed us with a green countryside and pleasant temperatures.

We took sponsors to the CFCA office that serves more than 6,000 families in Guatemala City.

Children, teens and staff had prepared a nice orientation to the CFCA presence in their areas.

Participating were Miguel Dario Tzarax, project coordinator; Maria del Carmen Santos, social worker; Mario, sponsored for 15 years; two groups of sponsored children and mothers groups (Mezquital and El Gallito); moving testimony of Monica Catalan, mother leader from El Gallito; and me (Bob) with a group of children and mothers.

All this week, we had to adjust our itinerary as the 72 highways of Guatemala were blocked from landslides and flooding.

We did make it out to San Lucas Toliman on Sunday. We felt rewarded by the welcome of our sponsored friends and families. Read more

Mar 10 2011

CFCA inspires Salvadoran girl to paint her life

Roxana in El Salvador

Roxana created the painting, pictured in the background, which reflects her experience with CFCA Hope for a Family sponsorship.

CFCA recently celebrated 25 years of service in El Salvador. The sponsorship program began in El Salvador in 1985 with 25 sponsored children. Today, CFCA serves more than 12,000 sponsored children, youth and aging members around the country.

As part of the different activities organized by CFCA-Santa Ana to commemorate this special milestone, a drawing and painting contest was held for sponsored members who wanted to participate. The topic was “CFCA as hope for a family.”

Roxana Maribel, 16, won first place with her original painting, “Before and After.” It reflects her deep sense of transformation in the 14 years she has been sponsored through CFCA.

My name is Roxana Maribel. I am 19 years old and live in the city of Santa Ana in El Salvador. Since kindergarten, I enjoyed drawing and painting.

Over the years, I have taught myself different techniques. Nothing professional, but something I enjoyed as a hobby.

Roxana's painting

Roxana’s painting.

When I was told about the drawing and painting contest, I decided to participate with a painting that would somehow show myself reflected in it.

This painting reflects the changes in my life and the lives of many others, thanks to all the support I have received from my sponsor. To me, painting is a simple way to express my feelings and thoughts. I like people to see what I feel.

I feel happy that I won first place in the contest. My family was very supportive and felt happy with my achievement.

I have many dreams for my future. The main ones are to be closer to our Lord, to become a professional woman and to be able to help my family.

~Interview by Jorge Castaneda, communication center staff member; photos by Daniel Hernandez

Dec 3 2010

Why is my sponsored child pictured in worn clothing?

Ask Sponsor ServicesQ. My childís photo shows him with a frayed shirt and tattered shoes. Isnít clothing one of the benefits of sponsorship?

A. Yes, clothing is one of the benefits of sponsorship, and many projects provide new dress clothes for sponsored children, youth and aging members each year.

Some of the quarter million photos we process each year, however, show children in worn clothing. The reason could be as simple as the child forgot to tell his mother that tomorrow was CFCA picture day.

Most mothers want their children to be photographed in a nice outfit, even if that clothing is borrowed from a neighbor, or is the only dress clothing they own.

Keep that in mind if your child is photographed wearing an exceptionally fine outfit. It may be one of the few times of the year he or she dresses so well.

Oct 21 2010

From beneficiaries to partners: How CFCA views sponsored friends

Dan Pearson, operations/program development director for CFCA, explains how CFCA programs are moving toward greater autonomy and partnership with those being sponsored. Rather than seeing them as “beneficiaries,” we see them as “partners.”

Nonprofit organizations often divide their stakeholders neatly into two categories: donors and beneficiaries. But CFCA has always viewed things a little differently.

Dan Pearson

Dan Pearson

CFCA has always seen sponsors as more than simply donors. Sponsors are first and foremost human beings with a desire to connect with other human beings.

Part of CFCA’s mission is to give sponsors a way to grow in love through a personal connection to a child or elderly person in another part of the world. In that sense, sponsors are also beneficiaries of sponsorship because we can receive emotional and spiritual benefits as we provide encouragement and material support to a friend in another country.

Similarly, CFCA has never seen sponsored children and their families as simply beneficiaries. The word “beneficiary” implies someone who passively receives assistance from another person. But sponsored members and their families are not passive. In fact, they are some of the most active people I have met.

Sponsored children often get up early and walk long distances just to receive an education. Their parents work long days (often in jobs that are physically demanding) to provide for their childrenís basic needs. Yes, these families benefit from the program. But they are much more than beneficiaries.

Sai and his family

Sponsored child Sai, second from right, and his family in Hyderabad, India.

Part of the message in CFCA’s Hope for a Family program is that the families of sponsored children are our partners.

The mother of a child partners with a sponsor to achieve a childís goals for the future. She is a trustworthy partner because:

a) she has demonstrated her absolute commitment to her child’s future,

b) she understands her child’s unique gifts and the particular challenges her child faces, and

c) she is extremely skilled at overcoming challenges.

The proof of a motherís trustworthiness as a partner in the development of her child is in her tireless dedication. She spends nearly every waking hour dedicated to the cause of her children. Then she goes to bed, wakes up early, and starts over again.

The label “beneficiary” doesnít do justice to that kind of active dedication to a cause.

When one sponsor and one family join forces to change one child’s life, all other labels dissolve. They are simply human beings working together to make one small piece of the world a better place.

We welcome your feedback! In the comments below, please tell us how you view the “beneficiaries” vs. “partners” distinction. If you’re a sponsor, have you always viewed sponsorship as a way to partner with others? Why or why not?

Sep 3 2010

When should I send a Christmas greeting to my sponsored friend?

Ask Sponsor ServicesQ. When should I send a Christmas greeting to my sponsored friend?

A. If you would like to send your friend a Christmas greeting, we recommend sending your greeting card early because mail can be slow during the holiday season. It usually takes six to eight weeks for a letter to arrive at the project.

Although Christmas is a time for giving in the U.S., sending a gift to your friend overseas is problematic.

Packages can accrue customs fees in your friendís country, and items can be lost or stolen in the mail. Instead of a package, we encourage you to send a letter or card. Your friend will be thrilled to hear from you.

(You can also send an eLetter once you’re logged in to your online sponsorship account!)

In addition, please consider donating to the CFCA Christmas Fund. Your donation is used by your friendís project to plan culturally appropriate celebrations and provide practical and fun gifts for every child and aging member, so no one is left out. Family members often participate.

Sponsored members know that these celebrations and gifts are made possible by the sponsors. Plus, your donation benefits your friendís community because party supplies and Christmas gifts are purchased from local vendors or CFCA livelihood projects.

Mar 26 2010

Juan Antonio: The dancing man

Meet Juan Antonio, an elderly man who lives in El Salvador. This vibrant man of 83 years is sponsored through CFCA’s Hope for a Family program. Since August 2009, he has participated in a dance and gym class as part of his sponsorship benefits. Being involved in the dance program has made him feel, in his own words, “cool.”

We think Juan Antonio is cool, too. But don’t take our word for it. Watch on to meet this charming man.

Read more about the dance program.

Nov 25 2009

The joy of friendship

Editorís note: Ronald, 21, graduated from the sponsorship program in June of 2008.

RonaldIím Ronald from Hyderabad, India. I come from a family where education was always a daydream. Iím delighted to share a few memories of my life, as I was a fortunate child who has been blessed by God.

CFCA has helped me complete my education and stand on my feet. To make my dreams come true, CFCA came to my aid. Because of their valuable and timely help, my parents were able to enroll me in Mount Carmel High School. CFCA took care of all my educational needs and supported my parents.

Throughout my association with CFCA, I thought all the sponsors belonged to rich families, and helped unfortunate children with their surplus. But to my astonishment, my sponsors, John and Bobby, were an elderly couple who were not wealthy, and were no longer in touch with other family members. I was very joyful to know that they treated me as their grandson.

I remember in one of the letters John told me he had made a big board in his room where he preserved my letters, photographs and paintings, and he read them whenever he felt lonely. I was taken aback by his affection for me.

Sadly, John passed away, but Bobby continued to sponsor me. She also shared with me that after John died I was the only one with whom she could express all her feelings. Iím happy that I was able to know such adoring people.

After I received my education, I got a job with an information technology company. Today, I have everything I need: loving parents, a good education and a fine job. And the two most important people responsible for my life being so good today are my dear sponsors, John and Bobby.

Oct 19 2009

Bob’s notes – Visit to India

Mission awareness trip to India
Oct. 2-13, 2009

The drought this year and just recently the worst flooding in 100 years have caused serious problems for families such as father Narsing, mother Radhika , their 7-year-old sponsored daughter, Archana, and her 5-year-old brother, Pradeep. They plant mainly rice on a 3-acre plot. The family also cares for the grandparents. We are indeed honored to be associated with this beautiful family.

At the inauguration of the CFCA Community Centre in Balanagar Zone-Subproject JGG, we enjoyed a large fiesta. Sponsors handed out Christmas presents. Especially impactful for the sponsors were the 100 or so sponsored girls living at the Divine Word Home. Just a short time ago, they were the throwaway children, the rag pickers in the garbage dumps of Hyderabad. They not only know their sponsorís name, they also know their CFCA ID number.

After telling us her sponsorís name, Veronica said:

“Our golden age began when Mr. Prakash and Mr. Suresh visited us in August 2002. They saw our poverty and our need. Soon CFCA started to look for sponsors. This has helped us leave our rag picking. Now we are attending a prestigious English medium school. We promise you that we will remember you always in our prayers and that we will make good use of this precious chance you are giving us Ö so that we will be able to help others as you help us today.”

What itís all about
Mothers groups in India
At our project in Hyderabad, mothers of sponsored children are taking leadership roles to help their families and communities. More than 600 mothers groups and 10,000 members help manage and operate CFCA programs in Hyderabad and outlying areas. Mothers groups join with social workers to assess needs and design benefit plans. Besides giving mothers a voice in the sponsorship program, the groups help raise the status of women in their communities. Savings plans and low-cost loans to fund small business startups or meet critical family needs are also part of the groups. CFCA currently impacts the lives of more than 11,500 children, youth, aging and their families here.

Visit to Subproject CCP
We heard testimony by a young woman, Jeevan, who is a former sponsored girl and now works as a professional staff nurse. Remarkably, Jeevan herself sponsors a little boy named Malesh. Jeevan is Catholic and Malesh is Hindu. We also heard a high-energy speech by a mother who, before CFCA involvement, was so shy she could not leave her house. Now she is more confident and very active in her mothers group.

Janagam subproject
Bob with his sponsored child and her familyIn Addabata village, I was able to visit my own sponsored child, Archana, together with her mom, dad and little brother. They are a young farm family struggling first with drought and now with flooding. They traveled the 5 kilometers (3 miles) from their home to the main highway on their aging scooter.

After lunch at the major seminary, we visited the 37 aging and 56 children at the leper colony at Karunapuram. The enthusiasm of these lepers and recovering lepers is inspiringóreminds me of recently canonized St. Damien of Molokai.

Visit to CFCA Project Warangal
The Warangal project has started to form mothers groups and at present, there are 65 groups. They have monthly meetings to discuss topics like health, cleanliness, livelihood programs, developing kitchen gardens, childrenís education and community activities. Each mother deposits 50 rupees (about $1) into an account every month and CFCA matches that amount. The buildup of these funds will allow the mothers to obtain micro-credit loans from the group in the future.

Gratitude
Iím looking forward now to our board formation day and regular October board meeting. Following the board meeting, I will meet my wife, Cristina, in Guatemala, and we will head for the mission awareness trip in Chile. Before signing off, I want to say that I am deeply grateful to have shared parts of this India trip with Ilene and Sara from CFCAís International Department in Kansas City.

God’s blessings,

Bob Hentzen

Sep 22 2009

Seeing is believingÖand I am a believer

By Kelly Demo, CFCA preacher

I have preached on behalf of CFCA for more than a year and a half now. I knew how CFCA worked and how it changed lives and transformed entire communities. I got it.

Or, at least, I thought I did until I went on a mission awareness trip to El Salvador. Only then did I truly understand the goodness, the Godliness of what is happening in our projects. I offer two examples.

On the first full day in El Salvador, our little band of travelers was taken to a small area in Santa Ana. CFCA has had a strong presence there for many years now. We were warmly welcomed by the sponsored children and their families and introduced to leaders who have risen up from the community to take on planning and visioning responsibilities. The atmosphere was one of excitement and pride. The mothers group was eager to show the skirts, purses and towels they were learning to sew. We were told about the community sewing co-op that is starting up, and children came forward to present each of us with a bag that had been sewn by the mothers.

I looked at the parents and children and saw a community of hope that was looking to the future and knowing that, while things may not be easy, there were others who were walking the journey with them.

Cut to scene two. CFCA has just entered into a relationship with the people of Chilcuyo, a town about an hour outside Santa Ana. We were the first group of sponsors to visit, and there were no sponsored children (yet!). We were again greeted by the beautiful children of the town, but there was anxiety underlying the excitement. They did not know what to expect. They had never received a group from CFCA, but more than that, there was a palpable anxiety to life in this town. There was fear. Fear of crime, of hunger, of isolation, and of the future.

When I compared these two towns, I saw clearly how CFCA is making an impact on entire communities, by impacting one person at a time. As each person develops, so develops the town, the area, the country and, in time, the world.