Tag: Child

Jul 11 2011

Teen visits India, her homeland, on mission awareness trip

We received this lovely email from Maria, whose mother sponsors Sujatha in India through CFCA. Maria went on a January mission awareness trip to India, the land of her birth.

Hi, my name is Maria. I was born in India.

Maria, second from left, has her hair done by Sujatha, who is sponsored through CFCA. The other two girls pictured, background and right, are Sujatha’s sisters.

When I was 10, I was adopted and now I live in the USA. My family sponsors a girl my age, 16, in southern India.

This past January my mom and I joined 22 people on a CFCA mission awareness trip to southern India.

It was nice to be back home in India! I really enjoyed talking to and dancing with the kids that I met there. I loved the spicy food and sunshine!

We traveled by train to a small village to meet our sponsored child and her family.

I felt happy and welcomed by all the people we met on our trip. The CFCA people are very helpful and guide you every step of the way.

My favorite part about being back in India was that even though people were poor, they still had a smile on their faces and they were very sweet.

I hope some of you will go on a mission trip also. I hope some of you will also sponsor someone!

Jul 7 2011

Five ways to ‘visit’ your sponsored friend, part 2

We’re in the middle of a series, “Five ways to ‘visit’ your sponsored friend” that don’t involve an actual mission awareness trip!

Our first suggestion was to cook a meal native to your friend’s ethnic cuisine. The second way is to:

2) Do something your friend likes doing.

CFCA sponsored children in the Dominican Republic

From left, Jefrey, Miguel and Angel are CFCA sponsored children in the Dominican Republic.

What are your friend’s hobbies? Does he/she like to play soccer†or cricket? Cook? Dance? Play marbles?

On another note, what are your friend’s duties and chores around the house? How similar/different are they to your duties?

Set aside a time when you can also participate in your friend’s hobbies and interests, then let your friend know about it in your next letter.

It will be even more memorable if it’s something you don’t do regularly!

Related links

Jul 6 2011

School starting for Indian schoolchildren

CFCA sponsored children go to school in India

Remi, a CFCA sponsored child in India, leaves for school as her mother, Jyotsna, waves goodbye. CFCA has provided Remi with new school supplies.

Many U.S. schoolchildren are still enjoying summer vacation, but CFCA sponsored children in Hyderabad, India, resumed classes in mid- to late June.

(See school calendars around the world in an earlier blog post.)

Sponsorship support allows parents to pay school fees due at the beginning of the academic year, and to buy shoes and textbooks.

The project supplies school bags for the children, and notebooks made by a CFCA bookbinding livelihood program.

In livelihood programs, parents of sponsored children form small groups to develop creative and practical income-generating ideas.

Because of the program, the project can supply the books at a lower price while maintaining quality, as well as providing families with much-needed income.

CFCA-Hyderabad deposits a portion of the sponsorship funds in child accounts at local banks.

Mothers of sponsored children withdraw funds from the accounts to pay school fees and buy uniforms, textbooks and shoes.

This model helps give families a greater sense of dignity as they are actively participating in, not passively receiving, increased access to education.

A mother of a CFCA sponsored child in India withdraws funds for school

A mother of a sponsored child withdraws money from her local bank.

“With this money I am able to send my child to a high-quality school, thanks to CFCA,” said Jayamma, whose daughter, Nagalaxmi, is sponsored.

Vijaya Rani, another mother of a sponsored child, says that school fees and other school-related costs have increased.

“With the amount which we are getting through CFCA, we are able to bear these expenses,” she said.

For many sponsored children, education is opening doors to a realm of new possibilities.

“My ambition is to become an engineer,” Nagalaxmi said. “For that I need to work hard.”

Go for it, Nagalaxmi! We wish you and your family all the best.

Jun 16 2011

CFCA staffers in Guatemala share insights at team meeting

The Hermano Pedro project in Guatemala recently conducted a regional team meeting of representatives from each of the eight regions in CFCA-Guatemala.

FCA-Guatemala livelihood jam- and jelly-making project

CFCA scholars chop pineapples to make jam in a livelihood project in Guatemala.

During the three-day meeting, the teams visited several CFCA livelihood projects, including a jam- and jelly-making livelihood project operated by CFCA scholars and a chicken livelihood project operated by a mothers group.

The meeting’s objective is to share best practices and demonstrate for the other regions how the regional project is executing the sponsorship program with families.

“CFCA is here to be a support for the families,” said Brother Jorge Armas Montes, Hermano Pedro project coordinator. “These meetings are also an opportunity to learn about the efforts of sponsored families, which motivates us to continue to work more intensely, because we owe it to them.”

Alvaro Aguilar Aldana, Northeast regional coordinator, said the challenges facing sponsored members are great.

“Our communities are remote,” he said. “We want to share with everyone how we are walking with families and also how we are learning from them so that other regions may share this with their teams.”

Brother Jorge Armas

Brother Jorge Armas

Alvaro Aguilar Aldana

Alvaro Aguilar Aldana

Over the 16 years he’s worked with CFCA, Alvaro said, he’s witnessed the transformation of the teams as they exchange ideas.

“When I started in CFCA many of us did not know each other or how we worked with families,” he said. “Now it is wonderful to see us together, meet and engage in dialogue of learning through these meetings that lead us to grow.”

He’s seen the effects of these meetings in the field, too.

“Before when we arrived at the villages, children would take off running,” he said. “Now the people have learned to trust us, and they share a sense of community. This is what we want, and this is what CFCA wants to achieve.”

He’s also taken some personal lessons home from these meetings.

“We all feel like a single family, and I have learned about the admirable work of the [CFCA] social workers,” he said. “I have felt the presence of God in each of the people with whom we share.

“I have felt the call of the Lord to serve those who live in poverty and with all these people who have a desire for a better tomorrow and a healthier country.”

Jun 13 2011

A sponsor should be ‘a companion who walks with us …’

John and Rose Thorsky have sponsored James in Kenya since 2006. This April he graduated from the CFCA program and is now in university on a full scholarship. Rose sent us this beautiful letter reflecting on their friendship.

It was the photo on the CFCA folder that captured our attention. But isnít the photo what draws most sponsors to their sponsored friends?

There he stood in khaki shorts, a blue collared shirt, bright colored flip-flops, his school notebooks in hand and a slight grin on his face.

James, the Thorskys' friend sponsored through CFCA

James, the Thorskys’ sponsored friend.

James, our sponsored friend in Kenya, entered our lives and high school in 2006 when he was 19. We learned his mother is deceased and he now lives with an uncle and grandmother.

Our CFCA sponsorship enabled him to attend a boarding school approximately 217 miles (350 kilometers) from his village.

We exchanged numerous letters and took much delight in his writing style, especially his use of idioms describing his study habits (e.g. busy as a bee; when the going gets tough, the tough get going).

He studied diligently, helped his family with weeding the fields during school breaks and celebrated holidays with family and friends.

In our letters we offered him a glimpse into our lives, but mostly we offered encouragement, our pleasure in his accomplishments and best wishes and prayers that he would continue to do well in achieving his goals.

We were jubilant when we received a letter from a CFCA staff member informing us James had scored one of the “best performances out of all the 2010 candidates” who took the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education.

Because of his excellent scores, Macmillan Publishers in Kenya offered James a full scholarship for college.

Then the final letter from James came, and the tears began to flow. It has been difficult letting go of this relationship. However, we are optimistic our paths will cross again in the future.

The relationship with James has been a blessed and wonderful dimension to our faith journey, grounded in daily prayer, respect for his culture and the dignity of his personhood.

We hope a line in one of Henri Nouwenís prayers describes our presence in Jamesís life: “Be with us as a companion who walks with us, neither behind nor in front …

Thank you, CFCA, for bringing hope to so many children, youth and aging and their families and for bringing James into our lives.

Jun 8 2011

CFCA Sponsorship Wall of Fame on Facebook

Thanks to the support of our Facebook friends, we’ve found sponsors for 35 children and elderly by featuring their profiles on our Facebook page.

Our friends then share these profiles with their family and friends who might be interested in sponsoring.

It’s a fantastic way to spread the news about CFCA sponsorship and help make a difference in childrenís lives!

View the “CFCA Sponsorship Wall of Fame”

Jun 3 2011

Why isn’t my sponsored child smiling in photos?

Ask Sponsor ServicesQ. My sponsored child isn’t smiling in photos. Are my contributions making a difference in his/her life?

A. Smiling for a photo is learned behavior. American children, subjects of a thousand photos by the time they are 5 years old, know to smile when they are in front of a camera.

But sponsored children may only have their picture taken once a year for their CFCA sponsor. That is probably the only time they are photographed. Therefore, having their picture taken is serious business.

Look at the early photos of your own parents, grandparents and great grandparents – no one is smiling. It took a lot of photos before the photographers learned to say, “Smile!” and the subjects to say, “Cheese.”

Jun 1 2011

Mom fashions new life for family with pottery, sponsorship

Padma, a mother in India, has a son sponsored through CFCA. Thanks to the help of a CFCA social worker, Padma encourages her son to get a formal education instead of helping full time with the family business.

My name is Padma. I have three daughters and two sons; my youngest son, Durga Prasad, is sponsored.

Padma, Durga's mother

Padma, mother of Durga, a CFCA sponsored child.

My first daughter is married, and our other children help us by making and selling clay figures.

We also make piggy banks on a regular basis. Once filled with coins, the banks have to be broken to get the collection. Then a new one is purchased.

Our whole family, including Durga Prasad, is involved in making these.

Immediately after my first daughterís marriage, we had financial problems and also were in need of another helping hand to make clay figures.

Durga used to go to a government school, but showed disinterest in continuing school and started helping us.

Every time the CFCA social worker, Shahanaz, came to our area, she would talk to us regarding the importance of education and made us realize this.

She helped Durga Prasad get admission in school, and she said that if he attends regularly, she would try for the sponsorship.

Last year, Durga Prasad was admitted into the CFCA sponsorship program so he can continue his education without adding an extra burden for us.

Durga Prasad helps his mother make clay figures

Durga Prasad, right, helps his mother make clay figures.

As Durga Prasad is getting good marks in school, now we are planning to enroll him in an English school next year.

Now, Durga Prasad helps us only on school holidays, and on other days he does his homework after he comes back from school.

My husband and I have been working since our childhood and earning money, yet our lives did not improve. It just has been living from hand to mouth.

We do not own a house, do not have steady income, and are unable to give proper education to our kids.

Because of CFCA, now my son has the opportunity to get a formal education. He is our only hope for our better future.

Related story: Sponsorship helps families avoid child labor

May 26 2011

Costa Rican moms receive affirmation, dignity from CFCA staff

The CFCA project in San Jose, Costa Rica, recently conducted an “encuentro” or gathering with some mothers of sponsored children to emphasize family unity, promote dignity and strengthen their self-esteem. Jean Carlo Arias, CFCA programs director in San Jose, offers his vision of this gathering.

“Be happy, woman; God has made you a life spring.”

Mothers group encuentro in Costa Rica

Mothers form into small discussion groups during the CFCA encuentro in Costa Rica.

With this phrase by a local CFCA social worker, Leticia Salazar, we gathered more than 100 mothers of sponsored children from the community of Desamparados, southeast from San Jose.

We wanted to motivate them, offer them a way to participate and encourage them in their roles as pillars in their families (most of them were single mothers).

Through motivational lectures and reflections, we tried to show these mothers a vision of the important role they have as mothers in the world and in CFCA’s Hope for a Family program.

“Understanding our real value as women, created as instruments of God to give life, strengthens us very much,” said Lizeth, the mother of sponsored children Yuri Fabiola and Yeudi Antonio.

Most of these mothers live in neighborhoods with economic problems as well as family disintegration.

This is why we try to increase their self-esteem so they can see themselves with love and as agents of change in their communities.

“A mother wears many hats,” said Marilu, the mother of sponsored child Elena. “She can be a doctor, psychologist, teacher, nurse, and adviser. She also is capable of fighting bravely for her children’s well-being. At the same time, we women are willing to progress, become professionals and be successful, in spite of the places and difficult realities we live in.”

Their dignity and value as mothers were strengthened in this meeting, increasing hope in their own homes.

“In this gathering, I learned to value life even more, recognizing that my children are not mistakes,” said Karol, mother of sponsored child Christopher. “They are treasures.”

May 25 2011

CFCA scholar overcomes shyness with public speaking

Marcela is a CFCA scholar earning a business administration degree at the Instituto TecnolÛgico Superior in Felipe Carrillo Puerto, Mexico. Monthly meetings with other CFCA scholars and a group of mothers empowered her to grow comfortable with public speaking.

Marcela, CFCA scholar in Mexico

Marcela, CFCA scholar in Mexico.

In your letter, you said you were afraid of speaking in front of a group of mothers. Explain how you gradually lost your fear.

When I first entered the CFCA community, they presented me to a group of mothers. I was very nervous. I did not know them or how to deal with them.

Afterward we had another monthly meeting. I remember that the mothers formed into groups and then I went from group to group and talked to them.

Then we arranged sporting activities with the sponsored children in which all the scholarship recipients gathered on the soccer fields to play a game with the sponsored children.

After we finished playing we went to buy refreshments at the store. We talked and were very happy.

At first I was very shy and almost didnít talk to my fellow scholarship recipients, but slowly I got to know them. From then on, every month I had to prepare my monthly meeting with a partner.

The CFCA coordinator constantly asked us to have our meetings and to visit the house of each one of the sponsored children to get to know them better.

After these visits, I began to change. Now I can express my ideas freely without having to worry about what anyone might say.

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