Tag: Child

May 23 2011

India’s love for cricket

Cricket is the most popular sport in India, which won the Cricket World Cup in April. Many sponsored children spend their summer holidays playing cricket. This report from Sreekanth Gundoji, our communications liaison in Hyderabad, explains cricket fever in more detail.

At what age do most children learn to play cricket?

One frequently finds children as small as 5 years old with a tiny cricket bat and ball playing with their fathers and neighborhood kids.

CFCA sponsored children celebrate the Cricket World Cup in India

Sponsored children in India celebrate after their country won the Cricket World Cup.

Do girls play cricket?

Yes, but it is not as popular as with boys. In 1978, the Indian women’s cricket team started playing at international, professional events such as the Asia Cup and World Cup.

Do sponsored children have the opportunity to go to a cricket game? Does the project offer any recreation related to cricket?

Many sponsored children are passionate about cricket. Some of them play on school teams. Several of our older children had represented the Andhra Pradesh state for the league matches.

CFCA does not promote cricket directly, but our staff members encourage children to play in their neighborhood. Bhaskar, a CFCA scholar, has taken the initiative to teach cricket to children in his neighborhood. (Read Bhaskar’s story.)

Where do children play?

Read more

May 18 2011

Words from your sponsored friend

By Shanxi Omoniyi, CFCA web editor and writer

There’s something magical about receiving a letter from your sponsored friends. You can see and touch the words they’ve written, providing a window into their lives as well as your own.

Sandhya and her sister, sponsored through CFCA

Sandhya, left, helps her sister write a letter to her CFCA sponsor.

We’ve collected some special quotes from those who sponsor and those who are sponsored:

  • “The reason I am writing is to thank you with all my heart for the help you sent my brother and our family for so long. It was a blessing because all that he received, thanks to your financial support, was for the benefit of our home and especially for him because your support enabled him to study medicine in the university.” (From “Brother writes letter after sponsored youth dies“)
  • “From the first time the girls ripped open an envelope from Regina, their world expanded from our small town to another place where people don’t live as we do. It was a lesson in geography, economics, philosophy, even English. Most importantly, it was a humbling lesson of humanitarianism.” (From “Regina’s gift to her sponsoring family“)
  • “The two of us have felt very proud to be able to watch you, in some sense, to grow up from a very little girl to the strong and able adult that you are now. We have been very lucky to have been able to help you in some small ways, and we would wish to have been able to do even more for someone whom we have come to love and regard as a very special granddaughter.” (From “We will meet again“)
  • “At last I’m enjoying rains in a nice house that doesn’t leak. Thanks a lot for making my life happy. Ö You are part of my life, I cherish your care.” (From “Letters + watercolors = land for a family“)
  • Finally, I couldn’t resist adding a quote from my sponsored friend, who’s too young to be writing letters yet. His mother writes for him. She told me that in Kenya, the weather was very hot. “Victor received your letter … and he was envious to hear that the weather where you are is very cold and snowing.” (Personally, I wouldn’t mind borrowing a little weather from Kenya to Kansas!)

Now it’s your turn! Can you share with us in the comments something that your sponsored friend recently wrote to you?

May 16 2011

Youth in Guatemala share postgraduate dreams

Many students living in poverty face extra challenges to complete their education.

In addition to tuition and fees, students may have to work a part-time job to make ends meet. Access to quality schools may be limited. Some students must walk or commute many miles to the nearest school.

Their determination and commitment to finishing school testifies to the fact that education is one of the best ways to break the cycle of poverty.

In late 2010, the Hermano Pedro project in Guatemala celebrated the upcoming high school graduation of sponsored and scholarship students. Of the 246 graduating seniors formally invited, 108 students attended, with parents and CFCA staff proudly supporting them.

Guatemalan youth graduate from CFCA program

Guatemalan students in the CFCA program celebrate their graduation from high school.

Hermano Pedro staff said this was a way to celebrate the studentsí achievements and to reinforce their feeling of belonging to a community that cares about them. It also served as an orientation for their future educational options.

The students heard an inspirational lecture from Lic. Leonel Estrada, who emphasized having clear goals and maintaining purpose in life.

Then Maria Cristina, who was sponsored through CFCA and is now a doctor and surgeon, spoke to the new graduates about her studies, her family’s unconditional support and CFCA’s presence in her life.

PantaleÛn, a graduate and sponsored child for 12 years, identified with Maria Cristinaís testament of CFCAís value.

ìSponsorship has been a great help for me,î said the 19-year-old. ìGod has given me the opportunity to belong to the program, and that is a great blessing for me and for my family. I have received school supplies, food, clothing and many things that have been of great help at home. My parents and I are grateful for all that has been given to us. It is an honor to be in the foundation.î

PantaleÛn studied to be an adjuster during his high school internship and hopes to get a job at a business firm, where he can save enough to one day attend a university and study to be a lawyer and notary public.

During the convocation, awards were presented to the top students. The event culminated with a prayer and a promise to try each day to be a better person.

May 11 2011

Colombian family rebuilds after flooding

One of CFCA’s goals is to provide a stable, tranquil presence in the lives of our sponsored friends.

This is especially important when natural disasters or economic catastrophes strike in the communities we serve.

Stiven, a CFCA sponsored child in Colombia

Stiven, a sponsored child in Colombia.

A sponsored child in Colombia, Stiven, woke up in December 2010 to find his family’s house had been destroyed by heavy flooding and mudslides.

Tr·nsito Hern·ndez, coordinator of the Antioquia project in Colombia, wrote to us about that day.

“This family had, very painstakingly, tried to construct a house with a roof made of plastic and other discarded materials,” she wrote. “But when the ravine that protected his house caved in from the rains and mudslides, Stiven was surprised to awake to a broken water main and a house buried by rocks.

“Miraculously no one was hurt.”

The family needed immediate assistance to build a retaining wall, but the community didn’t have the resources needed for the reconstruction.

CFCA approved the project’s request to use the disaster assistance fund to help build the new wall.

Today Stiven’s family is doing well and is extremely active in the CFCA community. Stiven’s mother, Blanca, has learned accounting through CFCA’s livelihood workshops and has managed to buy two sewing machines for her tailoring business.

“In this family, it is inspiring to see how, through their strong values and CFCAís personal outreach, or rather, the strength of God, they can surpass this great difficulty,” Tr·nsito wrote.

Please keep Stiven’s family in your prayers as they continue to rebuild from the flooding.

May 10 2011

Media spotlight shines on North Dakota couple sponsoring 102 people

KFYR-TV features couple sponsoring 102 peopleWe have an amazing story of two CFCA sponsors that we wanted to share with you!

Bill and Karen Schneider live in Bismarck, N.D., and sponsor 102 people in 12 countries†through CFCA. Yes, you read that right ñ 102!

Their dedication is so great that KFYR-TV, the NBC news affiliate in Bismarck, N.D., recently featured them in a special for Mother’s Day (read the story and watch the video).

Please note: It was reported that 94 cents of every dollar goes to the recipient. That is incorrect. Approximately 94 cents of every dollar we spend goes toward program support, which includes benefits and services for sponsored friends and their families. We assign the most resources possible for the direct benefit of our sponsored children and elderly. As a result, CFCA consistently receives high ratings from independent charity evaluators.

Many thanks to the Schneiders for their support, and we appreciate these media outlets for telling their story!

May 9 2011

Mothers grow small businesses in the Dominican Republic

This video features a mothers group in our project in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

The narrator in the video, Altagracia Flores, is a charismatic social worker in the Santo Domingo project. She and other CFCA staff members work closely with mothers of sponsored children who want to start or improve their livelihood or business.

They can access small loans from the group fund, which consists of the mothersí individual contributions and a CFCA matching amount.

Altagracia shares with us the example of two mothers who have succeeded in improving their small businesses and their families’ living conditions.

Enjoy!

May 6 2011

CFCA in Costa Rica learns from mothers group experience

Costa Rica mothers groups

John Arias Madriz, member of the CFCA-Costa Rica team, center, leads a prayer in the mothers group in a community served by the Santa Ana project during a training trip to El Salvador.

Mother’s Day is May 8. We believe in the wisdom of mothers and work to provide opportunities for mothers to use their wisdom for the good of their children and families.

In the past year, CFCA in Costa Rica has been exploring mothers groups as a vehicle to encourage the participation of mothers of sponsored children.

“Our mothers come from difficult realities,î said Rafael Villalobos, the Costa Rica coordinator. ìMost are single mothers and live in violent environments. Our primary goal is to create groups where the mothers identify with each other, learn to solve their problems and live with peace and solidarity.î

Earlier this year, staff members from the Costa Rica visited CFCA communities in El Salvador to learn from Salvadoran mothers groups.

“During our visit to El Salvador, we saw how women are empowered,” Villalobos said. “They have voice and vote in the decisions made in CFCA. This is important because mothers are no longer just recipients of benefits. They are building their childrenís future.”

Since they began in 2001 in Hyderabad, India, CFCA mothers groups have evolved and spread to other parts of the CFCA world. They were introduced two years ago in El Salvador.

“We see a bigger sense of belonging to CFCA among mothers of sponsored children who are part of our mothers groups,” said Yessenia Alfaro, CFCA coordinator in El Salvador.

“This model has enabled the mothers to be active participants in building a better future for their children, and to discover their hidden talents and put them to the service of their own community.”

The CFCA mothers group is a community self-help group that offers mothers of sponsored children an opportunity to organize themselves and participate in the planning and decision making of CFCA benefits and activities.

Mothers in Hyderabad now have choices about their childrenís benefits, and microfinance programs offered by the groups provide access to loans for small business startups, college tuition or emergency expenses.

The visit to El Salvador has allowed the Costa Rica team to see the potential of mothers groups as a tool for families to build a path to self-sufficiency.

“We returned home and shared the beauty and the value of mothers becoming the leaders of their sponsorship program, their communities and their childrenís pathway in life,” Villalobos said.

May 4 2011

CFCA staff worker honors colleagues in Costa Rica

Jessie Leader-Kirk works in the child services department at CFCA’s headquarters in Kansas City. She recently went on a mission awareness trip to Costa Rica.

I had the privilege of spending a week with the staff of CFCA in Costa Rica. I never thought I would gain as much as I did from this experience.

My first encounter with the staff was at the airport in Costa Rica. This was my first time traveling internationally, and I did not know what to expect.

Jessie in Costa Rica

From left are Santiago, Jessie Leader-Kirk and Vanessa during Jessie’s mission awareness trip to Costa Rica. Santiago and Vanessa are sponsored through CFCA.

When I walked out of the airport Javier and Emmanuel were there to greet me, and a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. I felt safe!

The next morning I met the rest of the staff and started my adventure in Costa Rica.

I was impressed by the staff’s organization. Everyone had their role and knew it well.

The effort behind the scenes was amazing. We left to visit to a community where sponsored members live.

As we pulled into the community the sponsored members were there to meet us. Maureen and Jackeline did a wonderful job translating for the sponsors that did not speak Spanish.

As all the sponsors were greeted by the sponsored members, the staff was hustling to have everything set up for the sponsors. As the sponsors made it to their destination, Jean Carlo had a sound system set up and Ellie the translator was there to greet us.

Ellie from Costa Rica

Ellie the translator speaks to sponsors during the mission awareness trip.

As time went by, I met more and more staff members. Two staff members shared their personal experiences with me.

Luis, one of the social workers, shared that his life has been threatened on more than one occasion. Could you imagine working with the fear that your life could be taken at any moment?

Leticia, another social worker, said one day while she was walking to visit one of the sponsored members, a lady walked up to her and said, ìI like your shoes.î

Right after the lady said that, someone else walked up behind her and pressed something in her back.

Leticia said that she never turned around to see what it was, but just started praying and kept walking until the lady left her alone and she was safe.

After hearing these experiences I looked at the social workers in a different light. I admire their strength and dedication to the sponsored members.

The love for the children really stood out among all the staff. It was especially heartwarming to watch Rafael Villalobos, project coordinator in San Jose, and his interaction with the children.

You could tell that each child had a special relationship with the staff members in their area.

I was able to gain perspective on the great work CFCA does, and I was also able to gain an unspeakable amount of respect for the staff in Costa Rica.

The staff members in Costa Rica face many more challenges in their daily work life than I could ever imagine facing. I have never been around more inspiring people.

Words cannot express my gratitude and respect for my coworkers in the field. Thank you for the life-changing experience you gave me.

May 3 2011

Street children in India find help with CFCA

Movies such as “Slumdog Millionaire” have raised awareness of the plight of street children in India. Some have estimated that as many as 18 million children are living on India’s streets, according to NPR.

These children are vulnerable to exploitation and often become victims of human trafficking, child labor, drug addiction and crime. CFCA’s Hyderabad project has served 350 sponsored children who formerly lived on the streets and now reside in special housing. Here are a few of their stories.

Sunitha

Sunitha

I donít know anything about my father. He died when I was a child. My mother died of cancer when I was in first grade.

My neighbors took me to their home. I studied till fourth grade with their help, but they made me do domestic chores like sweeping, cleaning dishes, washing clothes, etc.

One day the house owner took me to a home for street children. I studied there up to 10th grade. For some reason, the home closed down and I was shifted to another home.

After I completed 10th grade, my education almost came to an end. I was asked to take care of the homeís kitchen instead of continuing my studies. It became difficult for me to continue school.

That was when I got CFCA sponsorship. CFCA supported me till I completed my graduation in nursing in March 2011.

As my mother died of cancer and lacked proper medical attention, I chose the medical profession.

I was selected as a nurse in Care Hospitals, Hyderabad, under a contract for two years. After that I plan to do a master’s in nursing sciences and a Ph.D. as well.

Whenever I get time, I help children in the home write good letters and motivate them to achieve their ambitions.

Though I faced many obstacles while pursuing my studies, I completed my graduation with distinction, thanks to CFCA.

Read more

Apr 21 2011

Sponsor provides tips on how to write letters, part 1

CFCA sponsor Cheri Duchrow graciously shared with us some of her thoughts about writing to her five sponsored friends. She has a fascinating story, or letter-writing journey, to recount.

How difficult was it to write the first letter?

The first letter is always the easiest because you can fill it with introductory types of information.

It used to be that after the first few letters it was difficult to find new things to say. I thought I always had to have something fun and new or wait and send a photo.

But just letting them know you are thinking about them, they are beautiful creations that God loves and you are praying for them is enough.

Like so many things in my life I needed to change my view and attitude and let go of the fear. I find now that I will share ordinary things.

For instance, many places may not have grass like we do so I take a picture of my feet in the grass and then a picture of the lawn mower telling them it is not my favorite job to mow grass, but I like it better than shoveling snow. In the winter they get pictures of snow.

Then I might ask them what are some jobs that they don’t like to do and we will pray for acceptance. I know how much I long to receive one of their letters.

How often do you correspond?

I try to write the children I sponsor every month but on average I would say it is about every 6-8 weeks. To help keep track of what I have written and the questions we have shared over the years I have a little system that works.

I also find that putting my questions for them at the end of the letter helps me to get an answer more often as it is not buried in the letter.

You mentioned (see Cheri’s previous blog post) that it took a while after sponsoring before you started to write. What got you going?

Read more