A Chinese proverb says it’s better to light one candle than curse the darkness.
We can find a modern-day parallel in a community in Cali, Colombia, where families in the CFCA program found it’s better to take action and plant a tree to help the environment!
Yeraldin, CFCA staffer in Colombia and CFCA scholar, plants seeds for a future tree in an environmental campaign to help fight against drought. Yeraldin was sponsored through CFCA as a child.
For several years now, Colombia has suffered from a drought that has caused the nation’s government to urge citizens to conserve water (see this article for more information).
This particular CFCA community in Cali has had limited water supply as a result, and CFCA mothers groups met to discuss the problem. Read more
Celina’s empanadas from Colombia … mmm!
Celina is a mother to two sponsored children in Colombia, and for her, empanadas are her livelihood. She took out a loan through her mothers group to start a business selling empanadas and coffee. (Unbound serves more than 22,000 sponsored children and elderly in Colombia.)
Celina used the income from her business to purchase her first home.
Celina shares her recipe with us, and we invite you to try her delicious empanadas. Enjoy! Get the recipe
Parents of CFCA sponsored children stand proudly with their entrepreneurship diplomas.
CFCA believes strongly in the creativity and talents of sponsored families and partners with families throughout the world to unlock their potential.
In Bogota, Colombia, every Friday, leaders from each parents group meet at the CFCA office to participate in a “livelihood projects” class to learn techniques on how to successfully develop their talents and skills into sources of income for their families.
CFCA staffers utilized a local government program focused in the development of professional formation programs.
The main goal is to bring business education to family members of sponsored friends, and have these individuals spread their knowledge to fellow parents in their group.
CFCA staffers have seen many changes in families thanks to this class. Parents have diversified their families’ sources of income and also further developed their skills and talents. Read more
By Celina, mother of two sponsored children in Colombia
Celina and her daughter standing in front of their new home.
My goal has always been to have my own house. That was my biggest dream, but I could never save enough money to buy a home.
When my children joined the program, Elvia, an Unbound staff member, started to talk about mothers groups and how we could develop our skills.
We made a poster with our dreams, and I chose to use a picture of a house. Elvia told us that we can reach our goals as long as we establish clear goals.
After that meeting, I started to think about the first step in reaching my dreams. I started to attend Unbound workshops frequently to gain motivation.
I was unemployed, and we needed to have a bank account with money before we qualified for government-subsidized housing. I had just 50.000 pesos (about $28 US) in my pocket. I asked the bank about the process and learned I needed 60.000 pesos (about $33 US) to open a bank account. Read more
Did you know that for many of our sponsored children and aging friends, a CFCA birthday celebration may be the first time they’ve ever formally celebrated their birthdays?
These much-anticipated celebrations often include family members and others in the local community.
Here are a few photos of recent CFCA birthday celebrations in Guatemala, Colombia and India. They were too precious not to share with you!
Edgar, left, a sponsored children in Guatemala, is really enjoying his cake! A birthday tradition in Guatemala calls for the birthday child to eat the cake without utensils, and when they lean in to take a bite, they are pushed into it.
It’s a special day in Colombia as sponsored children wait for their birthday cake and drinks.
Little Leydi from Guatemala is excited to join in the CFCA birthday festivities. She can have her cake and eat it, too.
See more photos
By Sandra Rodriguez Nieto, aging program coordinator for CFCA’s Bogota project in Colombia
Sponsored aging friends in Colombia work on coloring Christmas and year-end greeting cards to their sponsors.
Working with the sponsored elderly in Bogota has been a very interesting process. We meet many people who have histories filled with pain and loneliness.
However, it is inspirational to see how they have overcome these situations.
They are always ready to move forward. That’s why, through CFCA’s Hope for a Family program, we seek to improve the quality of life for elderly people, empowering them and offering dignity.
Our programming includes working with aging friends to make crafts and establish exercise routines to strengthen their mobility. These tools enable them to learn new things while reaching within the skills and talents they already have.
Every two weeks, aging friends meet at each CFCA office in their local area. Rain or shine, they always show up on time, though most of them live in the peripheral neighborhoods of Bogota.
They always come with a smile and sometimes bring small presents such as biscuits, crackers or fruit to share. Read more
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
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
August isn’t always the first month when people think about Christmas cards, but it’s never too late to start preparing ñ especially if you’re in a CFCA community in Colombia!
Every year more than 300,000 children and aging friends sponsored through CFCA send Christmas cards or year-end greetings to their sponsors. That’s a lot of mail for our projects to coordinate, process and send.
Harry Garcia, our communications liaison in Colombia, explains about a competition for the best Christmas card to be sent to sponsors this December.
All the Christmas cards ready to be chosen.
We decided to have a competition for the Christmas cards in the CFCA communities in Colombia where the sponsored children and mothers participate with new designs, decorations, sizes and messages.
In this way the community creates the cards, and at our office in Bogota we choose the best card for the sponsors. Read more and see the final card chosen!
Sponsored children and their families gather together for a family fun day.
Do you ever wonder how your family can build stronger bonds together?
Maybe you have something like a family fun day involving board games or going to the park?
A CFCA community in the town of Sopo in Colombia understands that sharing and group activities help build strong families.
Take a look at the changes CFCA has made in the lives of sponsored friends and their families in Colombia.
Local CFCA staffers encourage sponsored children and their families to spend quality time together by playing interactive games such as basketball, board games, soccer and ping pong.
The CFCA community in Sopo received help from the mayor’s office to support this recreational program.
By Harrison Garcia, CFCA communications liaison in Bogota, Colombia
CFCA scholars Ingrid and Samuel plan their workshops at their local CFCA office.
A scholarship means a lot for a youth who wants to continue getting an education.
The CFCA project in Bogota has 14 scholarship students who want to give back after the support they’ve received from CFCA.
We recently chatted with two of them, Ingrid and Samuel, and heard about their hopes and dreams for the future.
After years of sponsorship, both these youth were selected to receive a CFCA scholarship in addition to their sponsorship.
Ingrid, 21, a CFCA scholar
I am learning to be a sports teacher at the National Pedagogic University in Bogota. For me, sponsorship is great and really changed my life. Read more