Tag: Colombia

Apr 16 2012

Celebrating Mass: Sponsored friends in Colombia

What are Mass customs and traditions around the world? In this blog post, CFCA explores how sponsored children, youth and aging friends who practice the Catholic faith in Colombia celebrate Mass. Thanks to Harrison Garcia Ruiz, our communications liaison in Colombia, for contributing to this article.

Mass customs in Colombia

Leidy, a child sponsored through CFCA, and her mother pray at Mass in Colombia.

The majority of the families in the CFCA Hope for a Family program in Colombia are Catholic, and they participate actively during Mass.

Boys and girls attend Mass with their families, and they sit down and they listen to God’s Word and the priest’s reflection. The Mass usually lasts for an hour, sometimes 90 minutes.

Leidy is a child sponsored through CFCA for three years. She likes to attend the Mass with her mother, father and little brother Daniel.

“We attend the Mass on Sundays, and we sit down and listen to the priest,” she said. “My favorite part of the Mass is during the sign of peace because we shake hands and we hug each other. It is a happy moment.

“Also, I like the music during the Eucharist. My favorite song is ‘Glory Hallelujah.’ It is a happy song. …

“I pray with my mother and my family, and we pray to God for our needs and I pray to do well at school. I like to talk with God, and I ask God for our health.” Read more

Mar 29 2012

Diego in Colombia gets his bicycle

Earlier this month we featured Diego, a sponsored child who walked 80 minutes to school in Colombia ñ and that was just one way!

Our CFCA colleagues in Bogota ñ Harrison Garcia Ruiz, our communications liaison, and Judith Bautista, project coordinator ñ worked on getting a bicycle for Diego so he wouldn’t have to walk such a great distance.

Harrison was there as Diego went with his mother to pick out a new bike. These pictures, along with quotes from Diego, tell the whole story beautifully.

In Diego’s words

Having a bicycle to me was a very difficult dream to reach. My family does not have the resources to buy a bicycle for me.

One day CFCA staff members came to my house to interview me and to ask me about my life and how I get my education.

I told them about the long distance that I have to walk to get to school.

Diego, sponsored child, walking to school

My mother told me later that CFCA staffers called her, and she told me that the CFCA office wanted to buy a bike to me so I could have a better situation in life.

Diego in Colombia with mother

I could not believe it at first, but I thank God for having that visit from CFCA’s staff and to be able to tell them my story, and in this way I could go to choose my bike with my mother. Read more and see the pictures

Mar 22 2012

CFCA helps families in Colombia recover after flooding

Flooding in Cali, Colombia

Scenes after flooding in a community served by CFCA's project in Cali, Colombia.

Heavy rains in a community served by CFCA’s project in Cali, Colombia, caused a river to overflow in January, causing major damage to the homes of 17 sponsored friends and their families.

Many people from this community were evacuated after the Cauca River flooded. The river crosses more than 40 percent of the community and is the main source of income for residents.

Families in the CFCA sponsorship program often earn a living by extracting river sand for construction. That has not been possible since the heavy rains.

As part of CFCA’s outreach to those affected, staff members visited families in the sponsorship program who live in the affected areas as well as in shelters.

They also helped coordinate efforts with local authorities to rescue some of the families’ possessions and provide food and other items according to their needs.

Here are the thoughts and perspectives from two parents of sponsored children.

Carlos’ story

I was at home when the river began to rise. I had to go to work.

I warned my family about the situation and asked if it kept rising to call me. At 3 p.m. I came back from work; the river was already inside my house, so I put up all the equipment, jars and other utensils over bricks so they wouldn’t get wet.

I told my wife and children to go to a shelter elsewhere and I would stay at home, but none of them wanted to leave. Read more

Mar 5 2012

Sponsored child goes the distance for school (80-minute walk)

By Harrison Garcia Ruiz, CFCA communication center liaison in Bogota, Colombia

Diego, CFCA sponsored child in Colombia, walking to school

Diego, a child sponsored through CFCA in Colombia, walks 80 minutes one way to go to school.

Many children in the rural areas of Colombia have to walk long distances to get their education.

One example is Diego, 13, sponsored through CFCA. He must walk an hour and 20 minutes one way to attend school in a town outside Bogota.

Every morning Diego wakes up at 4:30 a.m. He takes a shower, dresses in his school uniform, eats breakfast and starts walking at 5:30 a.m.

He starts classes at 7 a.m. and finishes at 1 p.m. Sometimes he walks all the way back home, but occasionally his mother has the money to give him to take a bus to come back home from school.

Even when Diego takes the bus, he needs to walk 30 minutes to get to his house. Read more of Diego’s story

Feb 21 2012

Dental care often part of sponsorship benefits

Harrison Garcia Ruiz, CFCA communication center liaison in Bogota, Colombia, contributed information to this report.

Going to the dentist can be something we take for granted in the United States, but it’s not always so easy in other countries.

John, CFCA sponsored child in Colombia, at a dental checkup

John, a sponsored child in Colombia, gets his teeth cleaned during a dentist's visit to communities in the CFCA Bogota project.

For families living in remote areas, traveling to town to see the dentist can take several hours, even if you have a car. Many children walk through the mountains to get to school, let alone the dentist.

And for families struggling with poverty, paying for dental care is another matter entirely.

CFCA sponsorship benefits often include periodic dental checkups and treatment. An example is our project in Bogota, Colombia.

Right now Ginna Gomez, a dentist, is visiting almost 1,000 CFCA sponsored children in the Bogota project in an extensive 16-week process.

She sees and treats 60 children a week and will finish sometime in June.

“It is a beautiful process because the children get excited when we start their treatment and they also get excited seeing us at the (CFCA office) and near their houses,” she said. “They like to receive this benefit.” Read more

Jan 24 2012

What do sponsored children want to know in letters?

CFCA sponsored children from Colombia talk about letters and what they want to hear from sponsors.

Jackelin, CFCA sponsored child in Colombia


Jackelin, 11

“I would like it if they told me about their family, friends and their cat. Also I would like them to tell me about where they live, how the city and country are.

“I would like to personally know and thank them for all the things they have given me. I would also like them to send me lots of pictures.”

Kevin, CFCA sponsored child in Colombia


David, 7

“I want to know what my sponsor eats, and if they eat what they like. I would also like him to tell me where he lives and to send a photo.”

Kevin, 7

“… if there are robbers where my sponsor lives and if his work is going well.”

Jennifer, 9

“I would like to know how my sponsor’s family and children are doing and whether he has all he needs. I would like for my sponsor always to support me in everything I do, and am grateful that he gives me much love. I work very hard and send him lots of hugs and kisses.”

Wendy, CFCA sponsored child from Colombia


Wendy, 7

“I would like them to tell me how they are doing, if they live with the family and for them to send me a photo.”

Katherine, 16

“I would like to know how their whole family is doing, and how he is doing since I last heard from him, how it’s been going in the [U.S.] Air Force, what has happened in his life since he last wrote.

“Also, what food he likes, if he is sick or well, his birthday so I can send a card and a happy birthday greeting, how old he is, if he lives with his children, if his wife is still alive, if he is a grandfather, if he still has his dogs.

“I’d like to know if he has received the letters I sent with thanks for his support and help. But the most important for me is to know how he is.”

Related links:

5 great letter-writing ideas for your sponsored friend

Oct 29 2011

CFCA in the blogosphere: 8000 for 8000 + Jose Miguel

CFCA blogWe’ve had two wonderful blog posts from CFCA sponsors this last week!

Both these blog posts feature Walk2gether and the campaign to find sponsors for 8,000 kids. With the support of people like Suzanne and Tina, we’re making progress toward that goal!

1) 8000 for 8000

Suzanne, a CFCA sponsor, highlighted her personal sponsorship experience on her blog and also pointed to our consistently high evaluations by independent charity evaluators.

Here’s an excerpt …

“The president of CFCA walked 8000 miles between December 2009 and June 2011 to bring attention to families in poverty. He would like to have 8000 children sponsored, one for each mile he walked. …

“I can attest to how wonderful the sponsorship experience is. Weíve been sponsoring Ivan from Colombia since 2009. Itís one of the best things we’ve ever done. We just received his Christmas card last week, complete with a recent picture. Heís just adorable and itís been great to see how heís grown throughout the last two years.”

Read the full blog post: 8000 for 8000

2) Jose Miguel ~ Sponsorship & Prayers

Tina Fisher posted a beautiful picture of Jose Miguel to her blog. Here’s his story:

Jose†Miguel was born on April 28, 2010 to a mother who is 20 years old and a father who is 25.†† He likes to play with cars and is learning Spanish.† He is said to be so sweet and has special needs regarding his health,†he has Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus.

“His†mother and father both work, yet they have so many problems as their income is too low to cover all the needs for little Jose Miguel.† He lives in a home with mud walls, a zinc roof, and a dirt floor.† He sleeps on a wooden bed, cooking is done by firewood and lastly, six people live in this home.††The family income is about $15 USD per month.

“My prayers, if it’s God’s will, are for me to use my blog & tweeting to help this family gain†sponsorship.† Sponsorship is $30 USD per month.†”

Read the full blog post: Jose Miguel

Sep 14 2011

Recipe from Colombia: Champú drink

CFCA-Cali, Colombia, recipe for champu beverage

A champú drink from the CFCA project in Cali, Colombia.

CFCA serves more than 20,000 sponsored children and elderly in Colombia. Our staff members there sent us this refreshing recipe for a champú drink!

This recipe makes about 25 medium-size glasses and takes several days to make. It uses the lulo fruit, which tastes like tangy pineapple or a combination of lime and rhubarb. Concentrate from the fruit juice may be purchased online. See the full recipe

Sep 12 2011

How CFCA projects worldwide celebrate Christmas, part 1

Even though it’s only September, it’s never too early to start thinking about sending your sponsored friend a Christmas card! Because mail can be slow, we recommend scheduling six to eight weeks for a letter to arrive at your friend’s project.

We interviewed several CFCA projects around the world about last year’s Christmas celebrations for sponsored friends and their families. Here are the answers from three projects: Merida, Mexico; Santa Ana, El Salvador; and Bogota, Colombia.

Sponsored children select their own gifts in a CFCA Christmas celebration in Bogota, Colombia

Sponsored friends buy their own gifts during CFCA Christmas celebrations in Bogota, Colombia.

How do you select the types of gifts for sponsored children?

Merida: When Christmas approaches, one thinks about cold days coming. Those lucky enough to live close to family take this time to meet, and those who are not as close spend time with friends. The point is to spend time with those around us.

But while this season fills us with smiles, snow, warm clothing and abundant food, Christmas is a moment of reflection. Christmas is the date when Jesus Christ was born.

Christmas is a moment of humility that fills our hearts, but not with chocolates, stuffed turkey or Christmas carols. We must open our hearts to peace, love, happiness, contentment, and give back for all the blessings we have received. Read more

Aug 24 2011

Letter to CFCA sponsors: ‘A dignified place to house my family’

Stacy King, CFCA mission awareness trip coordinator, recently traveled to Colombia and brought home this beautifully moving story of a family served by CFCA. Family members lost their house during a landslide, but they have a new home thanks to the project’s emergency need fund and CFCA staff support.

One of the activities on a CFCA mission awareness trip that always seems to stand out are the visits to CFCA sponsored friendsí homes.

Families warmly open their homes and their hearts to complete strangers.

CFCA picture of Wendy, Erica and Kevin, part of Blanca's family in El Salvador

From left are Wendy, Blanca’s granddaughter, sponsored through CFCA; Erica, Blanca’s niece who also lives in the family home; and Kevin, Blanca’s son, also sponsored through CFCA. Blanca wrote a beautiful thank-you letter to CFCA sponsors.

Most visits are only 10-15 minutes, but they can open your eyes to the different realities of each family and how each is part of CFCAís community of compassion.

In the central mountains of Colombia, a small group of CFCA staff and sponsors visited the home of a woman who has been active in CFCAís program for many years, as both a mother and now a grandmother.

Through sponsorship and CFCA, Blanca was able to rebuild her home after a municipal water main broke behind her hillside home.

The saturated land could not support its own weight and gave way to a landslide, which left the home buried with the family inside.

Blanca and the CFCA staff shared with us the familyís story as we toured their newly built, solid, concrete home.

We met her eldest daughter and youngest son (sponsored in the CFCA program), her granddaughter (also sponsored) and her niece who lives in the home with them.

Blanca shared that on the night of the mudslide, she was not sure if she would see her whole family again, but she did. Everyone survived. Read more