Tag: Colombia

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

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.

Feb 14 2011

Mother finds mutual love, support in CFCA workshop

Happy Valentine’s Day to all our readers. On this day, we decided to highlight the love of a special family CFCA serves in Colombia.

Lidia and family in Colombia

Lidia, center, with her three children, from left: Duvon, Yuri and Wilmer.

Benjamin and Lidia are two hard-working parents trying to provide the best for their three children ñ Duvon, Wilmer and Yuri. The two eldest are sponsored in CFCA’s Hope for a Family program.

Lidia is active in a CFCA mothers group and has joined the ìMothers as Leadersî workshop, which prepares mothers to be leaders in their communities and serve as project liaisons for emergencies, announcements and program activities.

“This workshop relieves my stress,” Lidia said. “It’s my time ó a moment for me to step away from washing, cooking and milking. We do exercises, lie on the floor, relax and forget about our burdens. We close our eyes and learn to give ourselves time to realize that we are valuable women.”

The group ñ a source of friendship, community and education ñ has become Lidiaís own valentine. It has given her new skills and renewed her commitment to provide the best possible future for her children.

This family’s love is mirrored in thousands of other families throughout the CFCA world. On Valentineís Day, we celebrate that love.

Read more about Lidia’s story.

Sep 20 2010

Colombia’s Feria de las Flores (Fair of the Flowers)

The Feria de las Flores, or Fair of the Flowers, takes place in Medellin, Colombia, every year. Tr·nsito Hern·ndez, coordinator of the Antioquia project in Colombia, writes about this yearís fair, which took place in August.

2010 Feria de las Flores

Colombia celebrates its 53rd Feria de las Flores, or Fair of the Flowers, in 2010.

“This year we celebrated the 53rd version of the Fair of the Flowers. This fair constitutes one of the most important cultural events in Colombia. … This is an event that unites all the people of Antioquia and many national and foreign tourists who visit the city of Medellin. The city decorates itself for approximately 10 days to enjoy the flowers and a diverse number of recreational, cultural and fun events, which gain in importance year after year.

“Ö Our sponsored children have also participated in a very special manner in the competitions of dance and have won first place. They have also participated in the festival of martial music bands. This year the band from one subproject won the fourth spot in the competition among more than 34 other bands that competed.

“The children are full of hope when they participate and feel very proud of representing CFCA in events as important as this one. From their institutions of education, they also participate in many cultural events of the fair.

“Other forms in which some of our CFCA families participate actively are with stalls for selling different kinds of food and drink. They go out in the streets enjoying the events and the crowd selling water, juices or fast food, generating extra money for the family. Some mothers are hired by restaurants and businesses which attract large crowds and need more employees, even though it is just temporary. It is very clear that the festivities significantly help the economy and many of our families take advantage of these events to make an extra peso.î

Click here to see a Facebook photo album of the flowers, as well as other events from the fair.

Aug 17 2010

Walk2gether moves from Colombia to Ecuador

Walk2gether in Colombia

Walk2gether has left Colombia and entered Ecuador, after covering a distance of 5,043 kilometers and walking through seven countries.

Judith Bautista, right, coordinator in CFCAís Bogota project, and Bertha Duran, left, coordinator in the Cali project, both in Colombia, reflect on their experiences with Walk2gether in their country.

Judith Bautista: Walking with the flag of CFCA

After walking almost two months in the company of the sponsored members and their families, throughout all the CFCA projects and its communities, Walk2gether left Colombia to enter Ecuador. This has been a very special experience; it has represented great benefits for all of us staff members in Colombia, and it has helped to unify the teams and projects of CFCA in Colombia.

The unity that we have developed among staff members and sponsored families is stronger than before. We are called to work harder toward the empowerment of the families and mothers, which directly enhances the creation of communities of compassion in our projects.

We witness how people came out to greet us, to offer us their best wishes, to bless us, and for me, this is walking with the flag of CFCA, which is the flag of Hope for a Family.

Ending Walk2gether in Colombia is a bittersweet moment, full of mixed feelings, because we have been so happy and received so much inspiration in this walk. But we are sad because we are not going to continue physically walking.

Bertha Duran: The beginning of a new vision

This walk has been exciting and rewarding. It has made all of us involved in CFCA proud that we were able to carry such a huge and strong mission. It is a great feeling to know that we were able to comply with the sacrifice made by staff, families and sponsored members while walking in Colombia.

This walk taught us very much about teamwork, solidarity, respect and hard work, but the most important thing that we learned is that in spite of feeling tired, hungry and thirsty, we need to continue with strong steps toward the completion of our hopes of a better world.

We had many teenagers, both sponsored youth and scholarship students, walking. This experience has helped them to restructure their own goals in life, realizing that it is worthwhile to fight for opportunities and their dreams.

This walk has offered our sponsored members and their families a sense of a new beginning, where there has been a before and after in their lives, a breath of hope and the call to live in solidarity, respect and unity as a family.

This is not the end of the walk; this is the beginning of a new vision that reminds the sponsored members and their families that we believe in them, that they are worthy and that we want to see them reaching their hopes and dreams out of poverty.

Jul 8 2010

Hope for my family

By Ruth Hubenthal, Sponsor Services Representative and CFCA sponsor

Rose petalsI had the opportunity to go on a mission awareness trip to Bogota, Colombia last week, and I met Juliana, the girl that I have sponsored for the past two and a half years, along with her family. I wonít say that the trip was life changing in an earth-shattering-kind-of way, but there was a more subtle change, soft, like the rose petals that surrounded us along the entire trip.

I spent a day with Juliana and her mother, Elizabeth, and we shared stories about our families and about challenges we had to overcome, about our likes and dislikes, about plans we have for the future. We felt that we were a part of the same family, and said as much to each other. What I told her is that I saw hope in her eyes and in her voice, and in turn, that gave me hope. Hope for a family. Hope for MY family.

Elizabeth is going to be a grandmother at 35. Her oldest daughter, Deisy, is going to have a baby in November. Deisyís only 15. But this family doesnít sit back and feel sorry for themselves: they are already talking about the baby, talking to the baby and planning on how to make his or her life better and brighter. Deisy and the babyís father are both planning on continuing school, Elizabeth intends to stay home with her grandchild, and give that opportunity of education to her children.

Ruth with Juliana and her motherItís a simple story, a reality that is not uncommon in these communities, but I think that Elizabethís sacrifice of her personal goals and dreams to give her family a better life, is, in a way, fulfilling her goal. As a mother, I understand that, and I understand that itís not always easy. Thatís what gives ME hope as I support this family. That the love of a mother can help make the world a better place, that sponsoring Juliana and giving the family an opportunity to overcome their poverty can encourage them to stay hopeful.

Mothers like Elizabeth plant seeds of hope in their children and cultivate that hope. And the end result is as beautiful as the roses that are planted and cultivated in that region of Colombia. Itís tangible, and itís just the most beautiful feeling.

Jun 25 2010

Walker, where are you going?

Deisy

Thirteen years ago, there was a young girl in the Colombian town of Tarso with no clear goals or dreams. But one day some people came by her house asking what the needs of her family were, and suddenly a hope for her future awakened.

Thanks to the those social workers and two angels, her sponsors, the young girl, Yuli, started to feel motivated in her schooling and improving herself each day. God was granting her opportunities through the people Yuli considered her angels.

As the years went on, Yuli, the girl who previously didnít have any aspirations, now had a defined path. She was attending high school as a result of the financial support and encouragement of her angels, and kept focused on the dream she wanted to accomplish, which was to graduate.

Yuli, with determination, kept telling herself, ìI will keep on no matter what.î Her efforts were worth it as she reached that goal and after graduation started a career with CFCAís Madre Paula project.

She experienced the love of her angels and is grateful to them for the many years of spiritual and financial help. Yuli also thanks God for allowing her journey to cross paths with her sponsors.

Yuliís words of wisdom:

“Life has great opportunities in store for the ones who assume challenges and take risks.

Sponsorship may change the course of a personís life entirely if that person learns to take full advantage of it, but their work does not end there. They must become like a hummingbird that is so skillful in spreading seeds from branch to branch, from flower to flower. There are not limits but definite purposes for the ones that take the opportunity.

Dream, fly, share and never forget that there will be angels on your way.”

This reflection was written by Deisy Yuliana Betancur Cardenas, former sponsored child and now a CFCA staff member in the Madre Paula project in Colombia. Yuli shared her reflection with participants on a CFCA mission awareness trip in Colombia in May.