Tag: El Salvador

Nov 7 2012

Sponsored youth in El Salvador gets his just ‘desserts’

Ever has been sponsored through the Hope for a Family program since he was 8 years old.

CFCA sponsorship helped Ever, 19, go to school to achieve his dream of becoming a chef.

Watch this short video of Ever telling a group of mission awareness trip travelers about his recipe for a successful future.

Oct 29 2012

Letters to sponsored friends translate into smiles

Did you know that every year, we process more than 1 million letters from sponsored friends to their sponsors?

That’s tremendous cause for celebration! Behind every letter is a special story and friendship that we treasure.

Here are three sponsored children in El Salvador who recently received letters from their sponsors. Their smiles say it all.

CFCA sponsored child Norma in El SalvadorNorma is 8 years old. She enjoys attending school and playing with her friends. Photos, like the one Norma is holding from her sponsor, are a fun, meaningful and practical way to deepen ties between sponsors and sponsored friends.

CFCA sponsored child Veronica in El SalvadorVeronica, at 10 years old, writes frequently to her sponsor. They share many things in common. For example, their favorite cartoon is “Tom and Jerry.”

CFCA sponsored child Luis in El SalvadorLuis is 10 years old. He loves to play soccer. Here he is, reading aloud from his sponsor’s letter.

Developing a sense of friendship and mutual encouragement is one of the most rewarding aspects of sponsorship through CFCAís Hope for a Family program.

Don’t wait – write a letter to your sponsored friend today!

Sep 20 2012

Good news around the CFCA world

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

CFCA sponsored seminarians in the Philippines

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

Sep 17 2012

Former scholar in El Salvador now works for CFCA

We can’t say enough good things about our co-workers in the field! They are often the first face of CFCA that our sponsored children and aging friends see.

Jenny Cruz, CFCA staffer in El Salvador

Jenny Cruz, CFCA staffer in El Salvador.

We especially wanted to share Jenny’s story. She started working for CFCA-El Salvador in March 2003.

This is what her colleague, Naresli Calito, says about her: “All families in the sponsorship program and CFCA staff members know her name. She is very responsible and an honest leader in her work area. She knows her potential and she gives her best at work.”

When did you first hear about CFCA?

A [CFCA] social worker came to my house and said, “We want to find sponsors for these two children,” and they were my brother Melvin and my sister Alba.

After they were sponsored, [CFCA] offered me a scholarship in 2001. I remained a scholar until my high school graduation.

How was the experience as a CFCA scholar?

It was a learning experience. Through my community service at the project, I learned everything about the social workers’ job and thanks to that, after I graduated from high school, CFCA offered me a part-time job.

I worked side by side with social workers. They told me, “A number of mothers and their sponsored children will come; you will supervise their letter writing.”

Almost 100 children would make a line for me to review their letters! Read more

Sep 6 2012

CFCA helps youth in El Salvador fight gang pressure

In some parts of El Salvador, crime is a big problem. Gangs try to convince youth that crime can provide a better life with little effort.

CFCA scholars and sponsored youth in El Salvador

Cristian, center, is a youth sponsored through CFCA in El Salvador. On his right is Luis, a CFCA scholar, playing the guitar.

We recently talked with Yesenia Alfaro, CFCA project coordinator in Santa Ana, who said the moral support of sponsorship is helping youth resist the lure of crime and gangs.

What are the challenges that youth in El Salvador face?

They live with discouragement, with an education system that is not the best.

If they can succeed in school or in high school, the percentage of college graduates is very low. Even if they finish college, the employment opportunities are minimal.

Keeping young people motivated requires hard work and effort, because they have all these situations. In a numerous family, the oldest sibling often has to sacrifice their education.

Single mothers have to raise their children as a mother and as a father. This is also one of the difficulties that young people have, in that there is no father figure in many homes.

I believe the hardest part is that young people are constantly invited to be part of a gang and are vulnerable because they have so many needs and few options.

The gang members say to young people, “You can’t earn in the decent way, but there is an easy way to earn money. You’ll have everything easily and faster.”

Sometimes the youth believe them and join the gang. But sometimes they don’t want to get involved, and then gangs try to hurt them or their family members.

Do you know a story of a youth involved with gangs? Read more

Jul 31 2012

‘We translate more than letters, we translate hope’

Karla Manzur and CFCA sponsored child, Jaime, in El Salvador.

CFCA translator, Karla Manzur, helps CFCA sponsored child Jaime write a letter to his sponsor.

Karla Manzur has worked as a translator at the communications center in El Salvador for the past four years.

CFCA-El Salvador holds letter-writing day workshops where translators help CFCA social workers supervise the writing, spelling and legibility in letters written by sponsored children, youth and aging friends.

Karla attended her first letter-writing day workshop in February 2012.

“It changed my way of thinking,” Karla said. “When you start working as a translator you don’t understand how important a letter is to the sponsors and sponsored relationship. This visit made me realize that we cannot request a child to write a perfect letter.”

Translators attend letter-writing day to learn more about the communities where we work and the difficulties the sponsored individuals face when writing letters to their sponsors.

Ana, CFCA sponsored child, in El Salvador.

Ana, a CFCA sponsored child, writes a letter to her sponsor, John.

It also allows Karla to discover more about the Salvadoran culture and the lifestyles of people in the United States.

Karla feels like a family member when she translates letters.

Translators have an important role in the communication between sponsors and sponsored friends by strengthening the bonds of friendship between the two.

Being a translator gives Karla the experience of traveling across the world as she translates letters from sponsors.

For Karla, her work is rewarding.

She isn’t just translating any document. It is about translating the sponsored members’ dreams, wishes and their joy of being sponsored.

Related links

Jul 6 2012

CFCA Communications Centers: Santa Ana, El Salvador

Henry, CFCA communications center in El Salvador

Henry Flores, director of the CFCA Communications Center in El Salvador

Although we call them centers, which sound like big operations, they actually consist of one or a few local staff members. They help us find and feature stories from our sponsored children and aging friends.

We’d like to introduce you to each communications center liaison, continuing with Henry Flores, director of the CFCA Communications Center in El Salvador.

On Jan. 10, 1981, at 3 p.m., my dad, brother and I were at an ice cream shop. My brother was 13 years old and I was 9.

We were eating a vanilla banana split when we heard high-caliber gunshots accompanied by strong detonations, similar to what grenades sound like in Hollywood movies.

Employees started to close the place. Other customers ran out. My dad looked at us, and I saw fear in his eyes.

We ran outside. Gray smoke was in the air. I felt his arm around me. It did not feel like a hug; it felt like protection. I did not know my life was changing to an unexpected future.

That was the day that a 12-year civil war started in my country, El Salvador. The local army base, about two blocks away from the ice cream shop, was under attack.

The civil war caused pain, death and the migration of thousands of Salvadorans, including me.
Read more

Jun 13 2012

Sponsorship helps families afford school, part 3

In the past few weeks, we’ve looked at several examples (first in Kenya, second in India) of how sponsorship empowers families to support their children’s education. Today we finish the series by looking at El Salvador and closing the technology gap.

Rosa and Edwin, CFCA sponsored child in El Salvador

Edwin, a CFCA sponsored youth, with his mother, Rosa, at the CFCA project office in El Salvador.

For students living in poverty, computers are seen as expensive luxuries that only the rich can afford. Many schools do not provide computer training.

Unless they find a way to learn computers, students have trouble keeping up.

“When students reach high school or college, their teachers expect them to know how to access the Internet, download assignments, do research and check grades,” said Yesenia Alfaro, project coordinator for CFCA in Santa Ana, El Salvador.

(You can read more about Yesenia’s interview and the technological gap for students in developing countries here.)

To help level the playing field for CFCA sponsored students, the project contracted with local technical schools to offer computer classes to students ages 13 to 20. CFCA also covers the cost of transportation to class for students in rural areas. Read more

May 31 2012

Finding light in the darkness: Helping sponsored children in El Salvador

Henry Flores, director of the CFCA communications center in El Salvador, recently traveled to our Kansas City office. During his stay he received training and also taught us about his work with our Salvadoran colleagues. This is the transcript of a speech he presented to the CFCA staff.

Henry Flores

Henry Flores

Note: The names of the individuals mentioned in this story have been changed to protect their identity and privacy.

Francisca’s story

It is 5 a.m.

Francisca, mother of a 2-year-old boy and a 7-month-old baby, is waiting for the early public transportation that will bring her from her humble community to the hospital for children in San Salvador, El Salvador’s capital.

While she waits on the road, a speeding truck crashes into her, killing her and her 2-year-old. The crash also leaves her baby highly injured.

The driver runs away, leaving behind his crashed truck.

To this date, no reports have been received from the local authorities about his identity or current location.

A few days later, the baby died at a public hospital.

Francisca was on her way to the hospital in San Salvador to try to get one space, along with hundreds of other mothers, just for her baby to see a doctor. Read more

Mar 13 2012

Technological gap widening for students in developing countries

Access to technology such as computers and the Internet can present great challenges for children and their families living in poverty. Here are some thoughts from Yessenia Alfaro, coordinator of CFCA’s project in Santa Ana, El Salvador.

The technological gap between students in developed countries is huge compared to students in developing countries. And the difference between those in cities and those in rural areas is big too.

CFCA scholar Venancia in El Salvador

CFCA scholar Venancia, 20, is studying English in the National University of El Salvador. She says computer skills are essential for academic performance. 'Most of the time we are given homework and (people without computer skills) cannot research for it, therefore they don't study, and if they don't study, they do not get good grades,' she said.

Those in rural areas have less access to learning about technology. Those who do must travel from their communities into the city and pay for Internet and computer access. Those living in the city can easily walk to a cyber cafÈ, for example.

At the same time, students who visit cyber cafÈs are exposed to many other risks. No legal entity monitors these businesses.

They are not created as an educational tool, but will offer any service that customers look for, including access to dangerous websites.

These places are visited by people who want to watch pornography, play online games where predators are connected, as well as those who really want to research or do homework.

Unfortunately, cyber cafÈs sometimes become a dangerous addiction for students rather than a tool for their education.

Students who live in rural areas are much more exposed to these problems because their experience with technology is less, as well as their understanding of these dangers. Read more