Tag: Hyderabad

Sep 2 2011

Summer camps for sponsored children in Hyderabad, India

As Labor Day approaches, it signals the unofficial end of summer.

Children spend their final days in the neighborhood pool, and moments spent at summer camp become treasured memories as children refocus their energy on schoolwork.

In India, the end of summer vacation is also a time to refocus on school and say goodbye to the friends and activities they shared during break.

Just like in the U.S., CFCA sponsored children in Hyderabad, India, spend part of their summer break attending summer camp. But summer camps in Hyderabad take place in May.

This video shows how summer camps in Hyderabad provide a healthy forum for sponsored children to develop creative talents, interact with other children in the program, and just relax and have fun.

Jan 19 2011

Indian sponsored friends celebrate Makar Sankranti


Pratyusha, a CFCA sponsored child, draws a rangoli during Makar Sankranti, a major harvest festival in India.

Information for this article was contributed by Sreekanth Gundoji, the communications liaison in Hyderabad.

Many parts of India, especially rural areas, celebrate a major harvest festival, Makar Sankranti, every Jan. 13-16. The festival is tied to the lunar calendar.

Day one: Bhogi

On Bhogi, people burn old items to symbolize getting rid of the old to make way for the new.

Family members gather in the backyard of their house, collect useless furniture and wooden sticks and start the fire.

Afterward people wash their heads and wear fresh clothing. Women also make special dishes for the festival.

In the evening, many families, infants and children are showered with fruit called “regi pandlu” (jujube fruit) to protect them from evil.

Day two: Pedda Panduga

On this day, women and girls make colorful drawings, or “rangoli,” in front of their homes. Children also fly kites.

Rangoli competitions

Mothers take part in the rangoli competitions.

“Since the people living in slums do not have proper place to draw the rangoli, CFCA invited the sponsored members and their families to a common place, where the mothers gathered for rangoli competitions and to participate in song and dance competitions,” says Shilpa Indrakanti, a Hyderabad project staff member. “The participants were awarded accordingly. The children were given kites and gifts along with a tasty lunch.”

Pratyusha, 13, helps her mother by cooking paramannam, one of the festival dishes.

“I like this festival because this is the festival of rangoli,” Pratyusha said. “My mother will draw the outlines of the rangoli and I will do the coloring of it and while cooking paramannam, I cut the jaggery (a sweet food made from sugarcane) to help my mother.”

Day three: Kanuma

For Kanuma, people, especially in rural areas, decorate and feed cows, bulls and other animals important to the agrarian economy and rural culture.

Many farmers will cook and eat food in the fields. Most of the food is non-vegetarian and made from mutton and chicken.



Chandrakanth, 10, said he eats chicken curry cooked by his mother.

Sponsored members in CFCA’s Hyderabad project represent the religions of Hinduism, Islam and Christianity. They are invited to join in celebrating festivals of all three faiths. One of these is Makar Sankranti.

“We organize common recreation and fun activities with singing, dancing and cultural activities as well as writing competitions, quizzing, indoor and outdoor games and other group activities,” said Suresh Singareddy, Hyderabad project coordinator. “The children usually participate enthusiastically in all the events.”

Nov 25 2009

The joy of friendship

Editorís note: Ronald, 21, graduated from the sponsorship program in June of 2008.

RonaldIím Ronald from Hyderabad, India. I come from a family where education was always a daydream. Iím delighted to share a few memories of my life, as I was a fortunate child who has been blessed by God.

CFCA has helped me complete my education and stand on my feet. To make my dreams come true, CFCA came to my aid. Because of their valuable and timely help, my parents were able to enroll me in Mount Carmel High School. CFCA took care of all my educational needs and supported my parents.

Throughout my association with CFCA, I thought all the sponsors belonged to rich families, and helped unfortunate children with their surplus. But to my astonishment, my sponsors, John and Bobby, were an elderly couple who were not wealthy, and were no longer in touch with other family members. I was very joyful to know that they treated me as their grandson.

I remember in one of the letters John told me he had made a big board in his room where he preserved my letters, photographs and paintings, and he read them whenever he felt lonely. I was taken aback by his affection for me.

Sadly, John passed away, but Bobby continued to sponsor me. She also shared with me that after John died I was the only one with whom she could express all her feelings. Iím happy that I was able to know such adoring people.

After I received my education, I got a job with an information technology company. Today, I have everything I need: loving parents, a good education and a fine job. And the two most important people responsible for my life being so good today are my dear sponsors, John and Bobby.

Oct 19 2009

Bob’s notes – Visit to India

Mission awareness trip to India
Oct. 2-13, 2009

The drought this year and just recently the worst flooding in 100 years have caused serious problems for families such as father Narsing, mother Radhika , their 7-year-old sponsored daughter, Archana, and her 5-year-old brother, Pradeep. They plant mainly rice on a 3-acre plot. The family also cares for the grandparents. We are indeed honored to be associated with this beautiful family.

At the inauguration of the CFCA Community Centre in Balanagar Zone-Subproject JGG, we enjoyed a large fiesta. Sponsors handed out Christmas presents. Especially impactful for the sponsors were the 100 or so sponsored girls living at the Divine Word Home. Just a short time ago, they were the throwaway children, the rag pickers in the garbage dumps of Hyderabad. They not only know their sponsorís name, they also know their CFCA ID number.

After telling us her sponsorís name, Veronica said:

“Our golden age began when Mr. Prakash and Mr. Suresh visited us in August 2002. They saw our poverty and our need. Soon CFCA started to look for sponsors. This has helped us leave our rag picking. Now we are attending a prestigious English medium school. We promise you that we will remember you always in our prayers and that we will make good use of this precious chance you are giving us Ö so that we will be able to help others as you help us today.”

What itís all about
Mothers groups in India
At our project in Hyderabad, mothers of sponsored children are taking leadership roles to help their families and communities. More than 600 mothers groups and 10,000 members help manage and operate CFCA programs in Hyderabad and outlying areas. Mothers groups join with social workers to assess needs and design benefit plans. Besides giving mothers a voice in the sponsorship program, the groups help raise the status of women in their communities. Savings plans and low-cost loans to fund small business startups or meet critical family needs are also part of the groups. CFCA currently impacts the lives of more than 11,500 children, youth, aging and their families here.

Visit to Subproject CCP
We heard testimony by a young woman, Jeevan, who is a former sponsored girl and now works as a professional staff nurse. Remarkably, Jeevan herself sponsors a little boy named Malesh. Jeevan is Catholic and Malesh is Hindu. We also heard a high-energy speech by a mother who, before CFCA involvement, was so shy she could not leave her house. Now she is more confident and very active in her mothers group.

Janagam subproject
Bob with his sponsored child and her familyIn Addabata village, I was able to visit my own sponsored child, Archana, together with her mom, dad and little brother. They are a young farm family struggling first with drought and now with flooding. They traveled the 5 kilometers (3 miles) from their home to the main highway on their aging scooter.

After lunch at the major seminary, we visited the 37 aging and 56 children at the leper colony at Karunapuram. The enthusiasm of these lepers and recovering lepers is inspiringóreminds me of recently canonized St. Damien of Molokai.

Visit to CFCA Project Warangal
The Warangal project has started to form mothers groups and at present, there are 65 groups. They have monthly meetings to discuss topics like health, cleanliness, livelihood programs, developing kitchen gardens, childrenís education and community activities. Each mother deposits 50 rupees (about $1) into an account every month and CFCA matches that amount. The buildup of these funds will allow the mothers to obtain micro-credit loans from the group in the future.

Iím looking forward now to our board formation day and regular October board meeting. Following the board meeting, I will meet my wife, Cristina, in Guatemala, and we will head for the mission awareness trip in Chile. Before signing off, I want to say that I am deeply grateful to have shared parts of this India trip with Ilene and Sara from CFCAís International Department in Kansas City.

God’s blessings,

Bob Hentzen

Jan 26 2009

Bob’s notes – Visit to India, part 2

Mission awareness trip
Jan. 6-18, 2009

After spending a most enjoyable week with the sponsors in South India, Cristina, Alvaro Aguilar (Guatemala) and I flew to Hyderabad. We were privileged to visit subprojects, families and mothers groups, together with staff members from CFCA-Kansas and CFCA-Bhagalpur.

Words from a sponsored mother
ìNormally every program ends with the vote of thanks Ö but today this word thanks comes right from the bottom of every motherís heart. Itís not only financial and material knowledge that is given Ö but we are taught how to earn our living, how to educate our children, how to build a good and happy family and how to be a good mother.îóAgnes, Rosevilla Mothers Group

Small mothers group (SMG) leaders conference
This has been a day of inspiration and celebration with about 900 mothers group leaders present and a very high level of energy, identity and ìbuy-inî with the CFCA program.

Inspiring to me were the 20 little girls from subproject BLP, former street children. Sister Margaret shared their stories: This one was abandoned in the railway station. This one was found in the city market. These precious children (ages 2 to10) had prepared a few songs and a birthday cake for Mr. Prakash and they literally became part of my song Esmeralda Ö really because they have lived and are living similar realities today.

Community based
The mothers can be seen walking from their home to the meeting place. The transparency of the program, together with the joy and confidence of the mothers, speak clearly that this program is healthy and sustainable. I believe it can be said that they are truly community-based when our own CFCA colleagues living and serving in their own community give the example of walking with poor without religious, caste or any other prejudice.
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Jan 23 2009

Bob’s notes – Visit to India, part 1

Mission awareness trip
Jan. 6-18, 2009

Sponsors learn the reality of south India; mothers groups become CFCA model
The creativity and dedication of the CFCA community in India has become an ìexpansion-of-vision centerî for staff members from Bolivia, U.S.A, Honduras, Kenya and now Guatemala. Two of our colleagues from Guatemala (Jorge Armas, coordinator, and Alvaro Aguilar, regional director) were invited to participate in the experience of this mission awareness tripófollowed by a more in-depth study of the Hyderabad model of mothers groups. Jorge took ill the night before departure and was not able to travel.

Group orientation
We are happy to be here in Chennai (Madras). All the diocesan priests from the Archdiocese of Chennai together with their archbishop are on retreat at the same convent conference center where we are staying. Father Cyrus Gallagher, a CFCA preacher, was able to concelebrate Holy Mass with them this morning.

12-hour train ride
We made it to the train station in plenty of time for our 12-hour overnight trip to Palay and a good rock-me-to-sleep night on the train in triple-decker sleeping bunks. Athletic types generously scampered upward.

Visit to a familyís home
About 50 kilometers out of Palay, we visited subproject SPT. About 30 mothers and five elderly received us at the humble home of Petchi. For sponsors Gene and Jean, this was a very historical moment, after 11 years of sponsorship of Petchi. Gene said that this day has been one of the ìgreatest in his life.î

The mothers became teachers and the sponsors learners, as we enjoyed a beautiful and meaningful dialog for a couple of hours. One of the special gifts Jean had prepared for Petchi was an anthology of their relationship over these past 11 years. Iím sure it will be treasured.

The profound joy of belonging to CFCA was expressed by children and their mothers, who were clad in sharp-looking blue saris. Following dancing, dialogue and emotional sharing, sponsors were very quiet in the van as we made our way back to Palay in the night under a beautiful Pongal/Harvest Moon.

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Dec 4 2008

Terrorist attacks shake India

By Dan Pearson, CFCA International Project Director

The mood is tense in India after the terrorist attacks in Mumbai.†India is no stranger to terrorist attacks.†One of the parks in Hyderabad where my kids like to play was the location of a terrorist bombing last year.†But the nature of the attacks in Mumbai seems to have affected people here more profoundly than any previous act of terrorism.†

I have been living in the city of Hyderabad, but I was in Delhi the night that the attacks in Mumbai began.†I had spent the day in a nearby town, and my train arrived back in Delhi after 10 p.m.†The reports of the attacks were just beginning at that time, but I didnít hear any news when I arrived at the train station.†I turned on the TV when I got back to my hotel to see why the streets of Delhi were so quiet, and thatís when I learned what was happening in Mumbai.†I called my wife to assure her that I was all right.†I watched the news coverage for several hours that first night, shocked at the extent of the attacks and wondering how the country would react.

I was scheduled to fly back to Hyderabad the next morning.†The drive to the airport was much faster than usual because the traffic was so light.†It appeared that many people decided to stay home that first morning until the scope of the attacks became clearer.†Elections were scheduled in Delhi in a couple of days, and there was speculation that Delhi might also be a target.

Life was pretty normal back in Hyderabad.†But conversations seemed to find their way to discussion of the terrorist attacks.†People wondered why it was taking so long for the army to capture the terrorists and liberate the hostages.†They complained that they werenít more prepared.†They speculated on which cities might be targeted next.†We checked the news several times a day.†Each time we thought we would see that it was all over.†But the crisis refused to end.†

The Indians I have talked with clearly feel less safe than they did a couple of weeks ago.†The brazenness of these attacks and the duration of the standoff have taken a heavy toll on the sense of security.†India has made significant economic progress in recent years, and even a visitor like me can sense a growing confidence among Indians about their country and their future.†These attacks seem to have shaken that confidence, at least for the moment.