Tag: India

Jan 30 2013

CFCA staff member reflects on everyday blessings

Veronica BattonBy Veronica Batton, CFCA writer/editor

I found my old passport the other day while cleaning my kitchen. I have no idea why I chose the kitchen to store this important document, but that’s a story for another time.

When I found my passport, I realized I was coming up on my one-year anniversary of my CFCA awareness trip to India.

I still remember that trip vividly. The bright colors of pinks, blues and golds woven into the women’s saris; the lovely smell of incense; the happy smiles on the faces of CFCA friends and families; discovering delicious foods; and also witnessing the extreme poverty, which impacts much of the country.

When I came back, I promised myself that I would do my best to always be grateful for all the blessings in my life.

I remember a time over the summer when I was having a rough day; I was becoming more and more frustrated with whatever was bothering me. (I was probably mad at my flat iron.)

I made a conscious decision to stop and reflect on the things I was grateful for, and my frustration started to melt away.

Working as a writer/editor at CFCA I learn so much about the sponsored friends and their families ó I learn about their love for life, their strength and their daily realities.

The everyday necessities and comforts in life I sometimes take for granted are not easily accessible for families living in poverty. Here are some examples: Read more

Jan 22 2013

Helping end violence in India by empowering women, girls

Elizabeth-AlexBy Elizabeth Alex, CFCA community outreach and media relations director

The voice of powerless women in India has been heard.

It’s tragic that it took the rape, torture and agonizing death of a promising young physiology student to bring that voice to the world.

“I am heartbroken about the news of this young woman,” said Paul Pearce, CFCA director of global strategy. “She was heroic to hold her head up high and go to school. I hear she had big dreams of building a hospital back in her village.”

CFCA has more than 35,000 sponsored children and aging friends in India. We also support a home for boys from the streets in Delhi, the city where the young woman was attacked.

Our staff and families understand how the simple act of boarding a bus can become a deadly decision; women and the poor are vulnerable and become targets just by reaching for their dreams.

“The heroic journey on the path out of poverty can be a daunting and even lonely task,” Pearce said. “Many in the communities where we work live in a state of isolation.”

We are learning that most of the five young men, who are charged with luring the 23-year-old woman and her friend onto a bus with the promise of a ride, came from a slum neighborhood. They have no jobs, and are unable to hire an attorney to represent them.

CFCA works in India and 21 other countries to end this violent cycle with a model that focuses on the individual and his or her needs while building safe and responsible communities. Read more

Jan 15 2013

Mother in India starts family business


Sathya opened her own store with help from a CFCA mothers group loan.

We recently heard from our Hyderabad project in India about several mothers of sponsored children who are exemplifying the potential of families living in poverty. Here’s the story of Sathya – enjoy!

My family and I live in a remote village in India.

My husband used to be a contract worker; the income he earned was not enough to support our family.

I had an opportunity to take out a loan through my mothers group.

I talked with my husband, and we both shared the idea of opening a store in our village.

He supported my idea and agreed to purchase the required materials for the store.

First, I opened the store in our home.

I soon repaid the first loan, and I took out another loan to purchase a kiosk made with wood.

After that was repaid, I asked for a third loan to buy a refrigerator to keep a few cool drinks in the store.

After a few years, my husband left his job and is helping me run the business. Read more

Jan 10 2013

What the Santals can teach us: Sreekanth, CFCA communications liaison for India

Sreekanth, CFCA communications liaison for India

Sreekanth, out on location, wearing a traditional hat of the Santal tribe.

By Sreekanth Gundoji, CFCA communications liaison for India

Each CFCA sponsored friend and family has a story to tell.

For the families of the Santal tribes living in remote areas of India between Nepal and Bangladesh, the story is especially compelling.

As CFCA’s communications liaison in India, I have the honor to tell their story.

The Santals depend on nature for their survival. Agriculture is their way of life.

As their villages are spread across four Indian states and are miles away from towns, they create their own communities with whatever resources are available. They build houses with mud and clay supported by bamboo sticks and cover the roof with grass, straw and tiles made of mud.

The Santals are wrongly considered “behind the times” by many in India, and their way of life may seem rugged to you and me.

But the Santal people can teach all of us important lessons. They take nothing for granted, and they have a lot to share about using scarce resources in the most sustainable ways.

Their culture and religious observances are colorful, dynamic and unique. To the Santals, dancing is essential to life. Read more

Dec 6 2012

Sponsored youth: ‘Sponsorship has been my miracle’

CFCA sponsored child, SabinaMy name is Sabina. I have been sponsored through CFCA for many years.

I was born to a very large family of 11 in a remote village 50 miles (80 kilometers) away from the nearest populated city.

My family has faced many difficulties.

There were days when we only had one meal. I used to join my sisters in carrying firewood from a distant jungle so that my mother could cook. Sometimes, we would collect leaves to sell in order to support ourselves.

When I was old enough to go to school 16 years ago, my parents told me that I needed to stay back and help graze cattle because they could not afford to send both me and my brother to school. I wept for days.

A year later, my life changed. God heard my cry when my family received news that I had been sponsored through CFCA.

Because of sponsorship, my parents could finally afford to send me to school. It was then that I made the serious decision to study hard and support my family.

There were times that I had to discontinue my studies because of poverty, but I can now say that I have graduated at the top of my class, and feel that I can support myself.

I recently accepted a job offer and now work as a branch postmaster in Dumka, India. I am one of the first from my village to work for the government.

Sponsorship has been my miracle. If my sponsor, Antoinette, were not in my life, it would have been an uphill battle to finish school. I would not have been able to complete my education.

She has taken care of me and believed in me so that I could become someone in life. God has done marvelous work in my life through her. I am so thankful.

Nov 30 2012

Family in India overcomes job loss, starts small businesses

C Rose Mary, mother in IndiaWe recently heard from our Hyderabad project in India about several mothers of sponsored children who are exemplifying the potential of families living in poverty. Here’s the story of C. Rose Mary — enjoy!

I have been involved with CFCA for the last 12 years. It helped us during our most difficult period of economic crisis.

When my husband lost his job, we were worried about our family and our children’s future. During that time I took a loan from my CFCA mothers group and started selling vegetables at our rented home. Eventually my vegetable shop became famous locally.

Suddenly the owner of the house where we were staying asked us to move. We didn’t know what to do next.

As I repaid the previous loan, I took another loan and started a small hotel in an industrial area. Now it’s running very well.

The hotel has supported our family for the past five years. My husband purchases groceries and helps prepare the food. He also serves tea in nearby factories. My son and my two daughters also work at the hotel when they are not in school.

Recently I took another loan to repair our house.

My younger daughter Celestina was sponsored through the Hope for a Family program and has now graduated. We are so thankful to CFCA for being with us and helping us to overcome our difficulties.

My advice for other mothers in mothers groups is to start a business with group loans. It will help you to develop your financial status and will also help you to repay the loan to the group.

Nov 19 2012

Gifts mailed from sponsors to children in India go missing

CFCA sponsored child, Komala, in India

Komala, a child sponsored through CFCA in India.

As the holiday season nears, we would like to take this opportunity to remind our sponsors that mailing gifts is primarily a North American tradition. As such, it is often not culturally expected by sponsored friends.

Often, the most deeply meaningful gift a sponsored friend may receive is a heartfelt letter and a family photo that brings you closer.

Also, there are other reasons why it is best not to send large, expensive or costly gifts to your sponsored children and aging friends.

Such gifts result in high customs fees for local CFCA projects and run the risk of theft.

Our project staffers in Hyderabad, India, mentioned recently that they have been receiving packages that have been opened. The area post office could not identify at what point the packages were opened.

In another example, staff members could not find a chain that one sponsor had sent in the mail for her sponsored friend. The package arrived, but without the chain.

“I know sponsors take a lot of pain and care to send these gifts for their sponsored children, and they spend a lot for the postage,” said Clement Boyapati, a CFCA staff member in Hyderabad. “When children don’t receive them and they go missing on the way, we feel so sad.”

Your sponsored friend will still receive a thoughtful gift made possible by the CFCA Christmas Fund, which provides culturally appropriate gifts that are purchased locally from the community, helping to stimulate the area economy.

If you want to send a gift to your friend through the mail, we recommend that packages be no larger than 9 x 12 inches, weigh less than a pound and be less than an inch thick.

We have previously mentioned 18 small gift ideas that fit these guidelines. Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments below!

Nov 5 2012

‘Inspired by our CFCA sponsored friends and their families in India’

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“Bob’s notes” are reports from CFCA President Bob Hentzen, who regularly accompanies mission awareness trip participants. You can see Bob’s full update on his Facebook page.

Photo credits go to Sreekanth Gundoji, CFCA communications liaison, for India.

After a few days at CFCA headquarters in Kansas City, I entered this trip energized and grateful for CFCA board members, co-workers and family.

We are inspired by our CFCA sponsored friends and their families in India. It is a privilege to spend these days with them.

Since 1988, the CFCA presence in India has grown to include 29,315 sponsored children and youth, 860 sponsored aging friends and 1,114 families on our waiting list. Read more

Oct 30 2012

Wisdom of the Ages: Regeena, 67, from India

Regeena, CFCA sponsored aging friend in IndiaRegeena is a 67-year-old widow in India, living in a home for the elderly. She has three grown children and seven grandchildren. When Regeena was younger, she worked in a mill. Regeena lost a foot in an accident at the mill and now has a prosthetic foot.

Regeena has been sponsored since 2007 and enjoys being part of CFCA. “I like visiting [with the CFCA staff members] and making them happy,” she said.

What is your secret for a long life?

I used to work in a mill. That was very good exercise for me. I lost my leg while working and now I use a prosthetic foot.

What advice do you have for young people?

My advice for young people is that they should study well, obey their elders and take care of their grandparents.

What is the most important thing your mother taught you?

My mother taught me to be clean and to work nicely. She always taught me to pray to God.

Tell us something special about yourself. Read Regeena’s answer

Oct 24 2012

‘New hope for the future’: Raising livestock to pay for college

Margaret, mother of a sponsored child in Bhagalpur, India.

Margaret, mother of a sponsored child in Bhagalpur, India.

For some families, a college savings plan has four legs, is covered in hair and eats from a slop bucket.

Raising livestock provides additional income for many sponsored friends and their families, and some take out loans through CFCA to help meet family needs such as education.

Margaret, mother of a sponsored youth in India, did just that to help her son, Paulus, pay for his tuition and realize his educational dreams.

“It gave new hope for our future,” Margaret said.

Margaret and her husband, James, live in a small town near Bhagalpur, India. Other than agriculture, there is little opportunity for business in their village.

Margaret and James wanted their son to receive a quality education, but with the nearest college located 24 hours from their home, it was going to be a challenge.

With the help of his CFCA sponsorship and his familyís contribution, Paulus was able to pay for his tuition, as well as room and board, and is receiving a quality education to prepare him for engineering school.
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