Tag: India

Sep 28 2012

First-generation student goes to college

CFCA sponsored youth Alfred.

CFCA sponsored youth Alfred.

Alfred is a sponsored youth from Bhagalpur, India, who is the first person from his village to attend college. Alfred is also a CFCA scholarship student, which helps cover other costs related to his education. Alfred sat down with Sreekanth, our communications liaison in India, to tell us about the academic and social challenges heís experienced as a college freshman.

Are you a first-generation college student? If so, how were you given this opportunity to attend college? Why did you decide to attend?

My father studied up to the ninth grade. He understands the value of education and encouraged me to study. Even though my college is very far away, he tried every opportunity to pay the fees and enroll me in school.

I am the first person to attend college from my village.

The hotel management and catering technology degree is a three-year diploma, and it is very expensive.

Though it is expensive, I preferred it because of CFCA’s sponsorship and scholarship support. I paid part of my college fees with CFCA’s help through sponsorship support and my CFCA scholarship. I was able to take out a bank loan for the remaining costs. Read more

Sep 4 2012

Taking photos of sponsored children in India

Each year we take a new photo of every child and aging friend sponsored through CFCA ñ more than 300,000 photos. This helps sponsors stay in touch with their friend and keeps our records updated.

Our Bhagalpur project in India serves about 7,400 sponsored children and elderly, many of them living in remote villages. Joachim Hansdak, a CFCA staffer there, recently traveled to take more than 3,000 pictures of sponsored friends. Let’s follow him on his journey!

Joachim, CFCA staff worker in Bhagalpur, India

Joachim, CFCA staff worker in Bhagalpur, India.

A month before he travels, Joachim prepares a trip schedule in collaboration with the CFCA project coordinator.

His schedule ranges from 15 days to one month, traveling from one CFCA community to another without coming back to Bhagalpur to save time.

After the trip schedule is finalized, CFCA social workers plan to conduct photo sessions in their respective areas.

(Usually social workers communicate CFCA activities such as the annual photo sessions and letter-writing camps to mothers of sponsored children in their monthly support group meetings.) Read more

Jul 27 2012

How we see success in the lives of families, part 2

We’re posting a series of blog posts on what success looks like for CFCA. Here are some goals of the Hope for a Family program, and stories that exemplify how those goals are being met in the field. We hope it encourages you, as it does us, to see hope growing in families.

GOAL: We want to empower families to develop their own means of support, so that they come to rely more on themselves and less on the Hope for a Family program.

Jorge Mario with jam in Guatemala

CFCA scholar Jorge Mario.

Jorge Mario is a scholarship student in Guatemala. His CFCA scholarship provides a modest stipend to pay for his educational expenses, but the scholarship alone is not enough to cover all Jorge’s costs.

His brother, Luis, realized this, and began a jam- and jelly-making project to supplement Jorge’s income.

Luis started the project because he dreamed of creating sources of employment and opportunities for the youth in his community.

Currently, seven CFCA scholarship students participate in the project. They operate a small business, selling the jars at a modest profit.

When combined with their scholarship, the students earn enough from the jam business to pay for their educational expenses.

Jorge Mario is working toward his bachelor’s degree in agroforestry. Most of Jorge Mario’s educational costs are for transportation to and from school, and he says the jam- and jelly-making business makes it possible for him to move forward. Read more

Jul 25 2012

Former sponsored child in India now serving community

Congratulations to Muthu, one of our formerly sponsored children, who is now deputy collector of a district in India!

Muthu, former CFCA sponsored child in IndiaMuthu and his sister, Sheela, were both sponsored through CFCA in a rural Indian village with about 80 residents. They were the first in their family to complete their education.

Muthu finished high school, then a bachelor’s degree in math. Afterward, Muthu earned his master’s and took the Indian Civil Services exam.

He passed on his first try, a rare accomplishment especially for a first-generation student!

“A student of a remote rural village passing the IAS exam is a great achievement,” said Sarita Mendanha, CFCA project coordinator in Hyderabad. “As the exams are extremely tough and highly competitive, the student has to work very hard and needs to be highly motivated to pass. For a first-generation learner to pass it, hats off to Muthu.”

Now 28, Muthu has been appointed deputy collector of a district in Uttar Pradesh.

“We were overjoyed hearing this news that one of our CFCA children has become the deputy collector of a district,” Sarita said.

Read more about Muthu’s story on our website.

Jul 17 2012

How we see success in the lives of families, part 1

Editor’s note: Some of the names of people mentioned in this blog post have been changed to ensure their privacy and protection.

Our goal at CFCA is to help families build a path out of poverty. And we mean it. So we frequently seek to grow and improve our programs.

We want to know if what we’re doing is successful. It matters to us, to the families we serve and to the people who trust us with their support.

We hear encouraging stories of how the Hope for a Family program is changing families’ lives. We thought you might want to hear those stories, too.

Over the next few weeks we’ll share some of our goals with you, along with stories that exemplify how they’re being met in the field.

We hope it encourages you, as it does us, to see hope growing in families.

GOAL: We want families to become self-sustaining, relying on their own income-generating activities to feed their families and plan for the future.

Grupo de madres

Grupo de madres ó a mothers group in Costa Rica learns to sew in order to earn extra income for their families.

CFCA works with families in Heredia, Costa Rica, a rapidly industrializing community about six miles north of San Jose.

The reality for families living in Heredia is harsh. They live in slums and struggle with social problems. Many live in river basins or dangerous areas threatened by landslides.

In a rough area such as this, hope can be just out of arm’s reach. But the CFCA mothers groups, support and income-generating groups for mothers of sponsored children, give these mothers an extra boost.

Marcela and Nora are two mothers of CFCA sponsored children in Heredia who taught 15 other mothers to sew.

These mothers in turn taught members of their CFCA mothers groups. Read more

Jun 8 2012

Sponsorship helps families afford school, part 2

Last week we blogged about Rachel in Kenya, who received a school uniform through money saved from sponsorship benefits.

Providing children with the required uniform, books and supplies does not guarantee they will learn. The quality of the school has a significant impact on the child’s education.

Manjula lives in the Rasulpura slum in Hyderabad, India, with her two children. Her 12-year-old daughter, Aarthi, is sponsored through CFCA’s Hope for a Family program. Manjula earns about $60 a month as a maid.

Aarthi, her brother and her mother

Aarthi with her mother, Manjula, and her brother, Sai, outside their home in Hyderabad, India.

She has switched Aarthi to a different school twice because of overcrowded classrooms. One class of Aarthi’s had 60 schoolchildren.

“It became very difficult for the children to follow the class,” Manjula said. “There was no personal attention towards the children.”

Manjula uses Aarthi’s sponsorship funds to help pay the higher school fees at Aarthi’s current school.

“It is a better school in our locality,” Manjula said. “Each class is in a separate room. Benches are there. Teachers are also good.”

Like CFCA projects in Kenya, the Hyderabad project deposits sponsorship funds into a child account. Parents decide how to use the funds with oversight from their CFCA social worker.

CFCA sponsorship can impact other siblings in the family, too. Because Aarthi is sponsored, Manjula belongs to a CFCA mothers group. She borrowed money from her group’s collective savings program to send her son to school.

May 10 2012

How to wrap a sari (saree)

By Sreekanth Gundoji, CFCA communications liaison in India

Ever wondered how to wrap a sari? This video will show you!

The sari is a traditional dress worn by women in India for many centuries.

Its meaning comes from Sanskrit, an ancient Indian language, which means “strip of cloth.”

The sari is a one-piece item of clothing that fits all women regardless of figure and height.

Its length ranges from approximately 17 to 21 feet (5.30 to 6.30 meters). It is made from different fabrics such as nylon, cotton, silk and polyester.

The sari is worn with a blouse and underskirt or petticoat. It goes well with a fitted matching blouse with embroidery designs.

Editor’s note: In this video, Prameela, a CFCA sponsored youth, wore the sari on top of a T-shirt and jeans, which is not traditional. This was so that she could feel comfortable wrapping the sari in front of the camera.

May 4 2012

Wisdom of the Ages: Joji, 76, from India

Joji, CFCA sponsored aging friend in India

Joji, 76, sponsored through CFCA in India.

Joji, 76, has been sponsored through the CFCA-Hyderabad Hope for a Family program in Nalgonda, India, for more than two years.

Joji now lives in a home for the aging where he offers his knowledge to others by spending his free time visiting the sick and lending his ear to anyone who needs someone to listen.

What is your secret for long life?

I feel God is with me and keeps me going. For God a thousand years is like a day and one day is like a thousand years.

Living each day keeps me going. Sin corrupts the body and also affects society. Leading an honest life and remaining truthful helps to live in peace.

What advice do you have for young people? See his answer

May 2 2012

CFCA sponsored child, Mahesh in India, shares his story

Mahesh, a CFCA sponsored child in India, has huge hopes and dreams!

He wants to become a doctor to look after his parents and provide care to others living in poverty in his community.

Having grown up in difficult economic circumstances, he fully appreciates the value sponsorship provides in helping his father afford his education and school fees.

“There is no doctor in my village,” he says in this video. “I will become a doctor and build a hospital here. I will not take a single dime from the poor.”

Feb 28 2012

CFCA staff member’s life-changing trip to India

By Veronica Lay, CFCA sponsor outreach specialist

Veronica Lay on a CFCA mission awareness trip to India

Veronica receives a warm welcome on her mission awareness trip to South India.

I arrived at the Kansas City airport Jan. 21 to embark on a CFCA awareness trip to South India, unaware that I would soon be forever changed.

I work in Sponsor Services at the CFCA headquarters in Kansas City, which means if you call our toll-free number, there is a good chance I’ll be on the other end of the line.

Most of my work involves helping sponsors with any questions and helping make the sponsorship experience a positive, rewarding one.

I enjoy speaking with our sponsors and was looking forward to meeting many of them face to face. Although I was looking forward to this trip, I was also experiencing a surge of anxiety and panic.

I, like many Americans, have Generalized Anxiety Disorder and experience panic attacks on a regular basis. Read more of Veronica’s story