Unbound staff member Amanda Burian recently went on an awareness trip to Guatemala along with her mother and grandmother. All three shared short reflections on their experiences. Read more
Juana, a sponsored elder through Unbound in the Dominican Republic, is part of an elderly group learning to read and write. You can’t miss her energetic smile and voice. She also catches your attention with her sparkling eyes and motherly attitude.
The Unbound office in the Dominican Republic started a tutoring class for sponsored friends who have low grades at school or struggle with homework. The office also hosts a literacy workshop for sponsored elders and parents of sponsored children who are interested in learning to read and write.
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 Sujatha, enjoy!
My husband used to work as a daily laborer for a contractor. He would sell bananas on the side of the road from morning until late in the evening. The contractor would only pay $2.77 USD per day.
We were never assured of a regular income. If my husband fell ill or if the contractor didn’t have fruits to sell, we lost our income for that day.
My husband and I decided together to purchase a puller cart (a large, flat cart with handles used to sell items), so we could sell bananas on our own.
My daughter, Shoba, is sponsored through CFCA. In January, I obtained a loan through my CFCA mothers group and bought a puller cart. Luckily, a store owner allowed us to place our cart in front of his shop on the main road.
My husband goes to purchase the fruits, and I manage the stand until he returns. When he arrives with the new fruits, he continues the work and I go home to manage the household work.
The group loan helped us to purchase the puller cart and the fruits we sell. Now we are receiving a good income to support our family. We are planning to take out another loan through my mothers group, so we can purchase a second puller cart and sell a wider variety of fruits.
My dream is to own our own home and also give a better future to my two daughters.
I am also interested in helping people. I learned this charity from my daughter’s sponsors.
By Jordan Kimbrell, CFCA Sponsor Services
Farming is one of the main sources of income in the Antsirabe region, and the members of this community rely on it.
In 2011, Dolores Reed from Paducah, Ky., who sponsors Olivier in this region of Madagascar, learned from an article that many people in the country don’t have easy access to clean water for drinking, cooking or watering the crops in seasons when rainfall is scarce.
She learned through CFCA that Olivier’s village lacked ready access to clean water. The community where he lives relied on streams, which also served as drinking water for the livestock.
“They didn’t have [good access to] water,” Dolores said. “We take water for granted.” Read more
We’re delighted to share a guest post from Rachel Balducci about her CFCA sponsorship experience. Rachel describes herself first and foremost as a wife and mother. She and her husband, Paul, are the proud parents of five boys and one daughter.
I hate to admit this, but I usually sort of dread guest speakers at Mass. Especially if they speak at the end of Mass when, as is the case with four little boys, I am generally at my wits end.
That was my attitude years ago, as I sat and wrestled my four young sons. A visiting priest climbed up onto the lectern and as he began to speak, I whispered a prayer that my boys could behave for a few extra minutes. Never mind what the priest was about to say, I just wanted to not cause a scene.
Father was at our Mass that weekend to talk about a sponsorship program through Christian Foundation for Children and Aging (CFCA). And as he began to speak, something stirred within me, and my focus shifted from anxiety about my children’s behavior to what this priest was actually saying.
“We need to do this,” I whispered to my husband, seated at the other end of the pew. “I want to sponsor someone.”
In those few minutes that Father spoke, the Holy Spirit changed something inside me. I wanted to be a part of this. I wanted to help. Read more
After working as a day laborer planting corn, Jose had to leave his work behind because of health issues. He and his wife, Socorro, live with relatives and receive benefits through CFCA sponsorship to help them through their golden years.
How long have you been married?
My wife and I have been together for 45 years. It is amazing all the time we’ve been together.
What do you enjoy doing?
One thing I like is the [CFCA] excursions. This helps me to relax. Going out with CFCA is nice because we have everything covered. It helps me disguise the everyday burdens of life.
When did you join the CFCA Hope for a Family sponsorship program?
I became sponsored about 10 years ago. Our home is not easy to access. We live in a small village, so I am deeply thankful that CFCA enters the most remote areas; otherwise I would not have been sponsored.
If you could tell your sponsor one thing, what would it be?
I would like to tell my sponsors how much I pray for them to be well and happy. I am grateful for everything they do for me, and I am in deep gratitude for their love and respect.
What do you like about being sponsored?
I like the clothing, excursions, but most of all the food provisions. Everything is very expensive, so the benefits I get are good for me and my wife.
Do you have any advice to share?
In the world we live in, we must kneel down to praise our Lord and give thanks for everything we receive. Especially the gift of patience; this value is the one that holds me ó patience to wait for better things to come.
By Judy-Anne Goldman, CFCA multimedia manager/producer
Juana, the mother of two CFCA sponsored children, cleans scallions, also known as spring onions, for 8 hours a day, three days a week in a small town in Guatemala.
Does she get tired of onions after all that time? “No!” Juana said. Her appreciation only grows. “Our onions are good. People in other towns and countries come to buy them. You should try them grilled,” she suggested. “It will make your mouth water!”
From left: Lucia, Zoila, Ramos and Juana start their work day at 8 a.m. and finish at 5 p.m., peeling spring onions that are a delicious part of local meals. Lucia and Juana are mothers of CFCA sponsored children, Zoila is sponsored through CFCA, and Ramos is a former sponsored child. Read more
In honor of International Day of the Elderly, weíre featuring Federico Antonio, a sponsored 103-year-old in El Salvador. He lives in a Catholic home for the aged. His sponsorship benefits are given to the home, and the sisters provide him with food and other supplies. Read on to learn why heís lived so long!
Federico Antonio, a sponsored 103-year-old in El Salvador.
What is your name? Federico Antonio.
How was your childhood? My childhood was humble. I did not have much upbringing, no education. I didn’t study. I had lots of difficulties. I was poor, and that is what I most regret.
Were you raised by your mother and father? Only by my mother. My father died when I was an infant.
Were you the oldest? No. I was the youngest. I am 103. My mother died at 105.
What year were you born? 1907.
Did you marry? No, I did not marry at all.
Do you have children? No, I don’t have children.
Why didn’t you marry? I didn’t have the means. Before, you paid 30 colones (6 U.S. cents) to get married. Imagine. And after that, you still had to eat, get a house and all the other things. Others can suffer, but me, no. If I am poor, I will suffer alone. But I had a girlfriend who told me, “Let’s get married.” But I always told her, no. Her name was Emilia and she was very pretty. But I didn’t want to marry, even though I intended to earn something to take care of her, but I wasn’t able to. I planted corn fields, but I couldn’t earn anything because the soil wasn’t good for corn. So, I learned to make bread and intended to get married at age 28, but I couldn’t.
In your youth, what work did you do? I was a day laborer. I cleared fields with a machete. I cleared coffee fields with a machete. The military accepted me. I learned to cut poles.
Did you live alone or with your siblings and mother? We lived together, with my mother, until she died.
Did your siblings play with you? Yes, we played and they beat me up and wrestled with me. I had to climb a tree to get away from them.
Lenten reflection: Week 5
By Rev. Kelly Demo, CFCA preacher
ìAnd I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.î ñJohn 12:32
Our God, who is relational by nature, chose to become a member of the human family as an expression of intimate love. We, Godís children, are also relational and the yearning of our hearts for closeness to God and to one another is a reflection of our nature and Godís deepest desire.
Because of this, relationships are the very essence of life. Godís two greatest commandments are not about what work we do, or what we eat, or even how we are to worship God. Our two greatest commandments are to love God and each other.
We believe this is the greatest gift that CFCA has to offer to the world. The reason the founders chose the sponsorship model was because it is relational. One does not simply write a check and forget about it. Sponsors are called into personal relationships with someone they didnít even know existed before sponsorship. They are given the opportunity to love God by loving another of Godís children. Sponsor and sponsored friend carry one another in their hearts and allow the other to change them for the better.
CFCAís structure in our projects follows this model as well and feeds the need for relationships among those we serve. For example, mothers in Merida, Mexico, tell us that the CFCA mothers groups are the most important part of the program to them. Most of their families moved from villages to the city, and that move isolated them from the social fabric that had sustained their ancestors for generations. The mothers groups are recreating that sense of community that is so essential to a full life.
Lent gives us a chance to stop and examine our relationships. It is often easier to give up chocolate for Lent than to rebuild and heal relationships.
Author Stephen Levine writes, ìIf you were going to die soon and had only one phone call you could make, who would you call and what would you say? And why are you waiting?î
1. How would you define your relationship with God? Is God your teacher? Friend? Distant relative you only see on holidays? Guide? Do you like that relationship or do you want it to change? What needs to happen to bring about that change?
2. Is there a friendship that you have lost and mourn that loss? What might God be calling you to do about that?