Tag: mothers

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 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

Feb 20 2012

Single mom in El Salvador finds hope through CFCA

Isabel, mother of CFCA sponsored children in El Salvador, picking coffee beans

Isabel picks coffee beans in El Salvador. She is the mother of four children, two of whom are sponsored through CFCA.

The coffee harvest is well under way around the world. Most countries harvest coffee from December to March, and it is a major source of income for many families living in poverty.

Here is an interview with Isabel, a single mother of four daughters in Ataco, El Salvador. She did not continue school beyond first grade, and coffee picking is her only livelihood to support her family.

Two of her children, Dayra and Fatima, are sponsored through CFCA. Isabel belongs to a CFCA mothers group, which has boosted her self-confidence.

Tell us about yourself.

I am the single mother of four children. I feel happy, because I have this huge benefit of sponsorship for my children. I am alone. I cannot hope for more help besides that from the project.

Thanks to Sister Guadalupe, my daughter entered the program in 2004, when she was very small.

At that time, I was experiencing a crisis in that I could not find work. There was no work at the plantation.

I earned $45 every 15 days. And one worries about buying food first. But the sponsorship benefits my daughter receives are great. They even clean her teeth.

Thanks to the generous heart of her sponsors, we can improve our lives. What’s most important is the struggle and the hope we have in the project.

No matter what I need for my daughter, whether a new set of clothes or a new pair of shoes, I tell her, “Daughter, here is what your sponsors and the project do for you.”

I live with my mother, my four daughters and my sister.

When my father died, it was traumatic. My sister was 10. My father was killed. We were left in shambles. We were living in different houses. We did not have a dignified house. Read more of Isabel’s story

Dec 29 2011

‘A meal with a taste of gratitude’ from Mexico

By Omar Z˙niga GarcÌa, CFCA staff member in Merida, Mexico

Mothers of CFCA sponsored children in Merida, Mexico

Mothers of sponsored children in Merida, Mexico, prepare a delicious meal to thank local CFCA staff members.

The mothers of sponsored children in Merida, Mexico, helped us realize the importance of a voice tuned in to the needs of the people.

There are 363 sponsored friends (344 sponsored children and 19 sponsored elderly) in this Yucatan community of CFCAís Merida project.

On weekends, people from different neighborhoods gather at the downtown CFCA office.

On Dec. 5, 2011, a CFCA mothers group invited the Merida project staff members to a meal to thank them for all the attention and work done for sponsored friends and their families.

“With my hard work and with the help I was given, my dream to have a small diner became a reality,” said Bercy, one of the mothers. “When I received my sponsorship benefit, I put aside some products that donít spoil, such as oil and beans. This happened for two years. Today, I have my diner named ‘Noy’ after my son.” Read more

Dec 20 2011

Small groups help CFCA adapt to a changing world

A small-group model is making big changes in the lives of families around the world.

CFCA small group models in Kenya

CFCA staff member Lillian Naka, standing, conducts training with a mothers group in Nairobi, Kenya.

Implemented more than 10 years ago in India and the Philippines, the small-group model gives parents and guardians of sponsored children more ability to shape the CFCA Hope for a Family program in their areas.

“We are finding it’s easier for the families to have a voice when they are organized in small groups,” said Dan Pearson, director of international programs. “It’s hard for us to listen to 300,000 families, but with small groups, the families take the lead, the project can follow them and we can follow the project.”

The small-group model (also called community-based groups, self-help groups and mothers groups) empowers individual group members and encourages interaction and mutual support among families. Read more

Dec 6 2011

CFCA mothers groups: Bonding for a better future

This article was written by Sreekanth Gundoji, CFCA communications liaison in Hyderabad. Note: The names of the women mentioned in the article have been changed to protect their identity.

I noticed a common problem faced by women in India is countering age-old customs and traditions that restrict them from leading a good, happy life.

Hence, there is a need for these women to find a forum, a platform, to come out of the cocoon created by such traditions and live a life of freedom.

Here CFCA mothers groups play a vital role in uplifting womenís dignity and empowering them.

Sofia is a mother of three girls, one of whom is sponsored by CFCA. Her husband is an alcoholic. He suffers bad health and is unable to work.

CFCA mothers group in India

CFCA mothers group meeting in India. Sukshmana Thakur, standing in the center, is a CFCA social worker.

When Sofiaís husband was in good health, he would harass her just because she gave birth to girls. He wanted a boy who could carry on the family name.

When he saw that the third child, too, was a girl, he deserted Sofia. When his health started to deteriorate, he returned.

Although Sofia was happy that her husband came back, her burdens increased. She not only had to meet her day-to-day expenses and take care of the children, but she also had to take care of his medical expenses.

At times it became difficult for her to meet emergency expenses. Thatís when Justina, a social worker in CFCAís Chaderghat community, put forth the problems faced by Sofia in one of the mothers group meetings. Read more

Nov 14 2011

Mothers highlighted during Global Entrepreneurship Week

Sreekanth, CFCA communications liaison in Hyderabad, India, contributed to this report.

The Anna Theresa mothers group in India wins best group entrepreneurship award at a CFCA conference

The Anna Theresa mothers group in India wins the best group entrepreneurship award at a CFCA conference.

Did you know Nov. 14-20 is Global Entrepreneurship Week?

During this time when entrepreneurs are honored worldwide for their achievements, we’d like to highlight the entrepreneurs in our CFCA community, particularly mothers of sponsored children.

In just one example, the CFCA project in Chennai, India, organized a mothers group conference Sept. 24 called Sangamam (from a Tamil word that means a get-together or conference).

The conference is a daylong event of fun and learning, including an awards session for recognizing groups and individuals who have started entrepreneurship programs and projects for coming out of poverty.

These enterprises started with the help of loans from CFCA mothers groups. As the businesses grew, mothers then repaid the loans to the groups. Read more

Sep 29 2011

Mothers in the Philippines find success in massage therapy

By Emily Soetaert, CFCA writer and graphic designer

Mothers of CFCA sponsored children in the Philippines give sponsored elderly friends massage therapy

Mothers of sponsored children in the Philippines give massage therapy to sponsored elderly friends.

The saying “scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” comes to mind as many mothers of CFCA sponsored children and youth in the Philippines have found a new way to earn income.

In a CFCA community in the Legazpi project, mothers train to learn massage therapy, and in turn provide their services to sponsored elderly friends.

Staff members and individuals belonging to a CFCA livelihood group suggested the idea of giving massage therapy to the elderly to apply the knowledge they learned from the training.

The program has accompanied success for these mothers around the area.

“I get a lot of demand for massage therapy, especially in our community,” said Aster, mother of Rose Ann, a CFCA sponsored child. “And through word of mouth, I became known to many people not only in our place, but also in neighboring places.”

Aster, mother of CFCA sponsored child Rose Ann, gives a massage to sponsored aging friend Eufersina.

Aster, mother of sponsored child Rose Ann, gives a head massage to Eufersina, who is also sponsored.

Sessions occur at least once a month and have already served 50 sponsored elderly. The training helps provide more income to many mothers of sponsored children.

“The money I get from my customer is of big help because it is one of my sources in my children’s allowances and projects in school. I also have a chance to give my children delicious foods,” Aster said.

In addition to training, CFCA also helps the mothers make herbal massage oil used in therapy sessions.

Some of the mothers’ first customers post-training were the children, but as they continue in practice, the sponsored elderly have seen positive results.

One sponsored elderly, Ignacia, acknowledges the notable differences the massages have made in her life.

“When I experienced massage therapy from the trained mothers, my pains were lessened and I’m now able to perform the daily functions at home much easier,” she said.

Jun 1 2011

Mom fashions new life for family with pottery, sponsorship

Padma, a mother in India, has a son sponsored through CFCA. Thanks to the help of a CFCA social worker, Padma encourages her son to get a formal education instead of helping full time with the family business.

My name is Padma. I have three daughters and two sons; my youngest son, Durga Prasad, is sponsored.

Padma, Durga's mother

Padma, mother of Durga, a CFCA sponsored child.

My first daughter is married, and our other children help us by making and selling clay figures.

We also make piggy banks on a regular basis. Once filled with coins, the banks have to be broken to get the collection. Then a new one is purchased.

Our whole family, including Durga Prasad, is involved in making these.

Immediately after my first daughterís marriage, we had financial problems and also were in need of another helping hand to make clay figures.

Durga used to go to a government school, but showed disinterest in continuing school and started helping us.

Every time the CFCA social worker, Shahanaz, came to our area, she would talk to us regarding the importance of education and made us realize this.

She helped Durga Prasad get admission in school, and she said that if he attends regularly, she would try for the sponsorship.

Last year, Durga Prasad was admitted into the CFCA sponsorship program so he can continue his education without adding an extra burden for us.

Durga Prasad helps his mother make clay figures

Durga Prasad, right, helps his mother make clay figures.

As Durga Prasad is getting good marks in school, now we are planning to enroll him in an English school next year.

Now, Durga Prasad helps us only on school holidays, and on other days he does his homework after he comes back from school.

My husband and I have been working since our childhood and earning money, yet our lives did not improve. It just has been living from hand to mouth.

We do not own a house, do not have steady income, and are unable to give proper education to our kids.

Because of CFCA, now my son has the opportunity to get a formal education. He is our only hope for our better future.

Related story: Sponsorship helps families avoid child labor

May 26 2011

Costa Rican moms receive affirmation, dignity from CFCA staff

The CFCA project in San Jose, Costa Rica, recently conducted an “encuentro” or gathering with some mothers of sponsored children to emphasize family unity, promote dignity and strengthen their self-esteem. Jean Carlo Arias, CFCA programs director in San Jose, offers his vision of this gathering.

“Be happy, woman; God has made you a life spring.”

Mothers group encuentro in Costa Rica

Mothers form into small discussion groups during the CFCA encuentro in Costa Rica.

With this phrase by a local CFCA social worker, Leticia Salazar, we gathered more than 100 mothers of sponsored children from the community of Desamparados, southeast from San Jose.

We wanted to motivate them, offer them a way to participate and encourage them in their roles as pillars in their families (most of them were single mothers).

Through motivational lectures and reflections, we tried to show these mothers a vision of the important role they have as mothers in the world and in CFCA’s Hope for a Family program.

“Understanding our real value as women, created as instruments of God to give life, strengthens us very much,” said Lizeth, the mother of sponsored children Yuri Fabiola and Yeudi Antonio.

Most of these mothers live in neighborhoods with economic problems as well as family disintegration.

This is why we try to increase their self-esteem so they can see themselves with love and as agents of change in their communities.

“A mother wears many hats,” said Marilu, the mother of sponsored child Elena. “She can be a doctor, psychologist, teacher, nurse, and adviser. She also is capable of fighting bravely for her children’s well-being. At the same time, we women are willing to progress, become professionals and be successful, in spite of the places and difficult realities we live in.”

Their dignity and value as mothers were strengthened in this meeting, increasing hope in their own homes.

“In this gathering, I learned to value life even more, recognizing that my children are not mistakes,” said Karol, mother of sponsored child Christopher. “They are treasures.”