Tag: Poverty

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 2 2013

Christmas reflection: Following the stars

Larry LivingstonEvery Wednesday during the Advent/Christmas season, we will post a reflection in hopes that it may help you on your own journey. This week’s reflection is offered by Larry Livingston, CFCA director of church relations.

“They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother.” (Matthew 2:10)

One of the few things we are told about the mysterious group of visitors called the Magi is that they saw, in the ascension of a star, the sign of a new king.

According to the story of the Epiphany in Matthew’s Gospel, that star led them to the Christ-child, but the details of their amazing journey remain a mystery.

Perhaps that lack of detail is one reason why the story of the Magi has so captured the imaginations of Christians throughout the centuries. Each of us must answer for ourselves why we think these travelers followed the star. And, in so doing, we are invited to reflect on the ‘stars’ that we ourselves follow.

Our stars come in a variety of forms and, like the literal stars in the heavens, they can both illuminate and consume.

Some people follow stars of greed and selfishness while others are guided by stars of compassion and generosity.

Whatever values form the trajectory of a person’s life, there can be found that person’s star. read the rest of the reflection

Dec 26 2012

Christmas reflection: Feast of The Holy Family

Father Mark LaneEvery Wednesday during the Christmas season, we will post a reflection. We hope these reflections help you on your own journey during this time.

This weekís reflection is offered by Father Mark Lane, CFCA preacher.

“And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection.” (Colossians 3:14)

A child causing parents anxiety is nothing new, and Jesusí role in this highly developed narrative is no exception.

His rather pious answer would seem somewhat impertinent if we were dealing with a straightforward recounting of an historical fact.

In todayís Gospel for the Feast of The Holy Family, Luke narrates this story to point to Jesusí uniqueness and to give content to the otherwise gapping lacuna that is the so-called lost-years of Jesusí life: the 30-year period from infancy to the beginning of his public ministry.

As with many conversations, it is not only what is said that is informative ó silence is important. Jesus matured in the obscurity of those lost 30 years. Read more

Dec 19 2012

Advent reflection: Christmas on the practical, everyday level

Father Mark LaneEvery Wednesday during the Advent season, we will post a reflection in hopes that it may help you on your own journey through Advent. This weekís reflection is offered by Father Mark Lane, CFCA preacher.

“Ö Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” (Luke 1:45)

When my oldest sister was expecting her first child, I called her close to the end of her last trimester because I had just eaten something that had given me such a pain in the stomach, and I was feeling a deeper sympathy for her situation.

My brother-in-law answered the phone to say she had gone into labor. Read more

Dec 12 2012

Advent reflection: ‘God dwells within the human family’

Larry LivingstonEvery Wednesday during the Advent season, we will post a reflection in hopes that it may help you on your own journey through Advent. This weekís reflection is offered by Larry Livingston, CFCA church relations director.

“Cry out with joy and gladness: for among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 12:6)

More often than not, living our faith is simply a matter of doing the right thing.

What tends to complicate it is the impressive ability we humans have to con ourselves into not recognizing the right thing when we see it.

In today’s Gospel for the Third Sunday of Advent, John the Baptist is urging the crowd to change their lives in preparation for the coming of the Messiah. Read more

Dec 5 2012

Advent reflection: ‘For it is in giving that we receive’

Father Mark LaneEvery Wednesday during the Advent season, we will post a reflection in hopes that it may help you on your own journey through Advent. This weekís reflection is offered by Father Mark Lane, CFCA preacher.

“Ö I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus. Ö” (Phil 1:6)

Sometimes it is the simplest and most obvious detail that is the most revealing.

When God comes into this world it is among the ordinary people of a not so remarkable period in history and in a corner of the world far from the center of prominence.

Luke, in the Gospel reading for the Second Sunday of Advent,, tries to give Jesus’advent an historical grandeur that the raw facts do not exactly bare out.

John the Baptist is indeed an exotic character, but his ministry is mainly in the desert, far from the center of things in Jerusalem. Read more

Dec 3 2012

‘Moving on up’: Colombian mother buys first home

By Celina, mother of two sponsored children in Colombia

CFCA-Colombia: Celina and her daughter in their new house

Celina and her daughter standing in front of their new home.

My goal has always been to have my own house. That was my biggest dream, but I could never save enough money to buy a home.

When my children joined the program, Elvia, an Unbound staff member, started to talk about mothers groups and how we could develop our skills.

We made a poster with our dreams, and I chose to use a picture of a house. Elvia told us that we can reach our goals as long as we establish clear goals.

After that meeting, I started to think about the first step in reaching my dreams. I started to attend Unbound workshops frequently to gain motivation.

I was unemployed, and we needed to have a bank account with money before we qualified for government-subsidized housing. I had just 50.000 pesos (about $28 US) in my pocket. I asked the bank about the process and learned I needed 60.000 pesos (about $33 US) to open a bank account. Read more

Nov 28 2012

Advent reflection: Awakening our hearts to love

Larry LivingstonEvery Wednesday during the Advent season, we will post a reflection in hopes that it may help you on your own journey through Advent. This weekís reflection is offered by Larry Livingston, CFCA church relations director.

“Ö May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all Ö”
(1 Thes 3:12)

Most of us know to be on guard against hardness of heart. Nor do we want to be faint-hearted, cold-hearted or broken-hearted.

But do we take care to keep from becoming drowsy-hearted? In the Gospel reading for the First Sunday of Advent, being drowsy-hearted is the condition that Jesus seems to be most concerned about.

In the Gospel, Jesus cautions us to keep our hearts awake and attentive for his coming.

On the surface, the reading seems to be about his final coming at the end of time, but a deeper examination shows our more immediate concern should be the various encounters with Christ that might happen at any hour of any day. These are the encounters that a drowsy heart would be most likely to miss. Read more

Nov 26 2012

‘Rise and Dream’ family movie night: One sponsor’s experience

Rise and Dream movie night with Newpower family

CFCA sponsor Christine Newpower with her son, Paul, 13, and her daughters, Sarah, 9, and Grace, 7. Along with the film DVD and a music CD, the “Rise and Dream” movie night kit contains a planning guide, invitations and other materials to help make your movie night a fun and successful experience.

Great learning opportunities can sometimes occur right in your living room!

Christine Newpower, a sponsor from California, read about the special “Rise and Dream” movie night kit offer extended to CFCA sponsors and volunteers in one of our newsletters.

Christine, who grew up abroad and remembers her Southeast Asian roots, saw the film as an opportunity to teach her children about global poverty.

“We wanted our children to understand how blessed they are in comparison to children growing up in poverty overseas,” she said. “We also wanted to provide that extra connection, knowing that a large part of our extended family still lives there.”

Christine ordered and received a “Rise and Dream” DVD and movie night kit in July and organized a family movie night for her husband and their three children.

“After dinner, we set up our family room with sodas, popcorn, pretzels and chips,” Christine said. “We turned off the lights and drew the blinds for the full theater experience.”

In more ways than one, the film’s setting hit home for the Newpowers. The family sponsors Jasmine, a 9-year-old in the Philippines. Christine’s children have expressed interest in meeting Jasmine someday on a CFCA trip. Read more

Nov 12 2012

Costa Rica: Looking beyond rose-colored glasses

Join us as we celebrate Geography Awareness Week with National Geographic and friends. This year’s theme is “Geography: Declare Your Interdependence.”

Many of us think of a tropical paradise when we hear any reference to Costa Rica.

Costa Rica mapTruth be told, it is a country of economic contrasts: posh shopping malls and crowded slums, luxury hotels and thatch-roofed villages.

Tourism and development help some, but leave others struggling to overcome the challenges of poverty.

CFCA serves more than 6,700 children and youth through the San Jose project in Costa Rica. CFCA mothers groups there started with 15 moms. Today, 2,700 mothers of CFCA sponsored children in Costa Rica belong to mothers groups.

Many families in Costa Rica face a harsh reality. They live in slums and near river basins or dangerous areas threatened by landslides.

In these rough areas, hope can seem like itís just out of armís reach. But the CFCA mothers groups can give families a much-needed boost. Read more