Happy Fourth of July! It’s Independence Day in America, and we are celebrating freedom with fireworks, food, friends and family. But let’s not stop there — what a great time to remember that the freedom we enjoy can help others, and the Unbound community around the world has many freedoms big and small that are worth celebrating.
Deborah is a single mother of three children living in Tanzania. She’s struggling to provide for her family, and she and her children are living with her uncle’s family until she’s able to get back on her feet. She sells mandazi, which is a snack made out of wheat flour, but the money she makes isn’t enough.
Two of her children are 6-year-old twins Jackson and Jackline. Because of the family’s financial situation, Jackline is part of the sponsorship program, but Jackson still needs a sponsor.
“My children look up to me to provide for them,” Deborah said. “I feel like a failure when I am not able to meet their various needs. It is not easy being a single mother with no source of income.”
Deborah hopes for a better life for her children, and her hope lies in the chance for a quality education for them.
The twins already have their own unique personalities and are different in many ways. Jackline likes to play ukuti, a singing game, with her friend, while Jackson likes more physically active games.
“My best friend is called Goodluck,” Jackson said. “We play many games together like hide-and-seek, football and running.”
The family has chickens, and the twins feed and take care of the animals as part of their household chores.
Jackson and Jackline are going to school and learning to read and write. They both want to become teachers when they grow up.
A sponsor for Jackson would mean the chance for him to continue in school and fulfill his dreams.
Editor’s note: Since this was posted, Jackson has found a sponsor. Click here to view other kids waiting for a sponsor.
Rufino is an elder in Bolivia waiting for a sponsor, and he’s ready to send his sponsor some love.
“I would appreciate, respect and be forever grateful to my sponsor,” Rufino said. “I would say to come here, I would like to hug you and give you a thousand kisses.”
Rufino is 69 years old and lives with his wife in a small one-room home. He is blind in one eye and his wife has hip problems. Because of their health concerns, the pair is unable to work and find it difficult to meet their basic needs. At times, they don’t even have enough to eat.
“I try to visit the [Unbound] office to see if I already have a sponsor,” Rufino said. “I think receiving someone’s friendship and support brings great joy to the heart.”
Rufino likes taking care of his plants and his wife, Teresa. On the weekends he watches soccer games at the local field. Since he’s lost much of his vision, though, he’s no longer able to read, an activity he used to enjoy.
Rufino dreams of living the rest of his life happy with his plants and his wife. He just needs a sponsor to help him through his twilight years.
A sponsor for Rufino would mean he and his wife would have a meal on the table, medical care and emotional support from their community and sponsor.
Editor’s note: Since this blog was published, Rufino has found a sponsor. Click here to find other elders waiting for a sponsor.
Thinking of her childhood home, one thing stands out for Jéssica.
“We could see the stars at night,” she said.
That was only because the roof on her home was so bad she could see the sky through the holes.
Jéssica, now 24, lives with her parents and four siblings in Mexico. And she remembers finances were tight at home.
“I could not have things that I wanted and needed,” she explained. “I recycled notebooks, school supplies, school bags and anything I could for the following year.”
While her friends were out having fun, Jéssica could be found packing groceries at the local supermarket, earning $6 USD on a good day, to help her parents make ends meet. She was just 13.
But something changed six years ago.
David became her sponsor.
By Elizabeth Alex
From the distance, Manchay, Peru appears dirty and desolate.
Small and sometimes rickety houses, cheerfully painted in lilac and blue sit at the base of what appear to be mountains made of dust and rock. Manchay is covered in haze.
But what Manchay lacks in aesthetics, it makes up for in smiles.
Like the big grin on 5-year-old Carlos’ face.
Q. I sent my sponsored child some gifts in the mail (using a CFCA-approved mailing package and everything), but I never received any thank-you letters from her or any acknowledgement of my gift. How do I know she received it?
A. Depending on when you sent the item, an acknowledgment letter may have crossed in the mail.
If much time has passed, however, and you still havenít heard from your friend, try sending a letter asking her to let you know if she received your gifts. Make sure you describe the items and when you mailed them.
It’s also important to remember that cultural expectations for correspondence vary from country to country. CFCA works in many areas where oral traditions are the main way of communicating. Your friend may not have grown up with thank-you cards or other kinds of written correspondence.
Read the answer to a related Ask Sponsor Services question: Why do my child’s letters sound so impersonal?
A good tip when sending a gift to your friend: Include a note asking her to write you and let you know if she received your gift.
And remember, by following CFCA’s mailing guidelines, you lower the risk of the item becoming lost or stolen in the mail.
For some small gift ideas, check out 18 small gift ideas to send to your sponsored friend.
The post is titled “Blogging for a Purpose” by Leslie Reese.
After six years of CFCA sponsorship, Leslie has graciously shared her experience on her blog and plans to dedicate a page to CFCA. Here’s an excerpt from her post:
I decided to sponsor a child from Guatemala. She was 12 years old at the time. At that moment, I felt like I had done my good deed for the day. Little did I know, I was not just changing the life of this child, but my own life as well. It wasn’t long before I was receiving letters and photos of my newly sponsored child. It was wonderful to watch her progress and I was overwhelmed with the gratitude that she expressed in each letter that was sent. I knew I was making a difference.
I am extremely impressed by the work that CFCA does and I am thrilled to be a part of such a wonderful organization. In an effort to collaborate with the CFCA community, I will be dedicating a page on my blog specifically to this foundation. I plan to bring you inspiring stories and information about the many people involved. I will be sharing special recipes from the countries where our sponsored friends live.
Read the full blog post ó Leslie Reese: Blogging for a Purpose
Thank you for your support, Leslie.
We invite you to click on Leslie’s post and leave a comment for her. This helps show our support for her efforts to tell others about CFCA’s work!
My name is Andres, and I have been sponsored for six years through CFCA in Colombia.
My father works as a bricklayer and my mother is a housekeeper. My father works by seasons, and sometimes we do not have any income to sustain our family.
One day I had a great idea. I went with my mother to the CFCA office where she met with her mothers group. I like to go and help her during the meetings. At the meeting, I met a mother who knows how to make crafts. She was making many things with plastic, and I was very curious about it. Read more of Andres’ story
Patheos.com – ‘A Good Measure’ by Lisa Hendey
It has been such a blessing to partner with Lisa Hendey, who began featuring a monthly invitation on CatholicMom.com in 2012†to consider sponsoring a friend through CFCA. Here’s an excerpt from her recent blog post about this partnership:
In sponsoring a CFCA friend, you donít simply throw a dollar per day at a problemÖ you enter into a real dialogue with a real person. The family who adopts little Joseph this month will provide for some of his financial needs, but they will also pray with him, hear regular updates from him via personal letters and photos, and hopefully build a relationship that will bless their own family as much as it blesses Joseph.