Tag: Sponsor

Oct 1 2012

Working with the sponsored elderly in Colombia

By Sandra Rodriguez Nieto, aging program coordinator for CFCA’s Bogota project in Colombia

CFCA sponsored aging friends in Colombia work on Christmas cards

Sponsored aging friends in Colombia work on coloring Christmas and year-end greeting cards to their sponsors.

Working with the sponsored elderly in Bogota has been a very interesting process. We meet many people who have histories filled with pain and loneliness.

However, it is inspirational to see how they have overcome these situations.

They are always ready to move forward. That’s why, through CFCA’s Hope for a Family program, we seek to improve the quality of life for elderly people, empowering them and offering dignity.

Our programming includes working with aging friends to make crafts and establish exercise routines to strengthen their mobility. These tools enable them to learn new things while reaching within the skills and talents they already have.

Every two weeks, aging friends meet at each CFCA office in their local area. Rain or shine, they always show up on time, though most of them live in the peripheral neighborhoods of Bogota.

They always come with a smile and sometimes bring small presents such as biscuits, crackers or fruit to share. Read more

Sep 21 2012

CFCA scholar in Kenya: ‘Life changed after sponsorship’

Peter is a former sponsored child who was orphaned in childhood. In addition to facing conditions of poverty, two of his sisters have special needs.

Peter, CFCA scholar and former sponsored childDespite the challenges he has faced, Peter is positive about his life. He recently graduated from school with help from a CFCA scholarship and is studying for a degree in supply management. He hopes to be a procurement officer in a big firm someday.

Tell us about yourself.

I am 23 years old, I have five siblings, and my father and mother passed away. My grandmother is the one who has taken care of all of us.

Two of my sisters have special needs. This further complicated our life, since they needed specific care and medication.

It was difficult growing up because I lacked basic needs. In 2003, I got sponsored after my uncle told me about the CFCA sponsorship program.

It was strenuous to get school fees after my mother passed away in 2000, but my uncle and aunt offered to assist. Life changed after sponsorship; I went to a private school and performed well.

On holidays I work to help buy medicine for my sisters.

What are you doing now?

I’m studying for a diploma in supplies and management. I am in my final year. I would like to be a procurement officer. I would like to improve the livelihood of my family.

What are your future plans?

I would like to advance in my education.

What’s your message to your sponsor?

I would like to tell him that I really appreciate the support and assistance that he has offered me up to this point. Were it not for his help, I would not have been able to pursue my education and make something out of my life.

What’s your relationship with the CFCA staff?

I have a friendly relationship with them. They encourage and motivate me. I also get nutritional benefits and clothing, birthday and Christmas parties, and access to counseling.

Your advice to other sponsored youth?

They should take life seriously as they have an opportunity to change their lives. They should not take their sponsorship for granted.

Sep 18 2012

7 ways you can help CFCA cut costs

We assign the highest reasonable amount of available resources to the direct benefits of sponsored friends, which is why more than 93 percent of our expenses go toward program support.

CFCA mission awareness trip to Guatemala

Glendy, left, a sponsored child, hugs Rebecca, who was visiting Guatemala with her family as part of a CFCA mission awareness trip. Rebecca’s family has sponsored Glendy since 2011.

Here are some ways sponsors and supporters can help us keep our overhead low:

1) Use our Automatic Payment Plan.

Sponsorship contributions made through CFCA’s Automatic Payment Plan are safe, secure and reduce our costs.

Printing, postage costs and bank fees continue to increase and currently average 84 cents for each sponsorship payment made by check. In contrast, the cost for an automatic bank withdrawal is less than 3 cents.

Automatic payment also helps sponsors to:

  • Save on postage and the time it takes to mail their contribution.
  • Never miss a payment ñ their contribution is automatically processed each month.
  • Reduce paperwork ñ electronic payment is environmentally friendly.

Click here if you want to sign up online. (If you haven’t already, you will need to log in to your online sponsorship account.)

Enter the amount of your monthly sponsorship payment and click “Make payment.”

A pop-up question will ask, “Would you like your sponsorship contributions paid automatically each month?”

Choose “Yes,” and your first monthly payment will be added to your contribution basket. You can adjust the amount and the frequency of your payment, if you prefer to pay on an annual, semi-annual or quarterly basis.

As you proceed through the checkout process, you will be able to choose which payment account you want to use (or add a new one). See the other six ways

Sep 14 2012

What it means to sponsor an aging friend

CFCA is the only major U.S.-based sponsorship organization to sponsor the elderly.

Michelle Dawson, CFCA-Kansas staff.

Michelle Dawson, CFCA-Kansas staff.

Through our Hope for a Family sponsorship program, aging friends receive benefits that focus on providing better nutrition, access to health care, adequate housing and social activities.

Some sponsored aging friends also participate in skills training or income-generating workshops. Most importantly, they are welcomed into a caring community and feel less alone.

For some sponsored aging friends, CFCA meetings and events may be the only human socialization time they experience all week, or sometimes, all month.

Michelle Dawson works in sponsorship operations at our office in Kansas City. Michelle sponsors five aging friends in the Hope for a Family program. She shares with us some of the reasons why she decided to sponsor an aging friend and why she loves it.

How did you decide between sponsoring a child or an aging person?

I heard a priest speak at my parish many years ago, but instead of sponsoring that day, I took a brochure home with me and called CFCA not too long after that.
Read more

Sep 11 2012

Why does my sponsored child send me hand-drawn pictures in letters?

Ask Sponsor ServicesQ. Why does my sponsored child send me hand-drawn pictures in letters?

A. Many of our projects hold letter-writing camps, where sponsored children and youth come together to write letters to their sponsors.

All sponsored friends must write a minimum of two letters a year. Young children who cannot yet read or write can color on letters or draw pictures. These drawings are then paired with letters to sponsors, which may be written by a parent, older sibling or staff member. Read more

Sep 6 2012

CFCA helps youth in El Salvador fight gang pressure

In some parts of El Salvador, crime is a big problem. Gangs try to convince youth that crime can provide a better life with little effort.

CFCA scholars and sponsored youth in El Salvador

Cristian, center, is a youth sponsored through CFCA in El Salvador. On his right is Luis, a CFCA scholar, playing the guitar.

We recently talked with Yesenia Alfaro, CFCA project coordinator in Santa Ana, who said the moral support of sponsorship is helping youth resist the lure of crime and gangs.

What are the challenges that youth in El Salvador face?

They live with discouragement, with an education system that is not the best.

If they can succeed in school or in high school, the percentage of college graduates is very low. Even if they finish college, the employment opportunities are minimal.

Keeping young people motivated requires hard work and effort, because they have all these situations. In a numerous family, the oldest sibling often has to sacrifice their education.

Single mothers have to raise their children as a mother and as a father. This is also one of the difficulties that young people have, in that there is no father figure in many homes.

I believe the hardest part is that young people are constantly invited to be part of a gang and are vulnerable because they have so many needs and few options.

The gang members say to young people, “You can’t earn in the decent way, but there is an easy way to earn money. You’ll have everything easily and faster.”

Sometimes the youth believe them and join the gang. But sometimes they don’t want to get involved, and then gangs try to hurt them or their family members.

Do you know a story of a youth involved with gangs? Read more

Sep 5 2012

Why do my sponsored child’s letters sound so impersonal?

Ask Sponsor ServicesQ. I am a new sponsor and was excited to write my sponsored child, but I was a little disappointed when I received her letter. It sounded very impersonal and did not answer some of the questions I had asked her in my own letter. How do I even know she wrote it and not someone else?

A. Many cultural expectations that we place upon letters vary from country to country. In some cases, this may be the first letter a sponsored child has been asked to write. Your friend may not have grown up with thank-you cards or any form of written correspondence.

Letter writing can be an especially difficult concept for children who come from a strong oral tradition. In Kenya, for instance, CFCA staffers say sponsored children sometimes view letter writing as some sort of exam. 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

Aug 31 2012

Putting bread on the table in Guatemala

They say that a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. For Oscar Manuel, father of two sponsored children in the CFCA Hope for a Family program†in Guatemala, this statement couldn’t be more true.

Oscar was a farmer with little to no income. There was no bakery in Oscar’s community, and through the work of CFCA livelihood programs, Oscar and other parents began making and selling bread around their community.

CFCA provided training and a loan for the group to build an oven and start making bread.

Oscar and others are eager to share their new skills with others.

“With happiness in our hearts,” he says in this video, “we will teach what we have learned.”

Aug 28 2012

CFCA communications centers: San Lucas Toliman, Guatemala

CFCA has five communications centers in El Salvador, Guatemala, Kenya, India and Colombia.

Although we call them centers, which sound like a big operation, they actually consist of one or a few local staff members. They help us find and feature stories from our sponsored children and aging friends.

We’d like to introduce you to each communications center liaison, continuing with Luis Cocon in Guatemala.

Luis CocÛn, CFCA communications center liaison in Guatemala.

Luis CocÛn, CFCA communications center liaison in Guatemala.

Nothing happens by accident. I believe that God decided to bring CFCA into my life so that I may learn from my people and present their incredible stories to the world.

My name is Luis Cocon, and I am Mayan. I was born in a small community in the central highlands of Guatemala.

My father is a farmer. He has worked most of his life raising vegetables such as broccoli, sweet peas, potatoes and, of course, corn and beans. My mother, like most indigenous women, embroidered fabric to bring additional income to our family. She also took care of me, my younger brother, Kevin, and our home.

Being a Maya indigenous farmer was not easy for my father. He worked long and difficult hours under the weather with no steady income. Above all that, my country suffered 36 years of war from 1960 to 1996; it was fought between the Guatemalan government and various guerrilla groups, mainly supported by Maya indigenous people and poor peasants.

Forced recruitments around our town by the army forced my father to leave the country. I don’t have a clear memory of this because I was only 4 years old, but I can imagine how hard it was for my parents, not knowing if we would ever see each other again. Read more