Violence is a challenge that many families in Mexico face. In several communities the drug and gang violence has increased dramatically, which has driven some sponsored friends and their families from their homes.
The project staffs have to think of creative ways to help sponsored friends and their families while protecting themselves at the same time.
The Hope for a Family program conducts activities in safe locations that raise awareness among families about positive values and conflict resolution.
Many of the families are led by single mothers, and CFCA small community groups provide mothers with livelihood training workshops, encouragement and support.
We asked two of these mothers, Gloria and Maty, how the Hope for a Family program has helped them with the challenges they face.
Gloria’s 16-year-old son, Juan, was sponsored for 10 years. She was once the leader of her mothers committee and is now in charge of serving eight smaller CFCA communities in the Guadalupe project.
Describe some of the biggest challenges that you have faced as a mother and as a woman.
As a mother, my challenge is raising my child. He is becoming a teenager and his behavior has changed.
I [hope] he will keep practicing values that I, as his mother, tried to instill in him to be a better person.
As a woman, I wish to overcome [obstacles] in life with the opportunities that CFCA offers me. I am very thankful.
How and why did you decide to be a leader in your mothers committee?
I was elected by many mothers and I wanted to participate; of course, I never imagined being in the place that I am now.
What did you learn from this experience and how has it helped you personally?
I learned to listen to people and to help others in need. My participation gave me a lot of satisfaction.
What is your role as liaison in the project office?
I am a regional contact person in charge of eight subprojects, six are located near the project headquarters and the other two are farther away.
I work with the subproject coordinators and send them the monthly reports from CFCA Kansas. I help them with their concerns, I train them and I also visit families and their communities.
What dreams and hopes do you have for the future?
My dream is to continue working for CFCA. I have a deep desire to carry out my work.
Maty is the coordinator of CFCA-Guadalupe. Her three children used to be sponsored through CFCA. She has served as a local leader at various levels.
My name is Matilde (Maty) Alvarado, and I am 47 years old. I have three children: 17-year-old Ana, 14-year-old Alfonso and 12-year-old Jes˙s.
Describe some of the biggest challenges you have faced as a mother and as a woman.
As a mother, I faced challenges when my children were sick and I did not have the money to take them to the doctor.
During the winter we were cold at night because we did not have doors to protect us while our home was being constructed.
We did not have our own house. We only had a small lot that we were paying off with much effort.
Many times we could not afford to buy clothes for our children at Christmas because we only had enough for our essential food needs.
Another challenge was the distance between my house and my office. It was an hour-and-a-half commute in the back of a truck.
I could not always catch a bus, so I had to leave my house at 5 a.m. and walk nearly 40 blocks before finding public transportation.
Working at CFCA was difficult in the beginning. I did not even know how to write a check or how to use a computer.
Many of the bank tellers treated me poorly for writing a check the wrong way. I had to learn many new things.
How did CFCA help you to overcome those obstacles?
CFCA is very important in our lives because we no longer encounter the same obstacles. My children became very responsible for themselves and also in school, and while I work, they take care of each other.
Thanks to CFCA I was able to move closer to my office. My husband and I started to pay off our small home and we now live closer to our jobs.
My work with CFCA helped lessen the financial burden on our family. My husband was able to save enough money to buy a used car, which helps me get to and from work. Now, I can spend more time with my children.
Today, I know how to send emails, use the Internet, write checks and communicate well with others. I am thankful for CFCA for so many things
There are some phrases that I consider important in my life. A good friend, CFCA-Kansas International project director Felipe Reyes, once told me, “CFCA is a learning school,” and I completely agree. I would only like to add that “CFCA is a learning and overcoming obstacles school.”
How is CFCA approaching challenges that women face in your community?
We want to let the mothers know that they have the power to change their lives. We want them to realize how truly valuable they are.
We want the mothers to know that they can live with dignity; that their role as mothers and women in the family is just as important as the husband’s.
In what way has the violence impacted Mexico, and how do you deal with this situation?
We do our best, not to place the staff members or the sponsored children and their families at risk.
It impacts us directly because we are not able to host a mission awareness trip because of the violence. Sometimes we have to suspend meetings with the sponsored children and their families because of these issues.
Some of our staff members cannot even visit homes because they may find themselves in dangerous situations.
Some sponsored families have to leave their homes because they have been threatened. We provide these families with support.
What would you like to express about the impact CFCA has made in your life and the lives of the sponsored members and their families?
I am only an instrument who tries to do the best in my work as if it was my last day.
I thank God for CFCA. I also want to thank my co-workers for their patience and support, as well as my husband and children.
Thanks to Bob and Cristina Hentzen for trusting in me and giving me the opportunity to serve the people through CFCA.
I am also grateful for the sponsors because without their support, this mission could not be possible.
CFCA has changed the life of many families, especially the life of my family.