Mar 10 2011

CFCA inspires Salvadoran girl to paint her life

Roxana in El Salvador

Roxana created the painting, pictured in the background, which reflects her experience with CFCA Hope for a Family sponsorship.

CFCA recently celebrated 25 years of service in El Salvador. The sponsorship program began in El Salvador in 1985 with 25 sponsored children. Today, CFCA serves more than 12,000 sponsored children, youth and aging members around the country.

As part of the different activities organized by CFCA-Santa Ana to commemorate this special milestone, a drawing and painting contest was held for sponsored members who wanted to participate. The topic was “CFCA as hope for a family.”

Roxana Maribel, 16, won first place with her original painting, “Before and After.” It reflects her deep sense of transformation in the 14 years she has been sponsored through CFCA.

My name is Roxana Maribel. I am 19 years old and live in the city of Santa Ana in El Salvador. Since kindergarten, I enjoyed drawing and painting.

Over the years, I have taught myself different techniques. Nothing professional, but something I enjoyed as a hobby.

Roxana's painting

Roxana’s painting.

When I was told about the drawing and painting contest, I decided to participate with a painting that would somehow show myself reflected in it.

This painting reflects the changes in my life and the lives of many others, thanks to all the support I have received from my sponsor. To me, painting is a simple way to express my feelings and thoughts. I like people to see what I feel.

I feel happy that I won first place in the contest. My family was very supportive and felt happy with my achievement.

I have many dreams for my future. The main ones are to be closer to our Lord, to become a professional woman and to be able to help my family.

~Interview by Jorge Castaneda, communication center staff member; photos by Daniel Hernandez

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Feb 14 2011

Mother finds mutual love, support in CFCA workshop

Happy Valentine’s Day to all our readers. On this day, we decided to highlight the love of a special family CFCA serves in Colombia.

Lidia and family in Colombia

Lidia, center, with her three children, from left: Duvon, Yuri and Wilmer.

Benjamin and Lidia are two hard-working parents trying to provide the best for their three children ñ Duvon, Wilmer and Yuri. The two eldest are sponsored in CFCA’s Hope for a Family program.

Lidia is active in a CFCA mothers group and has joined the ìMothers as Leadersî workshop, which prepares mothers to be leaders in their communities and serve as project liaisons for emergencies, announcements and program activities.

“This workshop relieves my stress,” Lidia said. “It’s my time ó a moment for me to step away from washing, cooking and milking. We do exercises, lie on the floor, relax and forget about our burdens. We close our eyes and learn to give ourselves time to realize that we are valuable women.”

The group ñ a source of friendship, community and education ñ has become Lidiaís own valentine. It has given her new skills and renewed her commitment to provide the best possible future for her children.

This family’s love is mirrored in thousands of other families throughout the CFCA world. On Valentineís Day, we celebrate that love.

Read more about Lidia’s story.

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Feb 2 2011

Dowry abuse ñ too high a price

Imagine that you are a woman in India engaged to be married. Your family has limited financial resources and can’t pay the full dowry to your fiancÈ.

Dowry abuse in India This is embarrassing to you, but things are about to get much worse.

After the marriage, you discover that your new husband is abusive, especially when he is drunk. He beats you, sometimes publicly, demanding that your family pay the full dowry.

What can you do?

The practice of dowry abuse ñ extorting money from the brideís family through a dowry ñ continues in India today. It’s often done in secret because dowry abuse is prohibited by law.

Read more about how CFCA is helping empower women through education and other means to cope with dowry abuse.

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Jan 31 2011

Wisdom of the Ages: Truphena, 78, from Kenya

Here is an interview that Regina Mburu, CFCA communications liaison in Kenya, conducted with Truphena, 78. Truphena is in the Hope for a Family sponsorship program in Kenya.

What is your secret for long life?

Growing up in the village I had the chance to eat healthy foods, nothing artificial, only fresh food from the farm and fresh fish from the lake. This has greatly contributed to my long life.

Truphena from Kenya

Truphena, sponsored through CFCA’s Hope for a Family program in Kenya.

What advice do you have for young people?

I would urge young people to be content with what they can afford. Desiring what is not within their reach can lead them along the wrong path. The youth should also learn that hard work is the only way to achieve what you desire. Listening to the advice given to them by the aging is also very important, if they want to succeed.

What is the most important thing that your mother taught you?

My mother emphasized respect. She told me that to live a fruitful life, one must respect everybody that they come across.

Whatís your favorite food?

I enjoy eating fresh fish from the lake and ugali (a mixture of water and maize flour).

What do you like most about CFCA?

CFCA has supported me by giving me nutritional benefits. I am an old woman and am not able to work and get money to buy food. I am grateful to CFCA because I never go hungry. When I am sick, CFCA helps me get the treatment that I require. The people in CFCA have become part of my family; they talk with me and listen to me, and I feel much appreciated.

If you could visit any place in the world, where would you go and why?
Continue reading

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Dec 30 2010

Family stands strong while mother is away

When Kenia was 14, her mother moved to Costa Rica with Keniaís oldest brother to find work and left Kenia and two brothers behind. For the past two years, Kenia has been raised by her brother, Juan Carlos. Kenia and Juan Carlos are sponsored through CFCAís Hope for a Family program. Kenia talks about how the separation has affected her and her family.

How did you feel when your mother and older brother left Nicaragua for Costa Rica?

It was very sad and very difficult. But because of the country’s economic situation, they were forced to leave.

How do you feel now?

I have had to get used to it since, even though she is far away from us, she calls us always and is always waiting for us to call. It is very difficult, but life is like that. One never thinks that these things could happen.

Raul, Juan Carlos, and Kenia

From left are Raul, Juan Carlos and Kenia.

Do you miss your mother?

Yes, because she has been a very good mother, a fighter, who in spite of all that has happened, has always fought for her children’s well-being.

I always imagine that the New Year or some other vacation period is coming so that she can return and we can be together again.

Do you have family to care for you, or only Juan Carlos?

Yes, thank God that besides my brothers, Raul and Carlos, some people will give me support and strength to carry on. They are not relatives but it is as though they were. They are always watching out for me, and I am very grateful. They are the couple who are pastors of the church that I attend.

How do you help your brother at home?

We will help each other, whether with household chores, which we divide among ourselves, or with our studies with which my brother Carlos helps me as I help my younger brother Raul. So we have learned that despite things that happen, love and the unifying element of family always prevail.

Where do you go to school?

I study at an institute about four blocks from my house. I am in the fourth year of secondary school, which is a little difficult for me, but with some effort I will make headway because our lives are like a race in which you have to struggle to win the prize.

What do you want to be in your life?

God willing, next year I will graduate from secondary school. At first I wanted to study to be a teacher, but also to be a nurse, and I have decided to study nursing.

What are your dreams and hopes?

To see myself fulfilled, to obtain a professional career, work and help my mother and little brother, since my mother has been that source of strength in those moments when I feel that I cannot continue. I remember what she does for me and I continue on.

Other wishes are to have the opportunity of knowing different countries, to mix well with people and to have new friends.

Read the story about Kenia’s brother, Juan Carlos.

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Dec 21 2010

Blogs and news articles featuring CFCA

Weíve had a number of great blog posts and news articles featuring us recently. Thanks to all for their support!

  1. The Intermountain Catholic News, from the Diocese of Salt Lake City, wrote a report about†two sponsors traveling to India to meet their sponsored children.
  2. The Kansas Mom blog featured a lovely testimonial about one sponsor’s experience of our Hope for a Family program.
  3. The story about Liberty Sementelli, an 8-year-old who raised $1,500 for a Guatemalan mothers group making chocolate, is getting amazing reception in all her local news outlets! Check out our report.
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Oct 25 2010

Walk2gether brings out hope on the highway

Eddie Watson, a member of the CFCA communications department, joined Walk2gether in Ecuador. Hereís his perspective on how the walk shows hope in action, especially among those living in poverty.

ìÖtribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappointÖî ó Romans 5:3

Eddie Watson, from CFCA communications department

Eddie Watson, a member of the CFCA communications department, joins Walk2gether in Ecuador.

At CFCA we talk about hope a lot. Itís in the name of our sponsorship program: Hope for a Family.

It appears in many of our publications, and itís posted throughout our headquarters in Kansas City, Kan. Itís at the heart of what this organization is all about.

But have you ever actually witnessed hope?

I hadnít until I visited Ecuador and walked with Bob and CFCA families on Walk2gether.

Hope was everywhere. Right now, somewhere in Peru, hope is walking along the right edge of a highway in the middle of a desert. Cars are whistling right on by.

In fact, there is a hope trail that stretches from Guatemala south more than 5,000 miles to Peru.

I read the scripture passage cited above on my flight home to the U.S. It jumped off the page at me, and I thought it illustrated what I experienced on Walk2gether and what the walk is really all about.

The families CFCA serves face tribulations every day, challenges far more intense than walking the 21 or more miles a day on the walk. CFCA serves families who walk several miles every day just to get water.

No, walking wasnít challenging for the beautiful people who met us as we passed through their communities.

What was challenging for many of them was walking the distance in flip flops or school dress shoes, because it was all they had.

But they didnít complain. They had far more character achieved through lives in the rural mountains of the Andes; character developed working for $7 a day on someone elseís land; character achieved by having to work 12-hour days to feed your three kids and send them to school, to give them a better future.

Borja Homero

Borja Homero, the father of a sponsored child from Mira.

Two sponsored children participate in Walk2gether.

I was walking in a rain shower with Bob early one morning, feeling bad for all the families with us getting drenched.

I began thinking about all the money I spent on the gear keeping me warm and dry: $140 Gortex-lined boots, a $40 fleece jacket, a $50 rain jacket.

We came to a resting point, and we lined up to greet the families and thank them for joining us. I wish you could have seen their faces.

They were so excited to meet Bob and so proud to walk for the organization. Nothing was going to stand in their way. This was one way they could give back.

As much as Bob is walking to show CFCAís love, these families are walking to say ìthank you.î They are thrilled to be on the journey.

I saw the hope in their eyes.

Their hope makes my food taste different. It makes my showers shorter, my ìI love youísî better, and makes me want to jump out of the bed in the morning.

The hope I saw makes me want to give my best.

Bob says this is what the walk and CFCA are all about. He says we should ìbe at our best for the poor because they deserve it.î

It started making more sense to me how a 74-year-old man can dream of walking 8,000 miles with these families. He sees hope.

I was privileged to see it. The worldwide CFCA community is beginning to see it, too, as we spread our message to more and more people.

My dream is for everyone to see it.

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