Feb 5 2013

Two of a kind: sisters in India open food stand

Curry Point

Jesintha, left, and Prakash at their food stand, Curry Point.

CFCA strives to help families achieve economic self-sufficiency. The Hope for a Family program aims to partner with families so that over time they may rely less on benefits from CFCA and more on their own income-generation activities to meet their basic needs.

We recently heard from our Hyderabad project in India about several mothers of sponsored children who are exemplifying the potential of families living in poverty. Here’s the story of Prakash and her sister Jesintha ó enjoy!

In 2010, my sister, Jesintha, and I started a food stand called Curry Point.

We prepare food items like dal, sambar, potato fry, brinjal curry, tomato pickle and chapattis (Indian bread) and other foods. We sell our meals at reasonable rates, so it is affordable for many.

I am Prakash. My sister and I are part of a mothers group in Hyderabad, India. She has a son sponsored through CFCA, and my son is sponsored as well.

My sister and I both took out a loan from each of our mothers groups to start this curry business. Read more

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Jan 30 2013

CFCA staff member reflects on everyday blessings

Veronica BattonBy Veronica Batton, CFCA writer/editor

I found my old passport the other day while cleaning my kitchen. I have no idea why I chose the kitchen to store this important document, but that’s a story for another time.

When I found my passport, I realized I was coming up on my one-year anniversary of my CFCA awareness trip to India.

I still remember that trip vividly. The bright colors of pinks, blues and golds woven into the women’s saris; the lovely smell of incense; the happy smiles on the faces of CFCA friends and families; discovering delicious foods; and also witnessing the extreme poverty, which impacts much of the country.

When I came back, I promised myself that I would do my best to always be grateful for all the blessings in my life.

I remember a time over the summer when I was having a rough day; I was becoming more and more frustrated with whatever was bothering me. (I was probably mad at my flat iron.)

I made a conscious decision to stop and reflect on the things I was grateful for, and my frustration started to melt away.

Working as a writer/editor at CFCA I learn so much about the sponsored friends and their families ó I learn about their love for life, their strength and their daily realities.

The everyday necessities and comforts in life I sometimes take for granted are not easily accessible for families living in poverty. Here are some examples: Read more

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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

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Jan 15 2013

Mother in India starts family business

Sathya

Sathya opened her own store with help from a CFCA mothers group loan.

We recently heard from our Hyderabad project in India about several mothers of sponsored children who are exemplifying the potential of families living in poverty. Here’s the story of Sathya – enjoy!

My family and I live in a remote village in India.

My husband used to be a contract worker; the income he earned was not enough to support our family.

I had an opportunity to take out a loan through my mothers group.

I talked with my husband, and we both shared the idea of opening a store in our village.

He supported my idea and agreed to purchase the required materials for the store.

First, I opened the store in our home.

I soon repaid the first loan, and I took out another loan to purchase a kiosk made with wood.

After that was repaid, I asked for a third loan to buy a refrigerator to keep a few cool drinks in the store.

After a few years, my husband left his job and is helping me run the business. Read more

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Jan 10 2013

What the Santals can teach us: Sreekanth, CFCA communications liaison for India

Sreekanth, CFCA communications liaison for India

Sreekanth, out on location, wearing a traditional hat of the Santal tribe.

By Sreekanth Gundoji, CFCA communications liaison for India

Each CFCA sponsored friend and family has a story to tell.

For the families of the Santal tribes living in remote areas of India between Nepal and Bangladesh, the story is especially compelling.

As CFCA’s communications liaison in India, I have the honor to tell their story.

The Santals depend on nature for their survival. Agriculture is their way of life.

As their villages are spread across four Indian states and are miles away from towns, they create their own communities with whatever resources are available. They build houses with mud and clay supported by bamboo sticks and cover the roof with grass, straw and tiles made of mud.

The Santals are wrongly considered “behind the times” by many in India, and their way of life may seem rugged to you and me.

But the Santal people can teach all of us important lessons. They take nothing for granted, and they have a lot to share about using scarce resources in the most sustainable ways.

Their culture and religious observances are colorful, dynamic and unique. To the Santals, dancing is essential to life. Read more

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Dec 6 2012

Sponsored youth: ‘Sponsorship has been my miracle’

CFCA sponsored child, SabinaMy name is Sabina. I have been sponsored through CFCA for many years.

I was born to a very large family of 11 in a remote village 50 miles (80 kilometers) away from the nearest populated city.

My family has faced many difficulties.

There were days when we only had one meal. I used to join my sisters in carrying firewood from a distant jungle so that my mother could cook. Sometimes, we would collect leaves to sell in order to support ourselves.

When I was old enough to go to school 16 years ago, my parents told me that I needed to stay back and help graze cattle because they could not afford to send both me and my brother to school. I wept for days.

A year later, my life changed. God heard my cry when my family received news that I had been sponsored through CFCA.

Because of sponsorship, my parents could finally afford to send me to school. It was then that I made the serious decision to study hard and support my family.

There were times that I had to discontinue my studies because of poverty, but I can now say that I have graduated at the top of my class, and feel that I can support myself.

I recently accepted a job offer and now work as a branch postmaster in Dumka, India. I am one of the first from my village to work for the government.

Sponsorship has been my miracle. If my sponsor, Antoinette, were not in my life, it would have been an uphill battle to finish school. I would not have been able to complete my education.

She has taken care of me and believed in me so that I could become someone in life. God has done marvelous work in my life through her. I am so thankful.

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Nov 30 2012

Family in India overcomes job loss, starts small businesses

C Rose Mary, mother in IndiaWe recently heard from our Hyderabad project in India about several mothers of sponsored children who are exemplifying the potential of families living in poverty. Here’s the story of C. Rose Mary — enjoy!

I have been involved with CFCA for the last 12 years. It helped us during our most difficult period of economic crisis.

When my husband lost his job, we were worried about our family and our children’s future. During that time I took a loan from my CFCA mothers group and started selling vegetables at our rented home. Eventually my vegetable shop became famous locally.

Suddenly the owner of the house where we were staying asked us to move. We didn’t know what to do next.

As I repaid the previous loan, I took another loan and started a small hotel in an industrial area. Now it’s running very well.

The hotel has supported our family for the past five years. My husband purchases groceries and helps prepare the food. He also serves tea in nearby factories. My son and my two daughters also work at the hotel when they are not in school.

Recently I took another loan to repair our house.

My younger daughter Celestina was sponsored through the Hope for a Family program and has now graduated. We are so thankful to CFCA for being with us and helping us to overcome our difficulties.

My advice for other mothers in mothers groups is to start a business with group loans. It will help you to develop your financial status and will also help you to repay the loan to the group.

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