Apr 3 2013

Helping families achieve self-sufficiency, part 3: Guatemala

CFCA sponsored friend

Floridalma and her daughters, Bridia (left), sponsored through CFCA, and Lilian (right).

By Kristin Littrell, CFCA correspondent

CFCA is not a one-size-fits-all organization. We rely on our field staffs to know the families in each community, to listen to their needs and hopes, and to provide a program that empowers them to build a path out of poverty.

In the final post in this three-part blog series, we give you a window into several CFCA communities, to gauge the success of the Hope for a Family sponsorship program.

It takes 20 minutes on the back of a motorcycle, up steep and narrow dirt roads, to get to Floridalma’s home.

She lives in Chuixilon, a small Guatemalan village, where rolling fields of strawberries are sheltered by the peaks of nearby mountains. It is beautiful and remote. The air smells like strawberries mixed with fresh pine, and only the moon and the stars light the streets at night. Read more

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Apr 2 2013

7 ways to increase cultural awareness through letter writing

CFCA sponsored child

Arbie, a CFCA sponsored child in the Philippines, writes a letter to her sponsor.

When you sponsor a child or aging friend, you open the door to another culture — your new friend’s culture. By writing to their friends, sponsors deepen this connection across cultural, geographic and economic divides.

These letter-writing ideas can help you on your journey to greater cultural awareness:

  • Find some news headlines from your sponsored friend’s country.

These can make great conversation starters. As you search for headlines, pay attention to the news article’s tone as well as the information. Is it lighthearted or somber? Does it focus on institutional matters or social concerns? See who is quoted — politicians, celebrities, government officials, etc.

Practical tip for your next letter: Set aside a few minutes each day for a week to scan some headlines from your sponsored friend’s country. Mention one or two of them and ask your friend for some context. What makes this news? Is it unusual or typical of the challenges the country may be facing?

  • Watch the weather and how you react to it.

If you come from a cold climate, you’re probably used to wearing gloves, scarves and winter coats. If your sponsored friend is from a tropical country, she or he may have a hard time relating to descriptions of winter and cold. Read more

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Apr 1 2013

Charlie’s time machine

The CFCA project in Legazpi, Philippines, recently sent us success stories from young adults who were sponsored through CFCA.

Here’s one from Charlie, who just graduated with his teaching degree after many challenges along the way. Congratulations, Charlie!

It was soon after third grade when I wanted to fast forward through time, skip this long, dreary school age and enjoy a happy, sufficient job.

I even prayed for a time machine, magic or anything I saw on television that could transform me immediately into being a man.

Desperate as I was, I tried rotating the hour hand of our clock backwards, almost a hundred times, believing that this would change the world’s time.

And, of course, nothing happened, but something was granted.

I was 8 years old, in the fourth grade and in good shape when I was accepted by CFCA as a sponsored child.

I remembered I was taking my annual photograph on one corner of our house. I was greatly hesitant about whether to smile or just to make a normal face to look well-behaved.

Whatever I did, I was happy being one of the sponsored children.

At the onset of my fourth grade up to the last pinch of struggle in my pursuit of a teaching career, I have felt the genuine support of CFCA and, most especially, my sponsors.

I have worked very hard to become successful in my academic career because I know someone is determined to see me stand out in my field.

My father died of pneumonia when I was in my fourth year of high school. His death intensified our family’s needs and my fear of no longer being able to pursue a college degree.

I persevered, and I graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.

CFCA has been a good foundation to my family, which holistically helps develop and improve our life in every aspect.

Now that I completed a degree and am practicing my profession as a substitute teacher, I still want to have a time machine to turn back the time and be, forever, a CFCA sponsored child.

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Mar 26 2013

How do you share CFCA with others?

CFCA volunteers

From left: CFCA volunteers Rafaela, Daniela and Luka Bradvica share CFCA with friends and family. How do you talk about your sponsorship?

Rather than spend a lot of money on advertising, CFCA relies on the enthusiasm of our volunteers and all the other sponsors who informally share what sponsorship means to them.

More than 7,000 volunteers have stepped forward to help spread the word about CFCA among their friends, families and communities.

What are your ways of sharing CFCA with others?

There are so many ways and opportunities to share the work of CFCA. Everyone uses a different approach based on their interests and talents. Thatís why we want to hear what works for you!

Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Here are a few ideas from volunteers to get us started:

  • Eleven-year-old Grace Castillo sells crocheted hair accessories she makes herself to raise funds for CFCA’s Hope for a Family program. At craft fairs, Grace shows those who stop by her table a picture of her sponsored friend, and she talks about how special he is to her family.
  • College Student Daniela Bradvica encourages students in Catholic schools to sponsor a child. She even helps them create classroom bulletin boards that feature the country of their sponsored friend.
  • Clement Ward hosted a movie night to show CFCA’s “Rise and Dream” documentary. He put announcements in church bulletins around town and developed fliers with information about CFCA, including our website.
  • Kristi Sands spreads the word about CFCA’s work through an email signature that appears at the bottom of every email she sends. The signature reads, “Wonít you please consider joining me in sponsoring a child?” and includes a link to her CFCA “My Outreach” page. She goes on to say, “I’ve been a sponsor since 1999, met my girls in Nicaragua in 2011, and have found the whole experience so worthwhile! Since I canít sponsor them all myself, Iím looking for others who can help. Ö”

Leave a comment and let us know how you share CFCA with others!

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Mar 21 2013

Family inspires CFCA staff member on awareness trip

Family in Costa Rica

Uriel, and Abdelino with their mother, Hilda, and father, Danilo.

By Leslie Hernandez, CFCA Sponsor Services

Leslie Hernandez works for CFCA as a bilingual communications liaison in Sponsor Services. Read Leslie’s story of hope as she helped a family in Costa Rica realize their dream of building a dignified home.

I participated in a Costa Rica awareness trip last July with CFCA, and the experience changed my life.

I met Abdelino and Uriel, two brothers sponsored through CFCA, and fell in love with their family.

This family lives in poverty and struggles against great odds, yet they are happy and humble people.

Abdelino and Uriel live with their mother, Hilda, and father, Danilo, in a remote village east of the capital, San Jose.

Residents in this region have little or no access to potable water, electricity or paved roads.

The main source of employment in this area is a banana plantation that only offers seasonal jobs. In Limon, bananas and plantain are one of the region’s top sources of income. However, the banana plantation only offers seasonal employment that is never promised and provides a very low pay. Read more

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Mar 15 2013

Helping families achieve self-sufficiency, part 2: Antipolo, Philippines

By Kristin Littrell, CFCA correspondent

 water hyacinth products

Beng in her storefront selling her water hyacinth products.

CFCA is not a one-size-fits-all organization. We rely on our field staffs to know the families in each community, to listen to their needs and hopes, and to provide a program that empowers them to build a path out of poverty.

In the second post in this three-part blog series, we give you a window into several CFCA communities, to gauge the success of the Hope for a Family sponsorship program.

Water still covers the path to the home of Kuya and Beng, parents of a sponsored child in the Philippines. The area has yet to dry out from monsoon rains that recently hit their community.

Kuya and Beng live with their family in a small home, made of bamboo and plywood, just 5 meters from the lake’s edge.

Like many in their small fishing village, they depend on the lake for their livelihood. Kuya owns a banca (a small fishing boat) and a fish cage.

But the fishing hasn’t been going so well lately.

Water hyacinth, a highly invasive aquatic plant, has hurt the local fishing business. The water hyacinth grows densely along the shore, making it difficult for fishing boats to navigate. The plant also prevents sunlight from entering the water, which reduces the food supply for the fish. Read more

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Mar 13 2013

Wishing for a well: Community gets clean water source

By Jordan Kimbrell, CFCA Sponsor Services

Oliver's village
A rural village, west of Antsirabe, Madagascar, is home to a small farming community.

Farming is one of the main sources of income in the Antsirabe region, and the members of this community rely on it.

families in Madagascar

In 2011, Dolores Reed from Paducah, Ky., who sponsors Olivier in this region of Madagascar, learned from an article that many people in the country don’t have easy access to clean water for drinking, cooking or watering the crops in seasons when rainfall is scarce.

She learned through CFCA that Olivier’s village lacked ready access to clean water. The community where he lives relied on streams, which also served as drinking water for the livestock.

“They didn’t have [good access to] water,” Dolores said. “We take water for granted.” Read more

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