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.

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Aug 10 2012

How we see success in the lives of families, part 4

This is the final post in our blog series about what success looks like for CFCA. Here are some goals of the Hope for a Family program, and stories that exemplify how those goals are being met worldwide. We hope it encourages you, as it does us, to see hope growing in families.

GOAL: We want to promote a culture of learning, within the program and in the world, adapting and changing as we learn and grow.

Meldred, a CFCA sponsored youth in the PhilippinesThe CFCA Antipolo project in the Philippines is promoting a culture of learning through yearly evaluations with staff and sponsored friends.

Through shared learning with CFCA headquarters in Kansas, the project refined its assessment process and focused on program outcomes (changes and benefits experienced by program participants) in 2011.

The Antipolo project used this outcome measurement model to evaluate one of its socioeconomic programs ñ the Likas-Kayang Pagkain (LKP or Sustainable Food Program).

The program is designed to increase food security for families of sponsored friends through integrated strategies. Read more

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Jul 11 2012

Dealing with frequent power blackouts in Kenya

When we flip a switch in the United States, we usually expect electricity to flow and lights to turn on. That’s not always the case in Kenya.

Power blackouts are very common, especially during the rainy season. Joy knows this only too well.

Joy, CFCA sponsored child in Kenya, studying by candlelight during a power blackout

Joy, a CFCA sponsored child, studies by candlelight whenever there is a power blackout at her home in Kenya.

Joy, a child sponsored through CFCA’s Hope for a Family sponsorship program, lives in Kangemi with her family. She goes to a nearby school.

After school, Joy goes home and helps her mother with housework before settling down to do homework. She is lucky that they have electricity in their home.

Many households still depend on paraffin and tin lamps to provide them with light.

Joy has an extra reason she doesn’t want the power to go off, especially if it’s a school day and she has homework!

“My mother lights a candle, but it is dim and I strain so much while reading,” she said.

Despite this, Joy also knows that she is lucky to have electricity at home because most of her friends in school are not as fortunate as she is.

“During weekends my friends come over to watch cartoons on television with me. I am disappointed when the power goes out because that means no cartoons,” she said.

Nevertheless Joy is optimistic that in a few years, life will be better and blackouts will be a thing of the past.

Regina Mburu, our CFCA communications liaison in Kenya, contributed to this report.

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May 29 2012

Sponsorship helps families afford school, part 1

Because education is so effective in helping families build a path out of poverty, the Hope for a Family program places a high priority on the education benefit.

Children and youth who are of school age are eligible for CFCA sponsorship as long as they are in school.

Rachel, CFCA sponsored child in Kenya, with her new school uniform

Rachel, sponsored as a child through CFCA, has a new school uniform provided by money saved from her sponsorship account.

Parents in the CFCA program accept this requirement and work hard to keep their children in school. They are committed to helping their children reach their educational goals.

“Many parents of sponsored children didn’t have the opportunity to complete their own education,” said Dan Pearson, CFCA director of international programs. “They want their kids to have more choices and better opportunities that come with a more complete education.”

However, the greatest barrier to education for families in the CFCA program is the cost. That includes direct costs, such as tuition, books and supplies.

It also includes the hidden cost of lost family income when a teenager continues in school instead of working full time.

The families CFCA serves live on very narrow margins. Costs such as bus fare or uniforms can have a very large impact on their lives.

“Sponsorship widens those margins and gives families a little more breathing space, which allows them to keep their kids in school longer,” Pearson said.

During the next few weeks, we’ll present several examples of how sponsorship empowers families to support their children’s education. Today we take a closer look at Kenya. Read more

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May 7 2012

Sponsored aging friend creates beauty with beadwork

By Regina Mburu, CFCA communications liaison in Kenya

Beadwork by CFCA sponsored aging friend in Kenya

Leah, 72, sponsored through CFCA in Kenya, has learned how to make beautiful jewelry from wastepaper. She also weaves baskets for a living.

At 72 years old, Leah is loving life ñ enough to learn two whole new trades.

Leah has been sponsored through the CFCA program in Kenya since 2003. Recently she has taken up basket weaving and making jewelry out of recycled wastepaper.

“This work keeps me so busy that I forget any problems I might be having,” she says. “You know when you are busy, you don’t fall sick.”

It wasn’t always this easy for Leah. She has seven children, three of whom have passed away, and 18 grandchildren.

Leah’s husband died in 1977, leaving her to take care of the seven children.

At that time Leah worked as a hospital cleaner, and her earnings were not enough to provide for her family.

“My neighbors saw my plight, and they introduced me to the CFCA Hope for a Family program,” Leah said. Read more

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Apr 24 2012

Family steps toward economic self-sufficiency in Kenya

By Regina Mburu, CFCA communications liaison in Nairobi, Kenya

The mooing of cows, clucking of chickens and cooing of doves welcome you to this special home, which lies just a few miles from the equator near Nanyuki, Kenya.

Mwai family in Kenya

Elizabeth and Dominic are urban slum farmers in Kenya. Two of their children are sponsored through CFCA.

As Dominic feeds the cows, his wife, Elizabeth, is busy making sure the chickens have enough to eat.

However, it was not always like this.

Dominic and Elizabeth, who live in a slum area, were struggling to provide for their five children. As a cook, Dominic was hardly earning enough to sustain his family’s needs, and Elizabeth was a housewife.

“We used to live in a one-room house,” Elizabeth said. “Food was hard to come by, not to mention taking our children to school. Life was unbearable; our neighbors were avoiding us because of our many problems. We felt like outcasts.”

In 2002, their life changed when their sons John and Martin were sponsored through the Hope for a Family sponsorship program.

The two boys could now go to school as sponsorship covered their tuition fees and school supplies. The family also got nutritional benefits such as rice from the sponsorship program.

With some burdens lifted off their shoulders, the family decided to save some money and start a poultry business. Their passion for animal husbandry could now be put in practice. Read more

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Apr 11 2012

Backgrounder on birth certificates for sponsored children

Birth certificates in Kenya

Millicent worked hard to acquire birth certificates for her children Robert, left, and Ben, right, both sponsored through CFCA.

What’s in a name? Depending on where you live, it can mean a whole lot of difference, especially when it comes to government documents such as birth certificates.

Many sponsored children, aging friends and their family members in our Kisumu, Meru and Nairobi projects in Kenya do not have birth certificates.

The reasons for this vary. Sometimes parents cannot afford to deliver their children in hospitals.

Because there’s no one to notify the government when births occur at home, many of these children end up without a birth certificate.

A birth certificate is a copy of an official government document that proves you exist. It gives you an identity and validates your importance to society.

It can be difficult, if not impossible, for those without birth certificates to gain formal employment, open bank accounts and own property.

CFCA has undertaken an initiative to help families obtain official birth certificates. Through this initiative, we’re taking steps to empower them to take control of their futures and create a positive self-identity.

Read more about how Kenyans are obtaining birth certificates despite tremendous obstacles.

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