Jul 27 2012

How we see success in the lives of families, part 2

We’re posting a series of blog posts on 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 in the field. We hope it encourages you, as it does us, to see hope growing in families.

GOAL: We want to empower families to develop their own means of support, so that they come to rely more on themselves and less on the Hope for a Family program.

Jorge Mario with jam in Guatemala

CFCA scholar Jorge Mario.

Jorge Mario is a scholarship student in Guatemala. His CFCA scholarship provides a modest stipend to pay for his educational expenses, but the scholarship alone is not enough to cover all Jorge’s costs.

His brother, Luis, realized this, and began a jam- and jelly-making project to supplement Jorge’s income.

Luis started the project because he dreamed of creating sources of employment and opportunities for the youth in his community.

Currently, seven CFCA scholarship students participate in the project. They operate a small business, selling the jars at a modest profit.

When combined with their scholarship, the students earn enough from the jam business to pay for their educational expenses.

Jorge Mario is working toward his bachelor’s degree in agroforestry. Most of Jorge Mario’s educational costs are for transportation to and from school, and he says the jam- and jelly-making business makes it possible for him to move forward. Read more

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Jul 17 2012

How we see success in the lives of families, part 1

Editor’s note: Some of the names of people mentioned in this blog post have been changed to ensure their privacy and protection.

Our goal at CFCA is to help families build a path out of poverty. And we mean it. So we frequently seek to grow and improve our programs.

We want to know if what we’re doing is successful. It matters to us, to the families we serve and to the people who trust us with their support.

We hear encouraging stories of how the Hope for a Family program is changing families’ lives. We thought you might want to hear those stories, too.

Over the next few weeks we’ll share some of our goals with you, along with stories that exemplify how they’re being met in the field.

We hope it encourages you, as it does us, to see hope growing in families.

GOAL: We want families to become self-sustaining, relying on their own income-generating activities to feed their families and plan for the future.

Grupo de madres

Grupo de madres ó a mothers group in Costa Rica learns to sew in order to earn extra income for their families.

CFCA works with families in Heredia, Costa Rica, a rapidly industrializing community about six miles north of San Jose.

The reality for families living in Heredia is harsh. They live in slums and struggle with social problems. Many live in river basins or dangerous areas threatened by landslides.

In a rough area such as this, hope can be just out of arm’s reach. But the CFCA mothers groups, support and income-generating groups for mothers of sponsored children, give these mothers an extra boost.

Marcela and Nora are two mothers of CFCA sponsored children in Heredia who taught 15 other mothers to sew.

These mothers in turn taught members of their CFCA mothers groups. Read more

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Feb 20 2012

Single mom in El Salvador finds hope through CFCA

Isabel, mother of CFCA sponsored children in El Salvador, picking coffee beans

Isabel picks coffee beans in El Salvador. She is the mother of four children, two of whom are sponsored through CFCA.

The coffee harvest is well under way around the world. Most countries harvest coffee from December to March, and it is a major source of income for many families living in poverty.

Here is an interview with Isabel, a single mother of four daughters in Ataco, El Salvador. She did not continue school beyond first grade, and coffee picking is her only livelihood to support her family.

Two of her children, Dayra and Fatima, are sponsored through CFCA. Isabel belongs to a CFCA mothers group, which has boosted her self-confidence.

Tell us about yourself.

I am the single mother of four children. I feel happy, because I have this huge benefit of sponsorship for my children. I am alone. I cannot hope for more help besides that from the project.

Thanks to Sister Guadalupe, my daughter entered the program in 2004, when she was very small.

At that time, I was experiencing a crisis in that I could not find work. There was no work at the plantation.

I earned $45 every 15 days. And one worries about buying food first. But the sponsorship benefits my daughter receives are great. They even clean her teeth.

Thanks to the generous heart of her sponsors, we can improve our lives. What’s most important is the struggle and the hope we have in the project.

No matter what I need for my daughter, whether a new set of clothes or a new pair of shoes, I tell her, “Daughter, here is what your sponsors and the project do for you.”

I live with my mother, my four daughters and my sister.

When my father died, it was traumatic. My sister was 10. My father was killed. We were left in shambles. We were living in different houses. We did not have a dignified house. Read more of Isabel’s story

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Dec 29 2011

‘A meal with a taste of gratitude’ from Mexico

By Omar Z˙niga GarcÌa, CFCA staff member in Merida, Mexico

Mothers of CFCA sponsored children in Merida, Mexico

Mothers of sponsored children in Merida, Mexico, prepare a delicious meal to thank local CFCA staff members.

The mothers of sponsored children in Merida, Mexico, helped us realize the importance of a voice tuned in to the needs of the people.

There are 363 sponsored friends (344 sponsored children and 19 sponsored elderly) in this Yucatan community of CFCAís Merida project.

On weekends, people from different neighborhoods gather at the downtown CFCA office.

On Dec. 5, 2011, a CFCA mothers group invited the Merida project staff members to a meal to thank them for all the attention and work done for sponsored friends and their families.

“With my hard work and with the help I was given, my dream to have a small diner became a reality,” said Bercy, one of the mothers. “When I received my sponsorship benefit, I put aside some products that donít spoil, such as oil and beans. This happened for two years. Today, I have my diner named ‘Noy’ after my son.” Read more

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Dec 20 2011

Small groups help CFCA adapt to a changing world

A small-group model is making big changes in the lives of families around the world.

CFCA small group models in Kenya

CFCA staff member Lillian Naka, standing, conducts training with a mothers group in Nairobi, Kenya.

Implemented more than 10 years ago in India and the Philippines, the small-group model gives parents and guardians of sponsored children more ability to shape the CFCA Hope for a Family program in their areas.

“We are finding it’s easier for the families to have a voice when they are organized in small groups,” said Dan Pearson, director of international programs. “It’s hard for us to listen to 300,000 families, but with small groups, the families take the lead, the project can follow them and we can follow the project.”

The small-group model (also called community-based groups, self-help groups and mothers groups) empowers individual group members and encourages interaction and mutual support among families. Read more

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Dec 6 2011

CFCA mothers groups: Bonding for a better future

This article was written by Sreekanth Gundoji, CFCA communications liaison in Hyderabad. Note: The names of the women mentioned in the article have been changed to protect their identity.

I noticed a common problem faced by women in India is countering age-old customs and traditions that restrict them from leading a good, happy life.

Hence, there is a need for these women to find a forum, a platform, to come out of the cocoon created by such traditions and live a life of freedom.

Here CFCA mothers groups play a vital role in uplifting womenís dignity and empowering them.

Sofia is a mother of three girls, one of whom is sponsored by CFCA. Her husband is an alcoholic. He suffers bad health and is unable to work.

CFCA mothers group in India

CFCA mothers group meeting in India. Sukshmana Thakur, standing in the center, is a CFCA social worker.

When Sofiaís husband was in good health, he would harass her just because she gave birth to girls. He wanted a boy who could carry on the family name.

When he saw that the third child, too, was a girl, he deserted Sofia. When his health started to deteriorate, he returned.

Although Sofia was happy that her husband came back, her burdens increased. She not only had to meet her day-to-day expenses and take care of the children, but she also had to take care of his medical expenses.

At times it became difficult for her to meet emergency expenses. Thatís when Justina, a social worker in CFCAís Chaderghat community, put forth the problems faced by Sofia in one of the mothers group meetings. Read more

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Nov 14 2011

Mothers highlighted during Global Entrepreneurship Week

Sreekanth, CFCA communications liaison in Hyderabad, India, contributed to this report.

The Anna Theresa mothers group in India wins best group entrepreneurship award at a CFCA conference

The Anna Theresa mothers group in India wins the best group entrepreneurship award at a CFCA conference.

Did you know Nov. 14-20 is Global Entrepreneurship Week?

During this time when entrepreneurs are honored worldwide for their achievements, we’d like to highlight the entrepreneurs in our CFCA community, particularly mothers of sponsored children.

In just one example, the CFCA project in Chennai, India, organized a mothers group conference Sept. 24 called Sangamam (from a Tamil word that means a get-together or conference).

The conference is a daylong event of fun and learning, including an awards session for recognizing groups and individuals who have started entrepreneurship programs and projects for coming out of poverty.

These enterprises started with the help of loans from CFCA mothers groups. As the businesses grew, mothers then repaid the loans to the groups. Read more

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