Jul 6 2012

CFCA Communications Centers: Santa Ana, El Salvador

Henry, CFCA communications center in El Salvador

Henry Flores, director of the CFCA Communications Center in El Salvador

Although we call them centers, which sound like big operations, they actually consist of one or a few local staff members. They help us find and feature stories from our sponsored children and aging friends.

We’d like to introduce you to each communications center liaison, continuing with Henry Flores, director of the CFCA Communications Center in El Salvador.

On Jan. 10, 1981, at 3 p.m., my dad, brother and I were at an ice cream shop. My brother was 13 years old and I was 9.

We were eating a vanilla banana split when we heard high-caliber gunshots accompanied by strong detonations, similar to what grenades sound like in Hollywood movies.

Employees started to close the place. Other customers ran out. My dad looked at us, and I saw fear in his eyes.

We ran outside. Gray smoke was in the air. I felt his arm around me. It did not feel like a hug; it felt like protection. I did not know my life was changing to an unexpected future.

That was the day that a 12-year civil war started in my country, El Salvador. The local army base, about two blocks away from the ice cream shop, was under attack.

The civil war caused pain, death and the migration of thousands of Salvadorans, including me.
Read more

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Jun 29 2012

How sponsorship helped change an orphan’s life

Rosemary is from Uganda and was orphaned at age 6.

After her parents passed away, she went to live with her uncle and his seven children.Rosemary, from Uganda

“Coming from a humble background, my parents meant everything to me,” Rosemary said. “After their death, it meant an end to everything, the good dresses and meals on Christmas, etc. The death of both my parents left me in shambles and my whole life was engulfed in misery.”

With the high cost of attending school, Rosemary had no hope that she would ever receive an education.

But when CFCA welcomed Rosemary into the program, her life completely changed.

Read the full story about Rosemary in Uganda.

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Jun 23 2012

CFCA in the blogosphere: CatholicMom.com + an Abigail update

CFCA blogItís our privilege to announce two recent blog posts that feature CFCA:

1) “Karen ó Friend of the Month” from CatholicMom.com

Lisa Hendey has graciously partnered with us by featuring a monthly invitation on CatholicMom.com to consider sponsoring a friend through CFCA. This month we chose to tell Karen’s story.

“Karen is one of more than 1,000 Colombian children on CFCAís waiting list for sponsorship. Sheís 3 years old and has three older siblings. Although both her parents work outside the home, their combined income is too low to meet their familyís needs. Her favorite school subject is drawing, and she likes to play with dolls.”

Read the full blog post here

2) CFCA: an Abigail update

Bobbi has kindly posted on her blog another letter from Abigail, a child her family sponsors in Mexico.

Here is an excerpt from Bobbi’s story:

“I am blown away that her mother and grandparents consider me a member of their family now and that Abigail is praying that Our Lady of Guadalupe watches over me and ‘covers me with her mantle.’ How beautiful! I love the fact that we are helping Abigail financially, yet we are the ones receiving the blessings of this little girl’s love and prayers.”

Read the full blog post: CFCA and an Abigail update

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Jun 22 2012

Emma, CFCA scholarship student from Costa Rica

By Emma, a CFCA scholar who studies social work at the University of Costa Rica branch at San RamÛnEmma, CFCA scholarship student

Since I was little, my mother always told us, ìYou, your sister and I are family.î And itís true. My mom is Francisca, my sister, Milagro, and yours truly.

This May, it will be 20 years since my father passed away, which means weíve never had a fatherís presence. However, Mom always made an effort to keep us moving forward and to give us, within her means, what we needed.

My mother has worked as a maid since she was 11 years old. Her earnings and the pension we receive for my fatherís death are the only income we have at home.

The CFCA scholarship is a great blessing for my family. Itís a great help for my mother so that she doesnít have to worry about helping me with money to pay for my studies.

I think that without the scholarship, I wouldnít have entered the university because I didnít have the means to do so. All that I have achieved in academics has been thanks first to God, and next to CFCA as a foundation and then to the scholarship because I have been able to pay for all the necessities. Read more

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Jun 20 2012

Changing one child’s world: New sponsor’s letter

CFCA sponsor and volunteer Steve Taylor is webmaster of his parish website, the St. Jerome Catholic Church in Newport News, Va. Part of the site includes a webpage devoted to his parish’s partnership with CFCA. During the parish’s March sponsorship drive, they found sponsors for 31 children and aging friends.

One of these new sponsors, Lisa Garner, submitted a beautiful letter to her parish explaining her sponsorship experience. It’s our privilege to share it with you!

Dear St. Jerome family,

My family and I recently made the decision to sponsor a child through CFCA, and I wanted to share some of my thoughts about what a wonderful experience it has been so far.

Russel, CFCA sponsored child

A photo of Russel in the Philippines. He is now sponsored by Lisa Garner and her family in Virginia.

I cannot say that I was completely unaware of CFCA and its mission. I had heard a presentation in the past, and browsed the table of sponsorship packets, but I was not ready to say “yes.”

I was worried about making such a long-term financial commitment while there were financial obligations in my own family that I wasn’t even sure could be met.

I suppose I was afraid, and like many things in life, fear becomes a barrier to doing the right thing.

Recently the opportunity to become a sponsor came around again. I’m sure that in sharing his CFCA mission awareness trip experience with the parish, Steve Taylor piqued a lot of interest.

His talk was moving, and I have since come to see that both he and Judi Allison have a passion and a mission to encourage others to partner with CFCA.

Russel, our sponsored child, is a 10-year-old boy who lives in the Philippines. While looking over all the children in need of sponsorship, I kept coming back to his information packet.

He is a small boy with a big smile, and something else about him, a kindness, or gentleness of some sort that seems to emanate from the inside out.

I put his picture on our refrigerator door and say a little prayer for him, his family and his village every time I see it.
Read more

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Jun 14 2012

Naomi and her family in Tanzania get electricity

A dimly lit lantern used to be the only light by which 15-year-old Naomi, sponsored through CFCA in Tanzania, could do her homework.

This work strained her eyes, and she developed an eye problem that caused her to visit the hospital several times. She was forced to wear eyeglasses to help her sight.

Naomi, CFCA sponsored youth in Tanzania

Naomi, CFCA sponsored youth in Tanzania. This 2011 photo shows her finishing school homework.

Naomi’s father, who is a farmer, watched as his daughter suffered.

“I longed to get electricity in my home, so that my daughter would have an easy time studying at night,” he said.

Naomi’s family is not alone.

Local CFCA staffers estimate about 1,000 families in the Hope for a Family sponsorship program lack access to electricity. (CFCA serves about 2,000 sponsored children and aging friends in Tanzania.)

A family typically pays approximately $2 US a month, or 3,000 Tanzanian shillings, for electricity, according to CFCA staff members.

The lack of electricity meant that Naomi couldn’t iron her clothes and school uniforms with an electric iron. She had to use a coal iron instead. Read more

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Jun 13 2012

Sponsorship helps families afford school, part 3

In the past few weeks, we’ve looked at several examples (first in Kenya, second in India) of how sponsorship empowers families to support their children’s education. Today we finish the series by looking at El Salvador and closing the technology gap.

Rosa and Edwin, CFCA sponsored child in El Salvador

Edwin, a CFCA sponsored youth, with his mother, Rosa, at the CFCA project office in El Salvador.

For students living in poverty, computers are seen as expensive luxuries that only the rich can afford. Many schools do not provide computer training.

Unless they find a way to learn computers, students have trouble keeping up.

“When students reach high school or college, their teachers expect them to know how to access the Internet, download assignments, do research and check grades,” said Yesenia Alfaro, project coordinator for CFCA in Santa Ana, El Salvador.

(You can read more about Yesenia’s interview and the technological gap for students in developing countries here.)

To help level the playing field for CFCA sponsored students, the project contracted with local technical schools to offer computer classes to students ages 13 to 20. CFCA also covers the cost of transportation to class for students in rural areas. Read more

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