Monday, January 12, 2009

Sponsor a child through CFCA

The Christian Foundation for Children and Aging, or CFCA for short, is a charitable organization that helps "families in developing countries put food on the table and send their children to school so that together, we can end the cycle of poverty." CFCA has many "projects", as they call them, in many less-developed countries in Central & South America, Asia, and Africa.

When you sponsor a child (they also have programs to help the elderly), you receive a packet with a photograph and other information about the child and his family. The monthly sponsorship amount is small by US standards (about $30 -- for a family of five, a single meal out could easily cost that amount). But it makes a huge difference to the child and his family. Generally, the money pays for books, uniforms, and other school expenses, and may even cover food and other basic needs.

As CFCA said in a recent newsletter, it doesn't take a lot of money to make a big difference. Rather, it takes a moderate amount used in a way that makes sense for the individual and family situation.

We have friends who have sponsored children through CFCA, and every two to three years a couple comes to our parish to make a presentation about the organization. Last year, we began sponsoring a child. Because I am ethnically Indian, we chose to sponsor an Indian child, and we selected a boy near the age of our two oldest.

We have received regular letters from your sponsored child and special labels so that we could write back. (This process may involve a CFCA translator if you do not speak the same language.) We recently received a beautiful Christmas card from our youngster.

What I especially like:
* they work with the family, and not just the child in isolation
* they emphasize building a relationship with your sponsored friend, whom you commit to sponsor through the end of his education
* the projects do not take a "one size fits all" approach but are tailored to the specific situation
* the focus is long-term rather than an "instant" band-aid approach
* It fits in very well with what Pope John Paul the Great said about "adoption at a distance".

True parental love is ready to go beyond the bonds of flesh and blood in order to accept children from other families, offering them whatever is necessary for their well-being and full development. Among the various forms of adoption, consideration should be given to adoption-at-a-distance, preferable in cases where the only reason for giving up the child is the extreme poverty of the child's family. Through this type of adoption, parents are given the help needed to support and raise their children, without their being uprooted from their natural environment. (The Gospel of Life, n. 93)

CFCA is a very reputable charity. If you are looking for a way to help those much less well-off, this could be a wonderful fit for you.

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