Our work in Venezuela
Empowering families in Venezuela
CFCA has worked with children, families and the aging in Venezuela since 1983 through the Barquisimeto project. The Hope for a Family program helps empower families to improve their quality of life by supporting educational opportunities for children and adults, better health care, and participation in recreational and cultural activities.
Venezuela is one of the world's leading producers of petroleum, but an inflation rate of 25 to 30 percent, the highest in the region, makes it difficult for people in poverty to get ahead as the cost of everyday necessities such as transportation, food and medicine rapidly increases.
CFCA's highest priorities in Venezuela remain education and health. Education offers the best opportunity for families to break the cycle of poverty and access to health care ensures that sponsored members can partake of these opportunities.
Family ownership of the program
In Venezuela, mothers of sponsored children are organized in small, community-based groups. Members in each group are selected to represent different CFCA program committees: education, health, finance and correspondence. These committees work to achieve the objectives of the Hope for a Family program.
Committee leaders meet monthly with CFCA staff in their regions. They receive training and information about matters related to their respective areas of the sponsorship program. The leader mothers then motivate the rest of their group to participate in planned program activities.
Participation in these small groups has improved the mothers' self-esteem and inspired them to work together to improve their communities. Here is what some mothers had to say:
"In the large group, I was always lost. I did not know the group. Now, I share more and know the names of the mothers in my group." - Yelitza
"I like the work of the committees. … What I learn in meetings, I apply in all places where I participate." - Mary
Education increases opportunity
The sponsorship program's emphasis on education is apparent in the program's structure. Mothers on the education committee monitor the school performance of sponsored children. The mothers review report cards, record progress and arrange tutoring for students who need it. When necessary, these mothers meet school officials and parents to ensure proper remedial action is taken to prevent any student from falling behind.
The dedication of these mothers to the education of sponsored friends helps strengthen the community.
Leonidas was sponsored for 23 years through the Barquisimeto project. To show his appreciation for long-term sponsorship support, Leonidas visited every sponsored friend in his community and helped them write letters. As a result of his efforts, community participation in the program increased.
"With this work in the community, I learned to appreciate seeing the needs of others who are sponsored, the value of CFCA related to human dignity and above all, to seize the opportunity that I was in the sponsorship program to study and achieve my goal of being a professional," Leonidas said.
An emphasis on health
Another major area of emphasis by the CFCA project in Venezuela is health. Mothers group representatives from the health committee are responsible for organizing health campaigns in CFCA communities, including an annual health fair.
During the health fair, families of sponsored friends learn about the benefits of preventive care and sponsored friends receive medical consultation.
After the consultation, the medical professional makes recommendations for improving the health and personal care of the family and community. Depending on the diagnosis, the medical official may conduct a follow-up visit.
In addition to an annual health fair, the health committee coordinates dental exams for sponsored friends and holds workshops on important health issues.