CFCA workshop empowers mother, strengthens family
February 14, 2011
It is 5 a.m. in a small town outside Bogota, Colombia. Lidia and her husband, Benjamin, have been awake for more than an hour milking and feeding the four cows they own.
Soon their boys, Duvon, 9, and Wilmer, 7, will go to school. Yuri, their 3-year-old daughter, will sleep a little longer.
Lidia is proud of her three children: Duvon, Wilmer and Yuri.
"Family is important for me,” Lidia says. "I pray to God for a
long marriage, because our hope is that our children can feel
the warmth of mom and dad."
Duvon and Wilmer are sponsored through CFCA´s Hope for a Family program in Bogota. CFCA has worked in Colombia since 1982 and currently serves more than 21,000 sponsored members there.
CFCA believes in strong families, where the mother feels encouraged and supported. A motivated mother is better able to give her children the encouragement they need to succeed in life.
Lidia, now 26, had her first child at 19. Benjamin, 40, works all day at a milk processing plant. After breakfast, Duvon and Wilmer are kissed and sent to school.
Watching her children walk down the dirt road, Lidia dreams about their education. She knows what it’s like to be uneducated.
"When I was in fourth grade, I dropped out of school,” Lidia said. “I had no idea how important education was for my future. When my children need help with their homework, I don’t know how to do it, but praise God, Benjamin finished seventh grade and he helps them."
As a mother and wife, finding a moment to rest is a luxury for Lidia.
"Being a woman in our economic condition is stressful,” she said. “I do so many things and work hard. My children go out and play. My husband goes to work and interacts with others. I stay home and sometimes feel trapped."
As part of the benefits offered by Bogota’s Hope for a Family program, mothers of sponsored children participate in different workshops to develop new skills, actively participate in their communities and find space for social interaction.
Mothers leading their communities
A few months ago, Lidia joined the “Mothers as Leaders” workshop, which prepares mothers to be leaders in their communities and serve as project liaisons for emergencies, announcements and program activities.
Lidia´s participation in the workshop has had a direct impact on her family, presenting new options for their life.
"I share everything I learn in these workshops with my husband,” Lidia said. “We discuss them with our children, and this is good because we all learn. Learning from others makes us a stronger family."
Lidia has enjoyed her participation in the "Mothers as
Leaders" workshop. "Learning from others makes us
a stronger family," she says.
Besides learning new skills from the workshops, Lidia has found a moment where she can be herself.
"This workshop relieves my stress,” Lidia said. “It´s my time — a moment for me to step away from washing, cooking and milking. We do exercises, lie on the floor, relax and forget about our burdens. We close our eyes and learn to give ourselves time to realize that we are valuable women."
Unity is a key element for a family’s development, and the Hope for a Family program strengthens family unity.
"Family is important for me,” Lidia said. “I pray to God for a long marriage, because our hope is that our children can feel the warmth of mom and dad. I feel that we are a mirror for our children. They see themselves reflected in our actions and hopefully, they will be responsible citizens with solid and stable families."
Lidia has discovered in CFCA a way to feel supported in her mission as a mother. Tomorrow, when she gets up at dawn to tend to her cows, she will know that her dreams are a bit closer.
"My dream is to see my children succeeding in life, remembering their father as a hard-working man and their mother as a strong and loving woman," she said.