Finding Hope through sponsorship
March 4, 2013
An elderly woman laughs with a joyful spirit. She is grateful and content to be with a group of her peers at a CFCA recreational day for sponsored aging friends in El Salvador.
Ines, a sponsored aging friend in El Salvador.
Although Ines smiles often these days, she has experienced much pain and sadness in her life.
"I never imagined having the life I now have," Ines said. "I thought my life would always be a sad one."
CFCA provides sponsorship for older adults because everyone deserves to live with dignity, especially in the later years of life. Aging friends, like Ines, can receive support from CFCA, the only major sponsorship organization to offer sponsorship for the elderly.
A difficult life
Ines was born into extreme poverty. At the age of 5, when many children are starting school, Ines was entering the working world, going door-to-door with her mother, selling candies.
3 ways CFCA makes a
difference in the lives
of the elderly
- Sponsored aging friends
receive benefits that
address needs such as
better nutrition, access
to health care and
- For some sponsored
aging friends, CFCA
gatherings and social
events are their only time
for social interaction.
- In some locations,
the aging may participate
in livelihood programs
or learn income-generating
skills such as needlework
She attended school for a few years, but had to leave after the sixth grade.
She married at age 20 and had five children. Two of her children died at very young ages, and a third child, a daughter, passed away at age 29.
"The saddest moment of my life was the death of my daughter," Ines said.
It was in Ines' grief that CFCA entered her life.
"Fifteen days later [after my daughter's death], CFCA came, and their staff told me that I had been sponsored," Ines said. "That day, instead of crying for my daughter's death, I cried of happiness because I had someone [a sponsor] that I could trust.
"I was going to receive great support such as food provisions, clothing and many more benefits."
The Hope for a Family sponsorship program provides many life-enhancing benefits for sponsored aging friends. Benefits for the elderly often focus on nutrition, medical care and programs that promote social well-being and physical fitness.
"I really enjoy receiving nutrition benefits," Ines said. "I also enjoy the outings and gifts, but what I enjoy most is to receive the monthly nutrition benefit."
For aging friends with little access to employment and few social safety nets, it becomes difficult to buy enough food to maintain their health. Nutrition benefits are a gift of security.
'Everyone is my friend'
Many elderly individuals also find themselves isolated from the community and live a lonely life.
Sponsorship provides an opportunity for the elderly to become part of a community and form close friendships.
"I share what I feel, my happiness, with my sponsored aging friends, and if I feel sad, I also share it with them, so they can give me some advice," Ines said.
"Everyone in the group is my friend," she said. "Everyone feels affection for me and I feel affection for them, too. "Everyone calls me 'Inesita' [an affectionate nickname]. They treat me with kindness, and I treat them with kindness, too."
For elderly women and men, sponsorship affirms their dignity and provides friendship and security for the last season of their life.
"All I could not have when I was young, I have it now when I'm elderly," Ines said. "I now feel very joyful. Sadness does not exist in me anymore."