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Unbound Stories

Sponsorship makes healthy living easier

October 7, 2013

This story was published in 2013 when we were known as CFCA. In January 2014, we changed our name to Unbound. Check this section of our website often for stories about the families we serve around the world and the news that impacts them.

Hamile was diagnosed with epidermolysis bullosa at 8 months old. Now 13, this Colombian youth has been living with the skin condition almost his whole life. The skin disorder causes his skin to become fragile and easily damaged and gets worse in the heat.

Through sponsorship, Hamile receives medicine and skin creams to help heal his skin.
Through sponsorship, Hamile receives medicines and skin creams
to help heal his skin.

"Sometimes it was difficult for me to meet other children because I was afraid they would laugh at me, or they would not accept me because of how my skin looks," Hamile said.

As part of his monthly benefits, Hamile has received medicines and skin creams to help with his condition. On top of that, he has made friends his own age in the CFCA community who do not judge him based on how his skin looks.

"I would visit the local CFCA office and the other children were very kind. They understood it was not my fault."

Hamile is one of the many individuals whose health was improved after becoming sponsored. CFCA understands how important good health is to leading a good life and to getting a good education, and makes efforts to help improve the health of the sponsored friends and their families.

A long line

In many areas where CFCA is present, most people rely on a crowded public health system.

Dental check-up in Colombia.
John from Colombia receives a dental check-up as part of his
sponsorship benefits.

According to Henry Flores, El Salvador communications center director, it can take hours, if not days, for an individual to see a doctor when going through the public health system.

"Most times you go home with the same illness and a [written] prescription," he said.

Receiving the prescription does not always help, as many are unable to afford the medicine prescribed.

For sponsored friends and their families, they have the option of using some of the monthly benefits to see a private doctor and to help pay for medicine, making a prescription far more effective.

Many CFCA offices also organize medical checkups throughout the year for sponsored friends and their families. Through multiple checkups, CFCA offers a preventative step in the medical process, making it less likely for individuals in the program to get sick.

Lessons learned

CFCA also recognizes the importance of information. Educating individuals about health risks and what they can do to avoid or treat them is key.

In Kenya one of the biggest health concerns is malaria. Lucy Amollo, Kisumu project coordinator, said education is important in helping families protect themselves.

"Being close to Lake Victoria, Kisumu City and its environs have a lot of mosquitoes," Amollo said. "The families we serve are prone to getting malaria, so we have a responsibility to educate them on how best to prevent malaria infections."

Sponsored friends and their families unpack the porcelain bowls for their new latrines.
Sponsored friends and their families unpack the porcelain bowls
for their new latrines.

In addition to educating families, families can choose the option of mosquito nets or assistance in purchasing medication as part of their monthly benefits.

In Honduras, CFCA worked with families in Cipresal to increase awareness about sanitation and how proper latrines could help. Before latrine construction started in March 2011, poor sanitation contaminated the river water in Cipresal and communities downstream.

Jesus Mejia Serrano, the CFCA social worker for Cipresal, worked with the families to raise awareness about the risks inadequate sanitation posed for their children, such as contracting parasites and intestinal diseases.

Support from the CFCA Healthy Communities Fund provided the materials to build the latrines.

CFCA serves the sponsored friends and their families in a number of ways to help educate and enable them to lead healthier, more fulfilling lives.

CFCA Healthy Communities Fund

Healthy communities

Improve the health and hygiene of sponsored members, their families and their communities by funding initiatives that provide treatment services for illnesses such as HIV/AIDS, supply equipment and therapeutic services for sponsored members with disabilities, dig wells for clean water, provide hygiene education, build sanitary toilets and address other sanitation needs. Learn more »
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