The efforts to sanctify and promote human life can take any number of forms. While any think of “pro-life” as the struggle to change hearts, minds and legislation in favour of unborn children, the term has implications outside the political arena.
Christian Child Care International organization is comfortable being “pro-life.” Although the group does not work directly to counter abortion and euthanasia in this country, its efforts clearly have a life-affirming component.
Christian Child Care International aid mission projects in at least 23 countries around the world. Money raised by Canadian sponsors is directed to religious orders or diocese in Third World countries to support a number of community education and development projects, Among the more than 450 projects on the go are support of orphanage in Guatemala, an agency for the blind in the Philippines and a home for autistic children in Peru.
Child Care International also matches Canadian sponsors with children in the developing world to encourage one-on-one relationships. Sponsors are informed of the progress of their individual beneficiary through letters and regular undates. Sponsors pledge $27 per month to a child in the developing world. The money provides food, medical care and schooling for young people who would other wise have little opportunity to improve their lives.
Father Pat Cosgrove, pastor of St. John the Baptist parish in Springhill, Nova Scotia, is president of Child Care International. He said the program benefits with the help of an extensive network of contacts established in the developing world by the Scarboro Foreign Missions and other Catholic missionary groups. Missionary religious orders often contact the organization to identify areas of need and how aid dollars can be put to best use.
Child Care International refrains from supporting projects involving one=time capital cost expenditures, such as constructing a new building or drilling wells. The organization assists long term projects so the aid provided will be of lasting benefit to the local community.
The organization is guided by Catholic church principles and is open to any child in need.
It’s a case of a Catholic hand reaching out to help others,” Father Cosgrove told The Interim. “We believe there is an evangelical side to the world in that many of the projects contain a Christian educational component. That way we can provide concrete help while promoting Gospel values.”
The organization was established in Canada in 1991. It is the successor to the Christian Foundation for Children and Aging Canada (CFCA), a Kanas-based organization which since 1981 has provided financial support for development projects in the Third World.
This year, the Child Care International became independent of its U.S. parent organization. Today, Child Care International can tailor its program more specifically to meer needs identified by Canadian missionary groups.
“Our goal is to get the most dollars to the people in need,” Father Cosgrove said, “We’re always striving for greater efficiency.”
Father Cosgrove had little trouble drawing a parallel between the organization and pro-life motives. Child Care International does not support any programs involving abortive family or contraceptive practices. Too often, he said, efforts to assist developing world families are tied to anti-population measures.
“Some agencies have come to regard children and larger families as some kind of burden,” Father Cosgrove said. “WE promote the view that children are a blessing. WE will only support projects that are supportive of families.”
And the organization’s support of families extends beyond children. “Child Care International looks to support programs that will benefit the elderly as well,” said Father Cosgrove. “We offer support at both ends of the spectrum. Anything that will keep families together is worthy of attention.”
The Child Care president emphasized that the organization does not receive fuding from official church sources. All assistance comes from individual Canadians who respond to advertisements or who have heard appeals from speakers at the local parish. This effort to spread the word is important to Child Care. The organization has established a speakers’ bureau of priests and deacons whose members travel coast to coast to promote the organization and its work. In some cases, the speakers visit developing world countries for a first-hand look at local conditions and to report on the success of ongoing projects.
Child Care International is now enlarging a new board of directors which the president hopes will emphasize the grassroot nature of the organization. Child Care is also on the lookout for additional sponsors who will further its work.
Voices from abroad
Comments and observations from people involved with Child Care International give some indication of it effectiveness the world over. The program has made a tremendous difference in the lives of many people.
Here is a sampling of feedback as it appeared in a recent Christian Foundation for Children and Again Canada publication:
“Thank you for giving the poor children of Manila the opportunity to participate in…the child sponsorship program. Their sponsor support will help alleviate the desperately poor conditions in which they now grow up – providing them with education and medical assistance.”
– Teodoro J. Buhain
Auxiliary Bishop of Manila
“CFAC is making a significant difference in the daily life of the Guatemalan people, sometimes a life-or-death difference. One person’s contribution can determine whether a child has enough to eat, can go to school, or will receive adequate medical care. Most importantly, each contribution tells the people of Guatemala that somebody cares.
– Father Allan Wienert