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Family turn up the heat for ChildFund’s 2020 Challenge

A Mexican-inspired pie, chicken parmigiana and a pasta sauce passed down from Claudia’s mother are some of the recipes Claudia, Mario and two of their children Natalia and Orlando have been cooking together for ChildFund’s 2020 Challenge this October.

In addition to being able to have some fun and share some scrumptious meals together as a family, Claudia says the 2020 Challenge is an opportunity to teach her children important values such as kindness and charity.

“The Challenge is a way to teach my children to go beyond themselves, particularly in times like now when there’s a level of great challenge with the pandemic,” she says.

“I wanted to give my children the opportunity to be involved because they’ve shown interest before with other things I’ve done, where I’ve shown kindness or commitment to other things than myself.”

An opportunity to give back

Claudia’s commitment to giving back goes back to her roots: she grew up in a developing community in Peru and knows the positive difference charity and education can make in people’s lives.

“Although extreme poverty didn’t affect us directly when we were growing up, I was well aware of it,” she says. “In my family we had limitations and things that we had to go without.

“One of the key things that my parents and my family always instilled in us was a level of knowledge and education. We may not have had many material things but there was always the opportunity for us to become learned in certain areas; there was always an opportunity to go for it, rather than shy away from things.

Seven-year-old Orlando and his sister Natalia, age 4, make pizza scrolls as one of the 20 recipes they are cooking for ChildFund’s 2020 Challenge.

The delicious pizza scrolls.

“In a country like Australia it’s very easy to take things for granted because everything is so readily accessible. I want to be intentional with my children about the fact that just because they are here in Australia, that doesn’t mean there’s not a need greater beyond themselves somewhere else.”

In addition to signing up to ChildFund’s 2020 Challenge, Claudia and her family give back through church activities and sponsoring children. They have sponsored children for many years through various organisations, but it was not until early 2020 that they discovered ChildFund. Today, they sponsor five-year-old Ferdi from Indonesia through ChildFund.

Orlando makes a family favourite – green pasta sauce – a recipe passed down from his grandmother.

20 recipes and a lesson for living life

Orlando and Natalia have so far chosen half of the 20 recipes they are planning to cook in October. They will be making a range of meals, from chicken risotto to family favourites like a “green” pasta sauce. “That’s one I learnt from my mum,” Claudia says. “It’s a fetta cheese, basil, spinach pasta sauce. We call it green sauce. It’s really tasty; the children really like it.”

Desserts are also on the Challenge menu as seven-year-old Orlando has a sweet tooth. “He has a sixth sense for sweet things,” Claudia says jokingly. The food he is most looking forward to making, however, is pizza scrolls.

With four-year-old Natalia, she takes after her father. “My daughter loves pasta,” Claudia says. “My husband is Italian so it’s in her DNA.

“There’s a chicken and chorizo pasta that she’s keen to cook.”

Natalia adds the finishing touches to chicken parmigiana.

While her children are having fun and are “really excited” about cooking, Claudia has made sure they also understand the reason why they are participating in the Challenge.

“There’s an understanding that we’re trying to raise money for people less fortunate than us,” Claudia says. “I’ve just kept it really simple and said, this will help children like Ferdi, our sponsored child.

“The Challenge is a way to show them to be aware of things outside of their own sphere, and look beyond themselves.

“It’s an ongoing intentional parenting tool for us to expose them to different needs in the world, and help teach them ways where they can make a positive contribution.”

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