All posts by Unbound

Unbound Awareness Trips 2014
Oct 13 2014

A learning journey

Unbound Awareness Trips 2014

Caitlyn meets Ever and his family for the first time.

By Naresli Calito, correspondent for Unbound in El Salvador

Caitlyn had the opportunity to meet her sponsored friend, Ever, on an awareness trip to El Salvador. She is 16 years old, likes to read and enjoys sharing time with her family. They are very close to their faith and frequently attend church.

Although she is young, she has a very strong feeling about helping others. She babysits to pay for Ever’s sponsorship.

“[Sponsorship] makes me feel I need and want to be involved,” Caitlyn said. “It’s a great feeling. I love Ever. It’s about forming a bond with someone from another culture.”

Read more about Caitlyn’s journey

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Unbound Awareness Trip
Oct 10 2014

Communities of joy abound in Costa Rica

By Nicole Miller, support specialist for Unbound

Recently Nicole Miller traveled to Costa Rica on an awareness trip. Nicole has worked for Unbound for 10 years, and this was her first time visiting an Unbound program office. She shared with us her experiences during the trip.

Read about Nicole’s experience

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Robert Hentzen
Oct 8 2014

In memory of ‘Sir Bob’

On October 8, 2013, Unbound co-founder Bob Hentzen passed away. He was a true advocate for those struggling against poverty, and he touched the lives of many. Among those impacted was Shaima from Zamboanga, Philippines. She was one of Bob’s sponsored friends and built a relationship with him through letters.

After Bob’s passing, Shaima wrote a letter celebrating his role in her life. We’re sharing excerpts from her letter in honor of Bob on the anniversary of his passing.

Read Shaima’s letter

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Janelle Stamm
Oct 6 2014

Reflect, rejoice, pray: A cancer survivor’s story

Janelle Stamm

Janelle Stamm, who works in accounting for Unbound, is an avid runner and cancer survivor.

By Janelle Stamm, accounting specialist for Unbound

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Janelle Stamm, who works at Unbound’s headquarters in Kansas City, shared her story of how focusing on gratitude and compassion helped her cope with cancer.

If someone told me in August 2013 that I’d run a half-marathon for Unbound in June of the next year, I would have believed them. It wasn’t outside the realm of possibilities. I’ve run two other half- marathons. Now, if someone were to tell me that I would have to deal with breast cancer before that run I would have said, “What??”

Continue reading Janelle’s story

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Daniel from El Salvador
Oct 3 2014

Teachers inspire love of learning

Daniel from El Salvador

Daniel, 21, from El Salvador

By Larry Livingston, senior writer at Unbound

Think about a favorite teacher from when you were a child. What do you remember most about that person? I would bet that, for most of us, what we remember has more to do with the character of the teacher than the particulars of what they taught.

Teachers are, first and foremost, role models for the love of learning. Their passion for knowledge — and, more importantly, the meaning that underlies knowledge — stimulates students to begin to ask the kind of questions that can change their lives and take them on a never-ending journey of discovery.

Daniel, an Unbound scholar living in El Salvador, wants to be that kind of teacher. Inspired by the love of mathematics that he witnessed in his own teachers, Daniel has discovered within himself the heart of an educator. He wants to give to others what was first given to him.

On a normal day, Daniel rises at 3:30 a.m., prays with his family and then sets out for the two-hour truck ride to the university in Santa Ana.

“Here I receive a theory class because I’m an instructor for a group of students,” he shared. “I go to my classroom and wait for my students; I give the class as an instructor of math. When I finish class I spend a few minutes trying to resolve doubts they may have. Sometimes I have to go to a cyber cafe to get information that I’m going to use in the next class or stay with my classmate resolving exercises.”

By the time he returns home it is late at night, but for Daniel the long day is worth it because of the fulfillment he receives from being able to share his gifts with others who hunger to learn.

As we observe World Teachers’ Day on Oct. 5, we celebrate Daniel and all the members of the Unbound community who have a passion to learn and to teach. They are a blessing for the young people of their communities and a reminder for all of us of the priceless treasure that education truly is.

Help support scholars like Daniel. Donate to Education today.

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Voices of Unbound: Madagascar
Oct 2 2014

Introducing Voices of Unbound: Madagascar

Voices of Unbound: Madagascar

Recently our resident musician and new channels coordinator, Barclay Martin, traveled to Madagascar. While there he collaborated with members of the Unbound community to record songs that are unique to the Malagasy people. Through instrument and song, the Voices of Unbound: Madagascar CD tells a story that leaves the listener with a sense of the gifts, capacities and cultures of the people with whom we work.

Watch this video to learn more:

Want a copy of the CD? Check out unbound.org/music for more information.

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Sponsor a child
Sep 29 2014

“Disability is not inability”

Joseph teaches math to students in classes eight and nine.

Joseph teaches math to students in classes eight and nine.

Joseph, 22, is a sponsored student in Kenya. When he was 2, Joseph’s parents noticed that he wasn’t able to do some of the same things other children his age could. By the time he was 3, he was unable to walk or move around.

His parents took him to a local hospital, where he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that impairs movement and is caused by brain damage during development.

Joseph underwent surgery to help straighten his legs. He also received physical therapy and used crutches for some time. In all, he spent four years in the hospital being treated for his condition.

Joseph was finally able to join primary school at the age of 7. He was one of the best students in the class.

Joseph’s parents found it hard to get by with Joseph’s medical expenses, four children in school and no steady income. Unbound staff in their area learned of the family’s situation, and in 2002 Joseph was sponsored. The support he received from his sponsor meant his parents could continue paying for his education.

Joseph’s schooling, however,  was interrupted in fourth grade when he had to have another surgery.. He spent another year in the hospital, which meant he had to repeat fourth grade. Despite the difficulties, he continued to excel when he returned to school and even managed to score highly on the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education.

With his high scores, Joseph received a scholarship from the Jomo Kenyatta Foundation, which combined with his sponsorship benefits meant his parents could send him to a better secondary school.

The first secondary school Joseph attended wasn’t the best fit. His condition made it difficult for him to write, which made it hard to keep up with the other students. But it was the negative treatment he received from some of his classmates that was the biggest challenge.

Seeing his struggles, Joseph’s parents decided to transfer him to a school that specialized in teaching students with disabilities. Being among others who faced similar challenges boosted Joseph’s self-confidence.

Joseph, from Kenya

Joseph walks around his classroom full of students.

Joseph recently graduated secondary school with good grades, and plans to pursue a degree in business administration from Kenyatta University. While he waits to get into the university, Joseph puts his time to good use.

He volunteers at his old primary school teaching math and Kiswahili, and he helps out at the Unbound office near his home.

When giving advice to younger students, he keeps it simple. “Disability is not inability,” Joseph said. “Work hard and stay focused.”

Donations to Health help provide equipment and therapeutic devices to sponsored friends with disabilities, along with many other health related initiatives.

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