Jul 21 2018

Top 3 questions travelers ask about awareness trips

(And our answers!)


1. Are the trips safe?

The safety of our travelers, sponsored friends and staff is of utmost importance. Local Unbound staff members are your hosts during the awareness trip and accompany the group at all times. Our local staff is from the destination country and lives there. Our social workers visit the neighborhoods, towns and countryside regularly and need to be well aware of safety concerns.

Because of their unique qualifications and background, our local staff is responsible for putting together the schedule of activities for your trip and choosing the communities you will visit. We avoid taking groups into areas or neighborhoods where there is tension. The members of the communities are excited to welcome sponsors.

Nobody can guarantee safety, and we aren’t naïve to the realities in the countries where we work, but we take every reasonable measure to minimize risks for our travelers. We monitor current events, weather situations, political climates, guidance by the U.S. State Department and more. We take seriously any alerts from the State Department against non-essential travel to a country or to a specific area within a country. We’re in regular communication with our local staff members and stay up to date on security matters. We’ve even cancelled trips when we’ve felt it prudent based on local conditions. Doing what we can to minimize safety concerns is a big responsibility, and we take it very seriously.

We also have expectations for our travelers regarding their behavior during the trip. Everyone is expected to stay with the group, follow instructions by staff, and make sure they are aware of (and adhering to!) the other rules for conduct that are outlined in the Travel Agreement found in the registration materials.
Unbound awareness trips offer the opportunity to see a side of a country travelers wouldn’t normally have access to. Being aware of all these factors allows us to anticipate and reduce risks travelers might otherwise experience in the places we visit.
Check out the rest of the questions!

This photo of flooding caused by Typhoon Henry in the Philippines was taken by the mother of sponsored child.
Jul 20 2018

Philippines bulletin update: Typhoon Henry


Typhoon Henry caused severe flooding as it approached the Philippines on July 17, causing 29 families served by Unbound’s Antipolo program to seek refuge at evacuation shelters. Knee-deep waters have been reported in the area, and some homes of sponsored families have significant water and mud damage. The Unbound ERPAT Disaster and Management Team, mothers groups and local staff served porridge to sponsored families and other evacuees at one evacuation site. The ERPAT, a federation of fathers who participate in the Unbound program, is following the situation closely and is standing by to assist sponsored families if their situations worsen. In times of natural disasters and other emergencies, Unbound will notify sponsors directly if we learn that their sponsored friends have been injured or otherwise seriously affected. We will continue to provide updates on the situation as we receive information from the Philippines. Unbound serves more than 46,000 children, youth and elders in the Philippines.

Jun 30 2018

True impressions of an Unbound trip coordinator

What I’ve learned on Unbound awareness trips

Unbound staff member Joanna Pergande (second from right) with sponsors Servando, Susan, Christine and Albert on an awareness trip to Colombia.

Unbound staff member Joanna Pergande (second from right) with sponsors Servando, Susan, Christine and Albert on an awareness trip to Colombia.


By Joanna Pergande, Unbound trip coordinator

As a trip coordinator for Unbound, I’ve had the privilege of traveling with sponsors on awareness trips throughout the world. I’ve only been with Unbound since 2014, and I’m amazed by what I’ve been able to experience in the last four years. I’ve been on 14 trips total, traveling to 11 different countries, including Mexico, Chile, Kenya and the Philippines, and I’ve learned something new on each trip, both personally and professionally. During this time, I’ve met hundreds of sponsors from all over the United States and many of our local Unbound staff serving in Africa, Latin America and Asia.

For those still on the fence about going on an awareness trip, and those who want to learn more, here are some of my top learnings from the last four years:
Read more

Jun 23 2018

Travel the world with Unbound

Announcing Unbound’s 2019 Awareness Trip dates!


Unbound’s 2019 Awareness Trip dates are finally here, and we want you to save the date.

Our trips are an affordable way to have an adventure while learning more about the Unbound program. You’ll visit the communities where we work and see how families are using sponsorship to overcome poverty.

Our trips are open to everyone, so you don’t have to be a sponsor, but if you do sponsor someone, these trips offer an opportunity to meet your sponsored friend.

Whether you want to stay closer to home and visit Mexico or Central America or go farther afield with a trip to Africa or Asia, we have something for everyone. Our summer dates are especially popular with parents wanting to expose their children to something new.

Visit Unbound.org/trips to find the trip that’s right for you. Space is limited, so we recommend applying as soon as possible.

We look forward to traveling with you!

Jun 19 2018

Guatemalans face uncertain futures after Fuego

Families displaced by volcano wait with unease

Sponsored youth Crisla and her mother, Maria, stay in a shelter after being displaced by the Fuego volcano eruption.


After most natural disasters, people are eventually able to go back home, clean up the material damage and rebuild their lives. The losses of loved ones, valued possessions and means of earning a living take longer to heal, but being home is always a good beginning.

The people displaced by the June 3 eruption of the Fuego volcano in south-central Guatemala hope to be able to go home soon, but for many when — and even if — that will happen is far from certain. Many towns and villages are still considered uninhabitable. Volcanic ash, exacerbated by heavy rains, continues to be a health hazard and toxic material still flows intermittently down the volcano’s southeastern slope. Conditions in some places have only recently become tolerable enough for recovery efforts.

According to Reuters, the official Guatemalan disaster agency, CONRED, said on Sunday that search efforts have been permanently suspended in the most heavily impacted areas of the Escuintla municipality, which are still considered at high risk.

Meanwhile, more than 4,000 people were being housed in shelters or staying with family members or friends, according to an estimate by the Guatemalan health ministry. That number included about 150 members of the Unbound community.
Keep reading

Jun 16 2018

Celebrating heroic dads

Happy Father's Day from Unbound

Louie in the Philippines takes part in his local Unbound parents group.

For many, our dads are our first heroes. Whether it’s squishing spiders or lifting us up high on their shoulders, dads sometimes seem like they can do anything.

As we grow older, our dads become more human than superhero, but that doesn’t make us want to celebrate them any less. There are myriad examples of heroic dads within Unbound, whether their heroism is more on an everyday basis in their role as fathers or in more extreme situations such as natural disasters.
Read more

Jun 13 2018

Philippines update after Typhoon Domeng


On June 10, tropical depression Domeng developed into a typhoon as it approached the Philippines. While the most destructive parts of the storm have moved beyond the Philippine islands, the storm was followed by monsoon rains, which have the capability to cause severe flooding and landslides. Roads in some areas of the northern Philippines were impassable, and the mobility of families served by Unbound’s Legazpi program and areas of the Antipolo program has been impacted by the flooding. In times of natural disasters and other emergencies, Unbound will notify sponsors directly if we learn that their sponsored friends have been injured or otherwise seriously affected. We will continue to provide updates on the situation as we receive information from the Philippines. Unbound serves more than 46,000 children, youth and elders in the Philippines.

Jun 13 2018

For those affected by the Fuego volcano eruption

Vulnerability is a relentless fact of life for families in the developing world. We were yet again reminded of that sad truth this past week when, with little warning, the Fuego volcano in south-central Guatemala erupted.

The resulting flow of lava, ash and pyroclastic material has brought devastation to a widespread area. As of this writing, more than 200 people are still missing and the death toll exceeds 100. As rescue and recovery workers gain greater access to the most heavily impacted areas, that number is expected to rise.

The people confronted with this tragedy enter in fellowship with those whose lives have been disrupted by other recent volcanic activity, including the Mayon volcano in the Philippines and Mount Kilauea in Hawaii. A long period of recovery awaits those affected by these events, including many in the Unbound community. As they face the challenges ahead, they will be strengthened by their resilient spirit and encouraged by our care and that of other loving people.

Read more about the eruption of the Fuego volcano and its impact on the Unbound community.

Donate to Disaster Response to help Unbound provide assistance to families affected by events like the eruption of the Fuego volcano.

Please pray

God of compassion, bless and sustain the people of Guatemala. Console the grieving and give them hope as they seek to rebuild their lives. May we be part of their blessing, pouring out our love in acts of generosity and service. As we commit ourselves to living as their compañeros — their companions on the long journey toward wholeness — help us to never forget that we are your hands in the world, not just for a moment but always. We ask this in your most holy name. Amen.

Vulnerability is a relentless fact of life for families in the developing world. We were yet again reminded of that sad truth this past week when, with little warning, the Fuego volcano in south-central Guatemala erupted. The resulting flow of lava, ash and pyroclastic material has brought devastation to a widespread area. As of this writing, more than 200 people […]

Around the world with Unbound