by Cara VanNice, communications director for Unbound
Our recent coverage of the violence in Kenya, the plight of girls in India and the Central American children at the U.S. border highlight a common thread that runs throughout the communities where Unbound works – urgency. We are where we are because we are needed there. Help is needed there.
The families Unbound partners with are working against poverty, struggling to meet their daily needs in the face of tremendous odds. And, with a little support from Unbound and our generous sponsors, our families succeed.
Sponsorship offers families enough stable ground to work from to enable them to focus more on the future instead of just their next meal. Over time, many build businesses to support their families on this stable ground. And they’re able to keep their children in school, thus ensuring the next generation is equipped with the tools to succeed despite living in regions that are generations-deep in poverty and oppression.
Struggling against poverty is challenging on its own. But when people also face the daily threat of organized crime, violence, corruption or discrimination, their fight, and our fight to help them, becomes unimaginably difficult. And it is a fight.
Traveling with us, sponsors see firsthand the lives of people in the communities Unbound serves and the elements they struggle against. Many are inspired to sponsor another child, young adult or elder.
After meeting some Unbound staff and families in Central America, I won’t say that I was, at first, inspired. That came later. At first, I was angry. Angry at the living conditions I saw, the stories of violence and intimidation I heard, and the lack of opportunities families have to escape these realities. And I continue to struggle with that anger. Now more than ever, I see it as a fight, against incredible forces, for one person, one family, at a time.
At first, I saw sponsorship as a chance to offer a little assistance to a child and her family. It has become my way of saying: “You’re going to have to fight me for this one. This child is amazing and deserves a good life. And I will not just let her violent, unhealthy, precarious environment swallow her up.”
In our communications with you, we like to tell the beautiful stories we receive from our teams in the field. Stories of triumph, hope and celebration. Our publications, like this blog, are platforms to showcase the magnificent beauty of the families we partner with and the communities where they live. It is our way of honoring the work of our families and staff. But we never want to lose sight of the urgency behind what we are doing.
Many of our families aren’t just living on the margins – they’re living on the brink. They’re in constant danger. They work all day, every day, just so their children can eat. Their children fight to stay in school, struggling against the gnawing urge to drop out in order to help support their families in some way. If they drop out, they may continue this cycle of poverty with their own children.
That crossroads is exactly where Unbound and our sponsors need to be. We need to be standing on the brink with these families and their children, helping to pull them back from disaster and chaos. The support you provide will help. Of that you can be sure.
As we continue to wrestle with the news abroad, we can be angry. But we cannot be idle. Anyone, anywhere can help. Start with one child.