Unbound scholar
Oct 17 2014

Unbound alumnus a man for others

Pay it forward. It’s what Cieleto Fernandez does every day.

Cieleto is an alumnus of Unbound’s Quezon program in Agoo, La Union, in the Philippines. He was part of Unbound for 14 years and finished his education in computer technology. Now he works in a computer shop owned by a friend.

For a few years Cieleto had his own shop, which he operated out of his house. He assembled desktop computers from spare parts gathered from his neighborhood and friends. He made enough money to send his sister to school for a two-year hotel and restaurant management course.

The enterprising young man also went back school to earn a teaching certificate so he can teach computer courses and share his knowledge with youth.

While computers power Cieleto’s dreams today, growing up he had another path in mind.

“My childhood dream was really to be a priest someday,” Cieleto said.

But he needed to be able to work and earn money for his family.

“That’s why I decided to pursue my studies in computer technology and eventually be a teacher someday,” he said.

Cieleto’s father passed away of a heart attack in 1997 and his eldest sibling died in a motor-vehicle accident in 2010.

Unbound scholar

Cieleto and his mother, Bernardina, outside their home.

“I stand as a father in our family and the eldest child among my siblings,” Cieleto said. “I also shoulder the expenses to send my two nephews to elementary school.”

His mother earns income making rags, and Cieleto is grateful to her for her hard work and sacrifices.

“Thank you for taking care of me,” Cieleto said to his mother. “I promise to do my best to help you and our family.”

Support from Unbound played a big part in forming Cieleto to be the person he is today.

“I wanted to say thank you to all the staff of Unbound locally and internationally and to my sponsors,” he said. “You opened up a lot of opportunity for me to succeed in life.

“I will never forget all the things that I’ve learned from the foundation. You are my personal foundation that opens my eyes in the real world.

“For all the sponsored youth today, treasure this rare opportunity to be part of Unbound. They are our inspiration, so we should also inspire others.”

At age 22, Cieleto has inspired the Unbound staff with his love of family and perseverance.

“He is a very strong man and full of hopes,” said Tristan John Cabrera, communications liaison for Unbound in the Philippines. “At his early age, he truly thinks like a 30- to 40-year-old man who doesn’t think only for himself, but for the good of his family.

“A million claps for you, Cieleto.”

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