In 2010, the United Nations declared the first week in February as World Interfaith Harmony Week. For 2015, the focus is on promoting religious and inter-religious actions for sustainable development. At Unbound, we build relationships of mutual respect and support that bridge cultural, religious and economic divides. Shruthi and her family are just one example of this philosophy in action.
With bright eyes and a warm smile, 13-year-old Shruthi carries herself with confidence.
She’s had a sponsor through Unbound since she was in the second grade. She’s in ninth grade now.
“It was the happiest feeling, I remember, when I was told that there is another family far away who is sponsoring me,” she said. “I learned gradually what sponsorship is about.”
Shruthi lives with her parents, sister and brother in an industrial section of Hyderabad in southern India. Her father is a laborer who works for daily wages, earning about $3 to $4 a day. Her mother works at a store near their home.
For Shruthi, sponsorship means studying extra hours with a tutor. It means going to school and knowing her educational requirements are being met. And it means having confidence in what the future will bring.
Shruthi has big dreams.
“I like cooking meals and preparing sweets,” she said. “I want to do hotel management when I grow up.”
Many parents where Shruthi lives didn’t have educational opportunities and can’t afford to send their children to school. Some migrated to the city looking for work. Making enough to pay for food and other living expenses is a daily struggle.
That’s where Unbound comes in, by providing a cushion in the family budget. Besides education, Shruthi’s sponsorship helps with health check-ups and follow-ups.
In Unbound’s Hyderabad program, mothers manage school expenses and other benefits through individual bank accounts. Each mother creates a budget for her child. The budget is reviewed by staff members, who approve bank withdrawals and monitor account balances.
The mothers also belong to small groups in which they pool resources and can take advantage of microloans for family needs or to start or expand small businesses. The women get to know other women in the community and can lean on each other for support.
The Unbound program where Shruthi lives works with families from Christian, Hindu and Muslim traditions. Shruthi’s family is Hindu.
For Shruthi’s part, she likes knowing she has friends in the U.S. who care about her, and she cares about them, too.
“I want to know about my sponsor’s family and their likings,” she said. “I am grateful for their support.”
Shruthi’s initiative combined with her parents’ hard work and sponsor’s support enable her to shine.
Just look at her smile.
Help a child realize their potential. Sponsor today.