Indian family
Feb 6 2015

Celebrating World Interfaith Harmony Week

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.

5 thoughts on “Celebrating World Interfaith Harmony Week”

  1. While I’m happy and grateful that Unbound helps people from all religious faiths, Im very disappointed with its name changed from Christian Foundation for Children and Aging. It almost seems that the premise of Christianity (Jesus Christ) which seemed to be the foundation of the organization has been jilted. Jesus was such a central theme and provided individuals with an opportunity for spiritual salvation. I’m disappointed that the name was changed as I felt the name captured a beautiful purpose and provided an holistic approach to helping people. That is helping them financially, physically, emotionally and more importantly spiritually. Christians help people from all faith but we also tell people about Jesus Christ and how his love makes such a wonderful difference in this life and in the next. We don’t force them to accept Jesus nor stop helping if they reject Jesus. But the spiritual aspect seems to have been stolen by the name change.

    1. Thank you, Catherine, for your comment. We appreciate that the name change has been difficult for some people but we want you to know that nothing about the way we work or the basis of our work has changed. As you noted we still strive, as we have since the founding of our organization, to reach out to those who need us regardless of creed.

      In choosing Unbound, we wanted a name that would be memorable and speak to our conviction that God wants nobody to live in debilitating poverty. The name resonates with the liberation of which Jesus, quoting the Prophet Isaiah, speaks in Luke’s Gospel: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” (Luke 4:18-19)

      We also believe that in a world of conflict, Unbound has a special mission to serve as a gentle, healing presence and a source of dialogue between people of diverse backgrounds and beliefs. As Pope Francis has so powerfully expressed, we seek to “meet one another doing good.”

      Thank you for being a member of the our community and for all you do to serve God’s beloved poor.

      Larry Livingston
      Senior Writer/Editor

      1. You sound like a politician, albeit a sincere one. I too, am nearing the end of a sponsorship and have been disappointed in your name change.
        I know that you are doing good work but I can’t get past the name change.

    1. Thank you so much for wanting to help Shruthi. She is already sponsored, but there are many others waiting for a sponsor. Click here to view other children in need of assistance.
      -Jordan Kimbrell, writer/editor

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