May 29 2015

‘Blame it on the poor’

Luis Cocón, communications liaison, shares a laugh with sponsored children.

Luis Cocón, communications liaison, shares a laugh with sponsored children.

By Luis Cocón, Unbound’s communications liaison in Guatemala

“They should have never been born.”

“It’s the mothers’ fault that our country is the way it is — so underdeveloped.”

“She doesn’t understand that giving birth to one child after another only multiplies poverty. Now there is yet another digit in malnourished children statistics.”

Typical comments from some of the very powerful in my country.

I feel anger and sadness when I witness how the poor must suffer the stigma of guilt for their poverty. They are pointed out because they invade private property on the hillsides of Guatemala City. Because they live in cardboard shacks in areas prone to landslides every time it rains. Because they are shining shoes on the street and selling candy on buses instead of being in school. Because mothers sit on a street corner begging for money instead of having a job. And the father earns little pay working in sugar cane fields because it’s “his fault” he never got an education.

That’s not fair!

Blaming our country’s Third World status on the poor is nothing but an additional punishment to their unjust conditions of poverty. “The poor are guilty of being poor,” say the privileged, who are comfortably seated on their fortunes, made at the expense of more than three-quarters of our population.

In spite of the fact that this type of discrimination exists, I am convinced my country has many more good people than bad, and I am convinced our world has more good citizens than bad. I am particularly uplifted when I witness Unbound bringing these good people together to change lives one at a time.

Hope and strength is what I feel when I witness the power of sponsorship. The love and support of a sponsor tells the poor, “It is not your fault, I believe in you, and I will hold your hand and walk with you in your journey.” Thanks to good people who have faith that we all need someone to believe in our potential, we are discovering that the poor have the power to change their reality.

I am optimistic about the future because I have seen how a little bit of support, effort and perseverance can make all the difference. The first factor may come from family, friends, community, Unbound and sponsors. The last two come as natural additions when the first is achieved.

At Unbound I have seen how support, friendship and love blossom from personal relationships.

I dream of a country that will one day provide the tools our children need to dream, but for now it is our responsibility to plant the seeds of that desired future.

Sponsor a child today.

5 thoughts on “‘Blame it on the poor’”

  1. Luis, you are so right about the discrimination and unfair comments from those who have money and power. The same happens in our country. And, unfortunately, some other people believe them because they are afraid to lose what they have. But people like you and the others in Unbound help to provide a path for the poor to have a better life. Hopefully, if enough of us speak out about the injustice of the statements by these ignorant people, someday most people will recognize that the poor are a result of bad decisions by people in power and/or unfortunate circumstances which need to be resolved so we have more equal distribution of resources and wealth. And, in the meantime, it is up to those of us who have a little more than we need to give to others through organizations like Unbound.

  2. A very succinct and heartfelt commentary on the plight of the poor, and the opportunity we all have to help make their lives at least a little bit better. Thanks, Luis.
    Tom Portland

  3. Thanks Luis for your wonderful comments. I was recently in Guatemala and experienced the deep faith and family connectedness of the poor, and their joyfulness with embracing life without all the physical stuff. Keep advocating. What a blessing.
    -Greg Knapik

  4. Luis –

    Beautifully stated!

    Thank you for reminding us that there are indeed many more good people in this world than bad. As sponsors, people of goodwill walk in loving solidarity with the poor and believe in their potential. Uniting together, we have the power to change the reality of the poor while cultivating a mutual relationship of love and friendship.

    Thank you for your beautiful, insightful words and your positive work –

    Dave Herbison

    1. Luis, your comments are so true. We loved meeting you on our trip with Unbound in Guatemala a few years ago and we also loved meeting so many of the people served by Unbound. I only wish those making the negative comments would spend some time with the poor and understand their struggles, their hopes and dreams and all the challenges they much deal with every day just to survive.
      Mary Anne

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