Amanda Heter, Ximena Pacheco-Diaz and Paul Pearce, employees at Unbound headquarters in Kansas, traveled to Chile to meet the Unbound team in Valparaiso and to meet the families in our program. They shared a few highlights from their trip, photos and told us about some of the things happening in Chile.
Valparaiso is Chile’s main port and a large urban area popular for tourism. It is located in central Chile, and is well known for its beautiful coast and mountains. Most of the families served through Unbound in Valparaiso live in the hillsides that surround the city. The local office in Valparaiso serves a little more than 3,200 sponsored children, youth and elders.
Last April, a fast-moving fire destroyed hundreds of homes and left at least 12 dead, including two sponsored elders. Amanda and Ximena met with a family who lost their home in the fire.
Krishna is a sponsored child through Unbound. When the fires began, her family was able to reach safety, but they still lost their home and all their belongings to the flames. Her father, Johan, drove a taxi to support his family, but had to sell his vehicle to help pay for the cost of a new home. Now without his taxi, he is out of work and has been experiencing anxiety because of all the stress he and his family have gone through.
With help from Krishna’s sponsorship, as well as Unbound’s Disaster Response program, they received funds to help rebuild their home.
Catherin is the mother of Escarlet, a sponsored child in Valparaiso. Catherin is also building a home for her family in Chile. Catherin’s story is unique. She is building her family’s home with her own two hands. With no experience, Catherin asked for advice and help from neighbors and friends to help construct a safe place for her family to live. She’s done most of the work herself and plans to set up an “almacen,” or small shop inside once her home is complete.
Mothers groups are also being introduced to our program in Chile. In Valparaiso, four mothers groups of seven to 12 members meet once a week. At meetings, mothers paint or do crafts for recreation and livelihood activities. The meetings also serve as a way for mothers to find emotional support in one another.
The sponsorship program also offers many workshops for the mothers of sponsored children. Mothers can attend sewing or quilting workshops, cosmetology workshops for both recreational and livelihood needs. Daycare is provided, so the mothers are able to bring their children when they want to attend a workshop and learn a new skill or trade.
Staffers in Chile and in other areas told us that many sponsored elders experience loneliness. The sponsorship program for the elderly in Valparaiso focuses on involvement to help connect sponsored elders with others in their community. Sponsored elders are offered two free meals a day at the local Unbound office. They can sit and talk with their friends while getting a nutritious meal.
The program also has workshops for the sponsored elders where they can sell goods to one another or others in the community.
The Unbound program in Valparaiso offers hope to sponsored children, youth elders and their families. Through sponsorship, sponsored friends and their families can find encouragement and hope for the future.