Nov 9 2015

Working in solidarity

Tabata, front row, middle, and her family with the mothers group that reached out to help them. They are standing in front of the family's home.

Tabata, front row, middle, and her family with the mothers group that reached out to help them. They are standing in front of the family’s home.

Families who are part of the Unbound sponsorship program are often found at the frontlines of creating positive change in their own communities. And one such example exists in Ecuador.

Paulina is 38 and the mother of four children, two of whom are sponsored. She’s been part of the sponsorship program since her son Abel was sponsored 17 years ago. They were one of the first families in her town to join Unbound.

“In the beginning it was hard,” she said. “Here [in our community] there’s a lot of violence and no access to basic services.”

Through sponsorship, Paulina’s children had access to a quality education and Paulina was able to participate in workshops about starting a small business and other Unbound activities.

“Unbound has been a big support in my children’s educations and in my family’s progress,” she said.

So when she and her mothers group learned about Tabata, a young sponsored girl who needed their help, they didn’t think twice about offering help.

Tabata has many health issues but remains happy and outgoing. She has a sister and a brother, Aldo, who suffers from hearing loss. The three children live under the care of their grandmother Maria, who also has some health problems.

In addition to the medical issues surrounding her family, Maria faces the challenge of being the only source of income. On a good day she earns about $3 selling grilled plantains.

Maria and her grandchildren Aldo, Susana and Tabata.

Maria and her grandchildren Aldo, Susana and Tabata.

For Paulina and the others in her mothers group, it was important that Maria and her grandchildren didn’t feel excluded. They wanted Maria and her grandchildren to feel part of the group and a part of the sponsorship program.

“Every month the mothers group tries to collect food and we give it to Tabata’s family,” Paulina said. “Every time [Maria] needs to take one of the children to the hospital, one of the mothers takes turns to go with the child to the doctor.”

The mothers have raised money to buy materials to repair Tabata’s home and they have also held raffles to raise funds for Tabata’s medical costs.

“We need to work in solidarity with the people who are around us, and especially with those families that are living in difficult conditions,” Paulina said. “With the mothers group the sense of solidarity is rising again. Now we are all taking care of each other.”

Maria is grateful for the help and glad Tabata can achieve her dreams.

“I feel grateful and I feel a part of this mothers group,” Maria said. “Sometimes I feel that I don’t have enough to give back to them. I think God is blessing me through this group of people. … I want to thank God, the sponsors for their support, Unbound staff members and the mothers group. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to move forward.”

Pay it forward. Sponsor someone today.

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