The next time you are at a child’s birthday party and the kids are swinging wildly at a piñata, take a moment to think about Maria Sabina. That brightly colored donkey, fish or bird might just have been made by her own two hands.
The mother of a child in the Unbound sponsorship program, Maria Sabina lives with her husband and two sons in a village in north-central El Salvador. Her son Ronny, 10, has been sponsored by Jackie in Florida since 2012.
Maria Sabina belongs to the Unbound mothers group in her community. As in other locations throughout the Unbound world, her group provides a structure for the mothers of sponsored children to come together and offer each other moral and emotional support.
Many groups also provide income generating and entrepreneurial opportunities. Because of the diverse creative gifts of its members, the group to which Maria Sabina belongs has a variety of them.
“We [the group members] started learning how to make piñatas,” Maria Sabina said. “Then we started learning embroidery and crochet. Then we started learning origami and how to make flowers. Now we are learning from each other. We are trying to learn new things. If there’s something new in the group, I like to try it and learn.”
As valuable as the income-generating projects are, what Maria Sabina values most about the mothers group is the safe space it provided for her. The group allowed her to open up and share her life in a way she never before thought possible.
“Before, I was shy. I used to spend a lot time at home, never go out and didn’t have the ability to talk with other people. Now that I’m part of Unbound, I have friends. I share with them, and we talk about our families and children.”
Maria Sabina has found a home in her mothers group and in the greater Unbound community. Through Unbound she has discovered new friends and gained new skills that help her earn money for her family. Most importantly, she has also learned about herself.
“I think the most important is thing is to appreciate myself,” she said. “Before Unbound I didn’t know about values. Now that has changed. Thanks to the workshops that we attend at Unbound, I learned that we need to appreciate ourselves.
“The impact [of Unbound] is to know and learn that there are people that help you without hoping to get something in exchange, people that support families to move forward, that made an impact.”
When asked what advice she would offer another mothers group that wanted to start their own income-generating programs, her answer was simple.
“Keep fighting. Move forward. You can accomplish everything you want.”
Maria Sabina has learned that every piñata breaks open sooner or later. You just have to keep whacking away at it.
Help a family break the bonds of poverty. Sponsor today.