By Tristan John Cabrera, communications liaison in the Philippines
Unbound in the Philippines has five offices and more than 50,000 sponsored members, including children, youth and elders. As communications liaison for the Philippines, I cover stories from the region through text, photos, audio and video. To be able to effectively cover the whole region, a correspondent network was created. It’s composed of sponsored students and Unbound scholarship holders who have an interest in writing and photography. They receive basic training in journalism and photography, and I encourage them to submit story ideas that could inspire the Unbound community.
Correspondents are active in discerning the stories that should be covered, which is a difficult task, because all stories about sponsored children and elders are worth telling. These stories, which encourage individuals to sponsor a child and change their lives, are at the heart of our work in communications.
We cover stories of sponsored children and their families who share with us their struggles, challenges and inspiring success stories. To get the stories, I communicate with program coordinators who assign a staff member to work with me in the region I’m planning to cover.
That staff member will look for a potential subject to be featured for our story, and will also seek out a good setting or location for the interview to occur. The staff members are the ones who are knowledgeable about the people and the area, so they play a big part in the success of the assignment.
And because of our unique geography and climate in the Philippines, we’re also charged with covering stories of calamities such as typhoons. In the case of natural disasters like these, I stay in direct contact with staff in the area to get updates on damage and any immediate assistance being provided to affected families. As I interview families, they always have one thing in common to say — THANK YOU. They say thank you to Unbound and to their sponsors for bringing them the light of hope as they journey toward a brighter future.