Sep 7 2016

Achieving new heights with higher education

Remguise, 22, is currently studying at Kabianga University. To supplement the funds from sponsorship that help cover his tuition, Remguise spends his holidays working at a nearby flower farm.

Remguise, 22, studies at Kabianga University in Kenya. To supplement the funds from sponsorship that help cover his tuition, Remguise spends his holidays working at a nearby flower farm.

In Unbound’s programs throughout the world, education has always been a primary focus. When children are sponsored, families work side by side with Unbound social workers to choose how best to use their sponsorship benefits, and education is always at the forefront.
This is why 75 percent of sponsored children achieve a level of schooling comparable to or above their national peer averages. Unbound youth are moving on to higher education at above-average rates, and we are proud to tell their stories.

Remguise, Kennedy and Francis are three incredible examples of educational success. All from Kisumu, a large city in western Kenya with more than 6,000 Unbound sponsored children and elders, these young men represent the inspiring accomplishments that the hardworking members of the Unbound community can achieve.

Remguise has been sponsored since 2002 by Thomas and Mary and their children in Oregon. At age 22, Remguise is working on an internship at the East African Community Lake Victoria Basin Commission while pursuing a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies at Kabianga University near Kisumu.

When Remguise was young, his father and stepmother died, and his mother was left to take care of 14 children. She sold clothing and took on casual labor jobs, doing everything she could to provide for the family. When Remguise was in second grade, Unbound social workers visited his home and he later got sponsored, while his older brother received an Unbound scholarship.

Life changed for Remguise at that time and he was able to go to school with tuition and supplies fully covered. His mother was the proudest.

“My mother … really valued education,” Remguise said. “She worked hard to make sure that my siblings also had a chance to go to school. I have five siblings who are in university. This makes me very happy. Our mother is our number one cheerleader when it comes to education.”

Once he completes his bachelor’s, Remguise plans to pursue a master’s degree and find a career in city planning and development.

“Education is everything,” he said. “You cannot afford to give up on education. I never give up.”

Kennedy, 26, just finished law school. Before his mother passed away, she referred to him as the

Kennedy, 26, just finished law school. Before his mother passed away, she referred to him as the “family lawyer”, and he is now making her dream come true.

Kennedy grew up in similar circumstances as Remguise. Losing his father to malaria when he was 4 years old, Kennedy was raised by his mother, who was killed in a car accident when he was in university. Through his upbringing, Kennedy learned the strength and endurance that helped him cope with her death.

“My mother was our provider,” Kennedy said. “Her sudden death was a blow to all of us. However, I knew I had to find my strength and pick up the pieces. I was in my second year at university and did not want my grades to go down. I had to be strong.”

Kennedy was in primary school when he got sponsored. Unbound sponsorship helped him through secondary school and he went on to study law at the University of Nairobi, where he recently graduated. He interns at a law firm near his home in Kisumu county while he waits to take the bar exam.

“I chose law because I want to make a difference in my community,” Kennedy said. “I must admit that sometimes I felt like quitting. However, when I looked at the distance I had already covered, I just had to keep going.”

Kennedy is sponsored by Bill and Frances in North Carolina, who have motivated and encouraged him throughout the years. He especially appreciates their correspondence because Frances is a paralegal, so they now have a vocation in common.

“I would like to thank Unbound for their support. They have helped me achieve my dreams. I always believed that only the rich can become lawyers, but look at me now — from a humble background. I made it.”

Francis was sponsored from age 8 to 23. He described the early years of sponsorship:

Francis was sponsored from age 8 to 23. He described the early years of sponsorship: “I was never absent from school anymore. My tuition was fully paid. We no longer went to bed hungry.” Today he has a full scholarship to a master’s program.

Francis is a formerly sponsored youth and scholarship recipient who is also going on to great things. At age 24, having already graduated from university with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and computer science, Francis received a full scholarship for a master’s program at the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences in South Africa. He started there last month.

“I was the first to go to university in my village,” Francis said. “I want to be a lecturer in mathematics. With my first salary, I will build my parents a decent house. I will also help pay tuition for my siblings.”

Francis was sponsored since he was 8 years old by Jonathon and Megan in Arkansas. Sponsorship fully paid his elementary and secondary school tuition and helped his family with food and nutrition.

When it came time for university, he was awarded an Unbound scholarship as part of a program providing young adults the means to pursue higher education and emphasizing community service.

“Unbound has been family to me,” Francis said. “Without their support, I would have dropped out of school because of lack of tuition. Everything I am today is because they believed in me.”

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Maureen Lunn

Contributing Writer

With a master’s degree in international studies, Maureen has long been passionate about international development and loves using writing as a means to share that passion. She is a globetrotter, movie lover, Sporting KC fan, yoga teacher and self-designated crazy cat lady. Maureen and her husband, Toby, sponsor an elder in Kenya named M’Nkanatha and a young woman in Guatemala named Vivian.

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