At 23 years old, Gabriela is determined to complete her education so she can become a lawyer.
Gabriela lives with her mother and three brothers in Guatemala and has been sponsored by Bruno in Canada since 1996. With the support of her family and of her sponsor, Gabriela is closer to her dreams of completing her education and opening a law office to serve the poor, despite the obstacles poverty has put in her way.
“I dream of helping others,” Gabriela said. “I decided to study law because the poor usually don’t have access to a lawyer. I feel that my career will provide the opportunity to help the less fortunate and defend their rights.”
After completing sixth grade, Gabriela and her family faced a time of decision. For many children in Guatemala, continuing their education past primary school is simply not an option because of the cost. This seemed to be true for Gabriela and her family as well.
“After sixth grade, we truly did not have the money to continue in school,” Gabriela explained. “My mother could not pay for it. We did the numbers, and things did not add up.”
With heavy hearts, Gabriela and her mother went to the local Unbound staff members to explain that she would not be able to continue in school and would have to leave the Unbound program, as staying in school is one of the requirements. Her sponsor wanted to make sure she succeeded and sent additional funds to help cover the costs of her education.
When Gabriela talks about her sponsor, the deep gratitude she has for his assistance and encouragement is apparent.
“My sponsor came to visit for the first time when I turned 15,” she said. “I noticed his affection from the moment I saw his smile and I knew I was important in his life. … My sponsor is my guardian angel.”
Bruno said he is pleased with how far Gabriela and her family have come in the 20 years he’s sponsored her, and noted the importance of sponsors providing encouragement to their sponsored friends.
“The most important thing is that I write letters once a month,” he said.
Bruno continues to support Gabriela’s education, and has even helped her family purchase the home they had previously been renting.
“I appreciate the support that my sponsor has provided for my education,” Gabriela said. “He has invested a lot in my academic formation. … He has also provided support to make home improvements and to buy furniture.”
Gabriela has made great strides academically with the support of her family, Unbound and her sponsor, but she has gained much more from her sponsorship.
“Sponsorship has helped me be a more humble person and to love my neighbor, this I have learned from my sponsor,” she said. “He writes, ‘I support your dreams with the hopes that I may plant the seeds of a humble heart in you.'”
Gabriela’s journey of sponsorship highlights something wonderful about Unbound — a sponsor making the decision to support the dreams of someone facing poverty.
Gabriela’s dream, one shared by many of the children and youth in the Unbound program, is to complete her education and give back to her community. Through sponsorship, she’s making her dream a reality.
“Sponsorship is joy,” Gabriela said. “Sponsorship is a learning experience and sponsorship is sharing lives.”
Support the dreams of a youth today through sponsorship.