Image = Emma with her sons, Jekim and Mark, and her husband, Danilo.
May 24 2017

Living Unbound: It’s difficult to overcome poverty without backup

By Loretta Shea Kline, managing editor for Unbound

One reason it’s hard for families in poverty to get ahead is the lack of a financial cushion.

An illness, a natural disaster or a job loss can mean starting over when you have little or no savings. That vulnerability is something Unbound helps families address with support from sponsorship.

Our programs around the world help families build their capacity for personal and economic growth. Local staff works with families to set goals and make plans to achieve them. The aim is for families to be able to meet their basic needs through a combination of income they earn, access to capital and sponsorship benefits.

A key component on the path to self-sufficiency is savings.

In our Quezon program in the Philippines, for example, families contribute 50 pesos (about $1) a month in a savings plan and Unbound matches it. The savings allow families to put money aside for emergencies and future expenses like their children’s education. They can also apply for small loans, which some use to start or expand small businesses.

All of this is in addition to sponsorship support used for needs identified by the families.

Emma, whose 12-year-old son Mark has been sponsored for six years, sees the savings as security for her family.

“We are really saving this money for the education of our children,” she said. “At least we have something to pull out of our pocket in the near future in case we need it. It may also be used for health needs, if someone from our family needs to be hospitalized or needs to buy medicines.”

Emma and her husband, Danilo, have a small business selling gas used for heating, cooking and fuel. They also sell vegetables, rice and meats outside their home. Through the combination of their hard work, saving for future needs and Mark’s sponsorship benefits, the family has an optimistic outlook.

For Mark’s part, he has his sights on becoming a veterinarian.

“I don’t have any pet as of the moment,” he said, “but I love to see pets like dogs, cats and many more. I love to take care of them and give them good grooming.”

The boost the family gets from sponsorship has made all the difference in their ability to plan for the future. Mark is sponsored by Paul and Jennifer in Oklahoma.

“If we were not part of Unbound, life would be more difficult for us,” Emma said. “We only earn a little amount of money from our small business, and this will not be enough to support the needs of our children in school.”

With sponsorship support and the financial cushion provided by savings, families like Emma’s are forging their own paths out of poverty.

Our summer issue of Living Unbound features stories of families using savings and the boost of sponsorship to better their lives. The publication will be mailed to sponsors and posted on our website in early June.

Sponsor a child and help a family plan for a promising future.

Loretta Shea Kline

Managing Editor

Loretta joined Unbound in 2000. She brings more than 30 years of experience in journalism and organizational communications to her role as managing editor. Her passion is telling stories of children, families and elders served by Unbound around the world. Loretta is a graduate of Drake University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication in Des Moines, Iowa.

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