Sponsored youth Damaris, 23, has faced an uphill battle since childhood to complete her education. Nevertheless, she’s close to reaching her goal of a college degree in human resources.
Every path out of poverty is lined with obstacles. Damaris’ journey has been extraordinarily difficult.
Most sponsored children need additional support to help them continue their studies past primary school. For Damaris, it took sponsorship support and her willingness to work while attending school to afford her living and education expenses.
From left, Chico Chavajay, Hugo Beltran and Manuel Pineda, Unbound program coordinators from Guatemala, Bolivia and Honduras, respectively, visit Unbound headquarters in Kansas City.
A few times a year, the 180-member staff of our headquarters in Kansas City is privileged to welcome some of the greatest leaders in Unbound — our program coordinators from the countries where we work. Recently, three coordinators from Latin America joined us to share, learn and collaborate. They each came prepared to share unique aspects of the program in their countries, and lessons learned that our Kansas City staff members are always eager to hear.
From left, Unbound program coordinators Chico Chavajay, Hugo Beltran and Manuel Pineda present at the second event in our Global Insight Series.
Audience members at Unbound’s second Global Insight Series.
The legendary college basketball coach John Wooden said, “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” Coach Wooden would likely have enjoyed what took place on the evening of Thursday, Sept. 14 at Unbound’s headquarters in Kansas City, when three of Unbound’s Latin America program coordinators shared what they’ve learned from the families they serve.
The occasion was the second presentation in the Unbound Global Insight Series, attended by about 100 people. The main presenters were the coordinators of three of our programs in Latin America.
The Global Insight series was begun as a way for sponsors and other interested members of the local community to learn more about the work of Unbound and, especially, to take advantage of the opportunity to hear from those who are closest to the work of the organization in the field.
The view from the patio of the home of sponsored child Johan in Colombia.
Poverty looks different across countries and regions. What comes easily for one family might be a great struggle for another. From climate to landscape to politics, the conditions of where one lives have a huge, and widely varying, impact on their lives. In upcoming publications, we’re taking a look at the realities of poverty around the Unbound world to get a better glimpse into the lives of the families who are a part of our community.
This fall, we’re focusing that look on the issue of housing, something that impacts every family no matter where they live. Watch your mailboxes for our upcoming edition of Impact on the topic of housing, and read on for a staff member’s reflection on her unexpected experience facing that reality on a trip to Colombia.
Unbound staff members Patricia and Henry (right) say goodbye after visiting the family of sponsored child Johan in Colombia.
By Maureen Lunn, writer/editor
Sitting on a twin bed in a small Colombian home, I felt unusually wary. I’d visited huts and shacks in many countries around the world, but on this visit to the home of an Unbound family in Medellin, I was legitimately nervous. The home I was sitting in felt like it could splinter and fall to the ground far below at any moment.
Edwin uses a ledge in his home to study.
When Edwin was sponsored through Unbound in Costa Rica at 8 years old, he probably never thought he’d have the opportunity to go to college. He and his family faced challenges that would have made getting an education difficult.
“My life was very complicated because sometimes we did not have money to buy food, school supplies or other basic needs,” Edwin said. “With Unbound, thank God, it has been a blessing in our lives.”
Father Stanley Rother at a Carnival celebration in Guatemala. Photo courtesy of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City.
Father Stanley Francis Rother served in Guatemala at the mission in Santiago Atitlan starting in 1968. As the Guatemalan civil war raged between military and guerilla forces, the Catholic Church became a target. Determined to stay with the people, Father Stan remained in Guatemala and was murdered in July 1981.
Unbound’s co-founder Bob Hentzen met Father Stan while working in Guatemala. Father Stan’s love for God and people has long served as inspiration for our work.
In December 2016, Pope Francis recognized the martyrdom of Father Stan, whose beatification (the final step before sainthood) will take place Sept. 23 in Oklahoma City. Father Stan was a priest of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, and is the first recognized Catholic martyr born in the United States.
Unbound staff member Barclay Martin recently traveled to Guatemala and listened to the stories of many who knew Father Stan, and here he reflects on that journey.
Mothers across the world are unlocking their entrepreneurial spirit of with support from Unbound’s sponsorship program.
Margaret, Mariam and Jane, three women from Kenya, have explored opportunities to get ahead through agriculture. For Margaret and Jane, small loans from their Unbound mothers group helped them make their livelihoods a reality. Mothers groups comprise parents of sponsored children, including some dads. Together, the members of the group provide support and encouragement as they face trials of living in poverty.
While each woman has pursued a different agricultural venture, they’ve all been able to take another step in their journey toward economic self-sufficiency.
Margaret feeds her chickens. She’s seen her poultry farm grow thanks to a small loan from her mothers group.
On September 13, at our HQ in Kansas City, Kansas, we’ll be broadcasting our Global Insight Series on Facebook Live!
Unbound program coordinators Hugo Plaza Beltran of Bolivia, Chico Chavajay of Guatemala and Manuel Pineda of Honduras will be answering questions about how the Unbound program works in each of their countries. They understand deeply the joys and challenges of partnering with families living in poverty. Hear from these experts about how sponsorship gives families the opportunity to dream about tomorrow.
We know not everyone can make it to Kansas City, so we’re bringing the event to you. Head over to our Facebook page and submit a question for one of our project coordinators at any time. Then, tune in at 5:30 on September 13 for the countdown to the livestreaming event and you may hear the answer to your question.
Want to attend the event in person? Visit Unbound.org/insightseries to reserve your spot today!
Former Unbound scholar Helen wears her police uniform with pride.
In the United States, Labor Day is meant to celebrate the contributions of workers toward the success and prosperity of the country. It’s a day to rest and say thanks for all their hard work.
Unbound communities are also full of hard workers, from moms and social workers to group leaders and scholars. According to former Unbound scholar Helen from the Philippines, being part of the scholar program even helped instill a stronger work ethic in her and her fellow scholars.
Helen is the second youngest of four siblings. While she was never sponsored through Unbound like her sister Rose was, Helen did take part in the Unbound program for two years when she became one of the service scholars for the office in Zamboanga, Philippines.
We’re hosting a variety of events in Omaha, Nebraska from September 15-17. Check out the details below, and pick a day to come see us if you’re in the area!