All posts by Unbound

An image of a woman filling out a workbook.
Jun 23 2017

Child accounts offer the most flexibility for families

Making sponsorship benefits personal

An image of a mother holding her son on her lap.

Maria and her 8-year-old son, Samuel, who is sponsored by Curtis and Susan from Louisiana, share a tender moment outside their home in Colombia.


A mother looks out at her neighborhood as the light creeps over the mountains, the crowing of roosters filling her ears. Her home sits high on a mountain, the city of Medellín sprawling before it.

The mother’s eyes pass over the half-finished wall at the front of her house. She and her husband have been building their home a little at a time over the years, and now have four finished rooms and a bathroom with running water.

She turns from the waking city and enters her home, ready to start breakfast. But first she peeks in at her four sleeping children in their shared bed. Soon they will be awake and getting ready for school.

A soft beeping fills the room as the mother turns to the cooktop. She takes her phone from her pocket and sees a small light flashing to indicate a new message.

The mother smiles as she reads the message. The monthly benefit money from Unbound was just delivered to her child’s sponsorship account, and she and her family already have a plan for how to use it to better their lives.
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An image of the palms of hands.
Jun 21 2017

Fasting for solidarity

An image of the palms of hands.
Unbound seeks to be a gentle agent of peace in the world, and we celebrate all the moments of connection we are privileged to witness between members of our community of different faith traditions.

Throughout the world, Muslims are concluding the month of Ramadan. A period of fasting, prayer and acts of charity, Ramadan reflects the pillars of Islam.

The Ramadan fast, from sunrise to sunset throughout the month, is an act of personal discipline aimed at helping the faithful grow closer to God by focusing on the interior life. Many Muslims, like Christians who fast during Lent, also believe the practice helps them grow in solidarity with others.

In a 2015 story featured on the Unbound blog, Fatuma, the mother of former sponsored youth Fosia in Kenya, spoke of how Ramadan has helped her grow in compassion for her neighbors, many of whom do not share her Muslim faith.

“During the Ramadan fast, we especially feel connected to the many in our neighborhood who go without food because of poverty,” she said. … “When we break our fast in the evening, we make sure that we share our food with our neighbors. When we get food from Unbound, and one of our neighbors has nothing, we gladly share with them.”

An image of two runners crossing a finish line together.
Jun 19 2017

‘I’m running for a reason’

Reflections from Hospital Hill Run 2017


By Abby Melgren, volunteer outreach coordinator

When the summer heat is unbearable, and when the hill just a few paces away is unthinkable, one thing keeps me going: I’m running for a reason.

Unbound first took part in Hospital Hill Run in 2014, and later became one of the first Charity Partners. In 2014, the Unbound Trailblazer program was launched, giving both sponsors and Unbound supporters a way to support scholarship students through fundraising. The first Trailblazers quickly learned that the name of the race is a bit misleading. There’s not just one hill, but many.

However, the partnership is too important to let a few hills scare us off.
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An image of a father in Uganda holding bricks he's made.
Jun 16 2017

Working, saving, providing

Ugandan dad supports his family with a new business

An image of a father in Uganda holding bricks he's made.

Charles, father of a sponsored child in Uganda, displays freshly dried bricks, which he’ll soon sell to support his family.

It’s almost Father’s Day, and over the past weeks, we’ve been sharing the stories of inspiring dads in the Unbound community. Charles is a dad in Uganda who’s been working hard to make a good living to support his family. He took some time to share about his journey with Unbound communications liaison Regina Mburu.
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An image of an Indian woman cutting excess plastic off bottles.
Jun 14 2017

Living Unbound: In photos

Photo stories of empowerment

It took a village
An image of 10-year-old Jonah sitting outside his school in Kampala, Uganda.
Jonah, 10, sits outside his school in Kampala, Uganda. When his mother, Jane, moved away temporarily for work, Jonah struggled to stay in school. Members of the local Unbound mothers group stepped in to provide support and help him keep up his studies. Today, Jonah is doing well in school, loves math, and Jane is back home and active in the mothers group.
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An image of Blanca wearing her running medals.
Jun 12 2017

Running for love

Guatemalan mom dedicated to family, sport


People go running for many reasons. Some do it to get healthy, some for the competition and some to support a cause. Blanca is a 29-year-old mom of four living in Guatemala whose daughter, Berberlin, 13, is sponsored by Wayne from Montana. Blanca is also a runner. Her main reason for running is simple: to support her family.
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An image of a father in the Philippines rappelling down a building.
Jun 9 2017

Serving communities together

Dads in the Philippines join forces for safety and support

An image of a father in the Philippines rappelling down a building.

ERPAT dad Heracleo practices rappelling down a building, which could help him rescue others in case of earthquakes or fires.


Fathers are expected to be many things. They are expected to be providers, teachers, moral exemplars, and to strike the delicate balance between protecting their children and preparing them for life in a sometimes harsh world.

Responsible fatherhood is difficult, which is why those dads who dedicate themselves to being honorable, life-giving fathers deserve to be applauded. More than that, they deserve to be supported.

Support is especially important for fathers living in poverty. These dads, because they lack material resources, often find themselves in the heartbreaking position of not being able to serve their families as they’d like. They are hindered from providing things for their children that other fathers take for granted, like adequate food, decent housing, and basic education and health care.

Unbound recognizes that we have a particular role in helping to build up fathers and mothers who struggle to provide for their families. We’ve learned over the years that what they need from us is not to take over their lives or do for them what they wish to do for themselves. Rather, our role is to help clear a path for these families toward self-sufficiency, and then let them walk it at their own pace.
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An image of Monica Gomez, Antioquia program coordinator, from Colombia.
Jun 7 2017

Q&A with Monica Gomez, Antioquia program coordinator

Colombian staffer gives insight into working with families

An image of Monica Gomez, Antioquia program coordinator, from Colombia.

Monica Gomez, Antioquia program coordinator, from Colombia.


When you have a personalized benefit program model the way Unbound does, it means each family gets a say in how their sponsorship resources are used. And because we have more than 300,000 sponsored members, it means that we don’t have just one program to fit everyone, but thousands of individual programs, each based on the needs of a sponsored child or elder.

To achieve this type of program, you have to have some very dedicated staff members who understand the communities they’re working with. Thankfully, Unbound has found many passionate, caring people to partner with families in creating positive change.

In Colombia, we’ve started implementing personalized benefits through child bank accounts, working with families to make their own budgets to help them achieve their goals. Antioquia program coordinator Monica Gomez offers insights into what it’s like working with families using a personalized benefit model.
Read the Q&A!

Image = The skytram or metro cable in Medellin, Colombia.
Jun 5 2017

10 impressions from 10 days in Colombia

Staff member reflects on her Unbound adventure


By Maureen Lunn, writer/editor

I’ve had the privilege of trotting around the globe quite a lot in my life thus far, and by my mid-30s had set foot on every continent except South America. (Well, and Antarctica. But that doesn’t really count, does it?) So when I had the opportunity recently to travel to Colombia with Unbound, I knew it was going to be a special journey. I was right.

A week in Medellin and four days in Cartagena provided some of the most exceptional cultural experiences I’ve ever had, some of the craziest views I’ve ever seen and some of the warmest people I’ve ever met. Here are 10 impressions that have really stuck with me from my 10 days in the country.

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Image = Domingo works on homework. He's learning how to balance being a student with being a husband and father.
Jun 2 2017

Opportunity of a lifetime

Guatemalan dad goes back to school

Image = Domingo works on homework. He's learning how to balance being a student with being a husband and father.

Domingo works on homework. He’s learning how to balance being a student with being a husband and father.


Throughout his life, Domingo from Guatemala has had many roles. He’s a father, husband, fisherman, brother and dreamer. And now, at the age of 47, he’s also an Unbound scholar.

“I have always wanted to go to school,” Domingo shared, “it’s just that I was born into circumstances that prevented me from doing it. I had sadness in my heart because I wanted to learn, I wanted to be able to read and write like my friends. I have waited for the opportunity all of my life.”
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