All posts by Unbound

Rita, 24, from Kenya.
Apr 1 2015

Changing mindsets on educating girls

Rita, 24, from Kenya.

Rita, 24, from Kenya.

By Regina Mburu, communications liaison for Unbound in Africa

Twenty-four-year-old Rita recently graduated with a bachelor of arts in gender studies, sociology and political science from a renowned university in Kenya. She has worked hard to reach what she considers one of her greatest achievements, despite the many challenges she faced growing up.

Rita was born and raised in a remote area of central Kenya outside of Meru. Her father was polygamous, and her mother, Beatrice, was the third wife. She grew up with her 17 siblings. Rita’s mother worked as a teacher and her stepmothers were housewives.

In the traditional African setting, a man is allowed to take as many wives as he wants and sire as many children as he is able. A man’s worth was measured by the number of wives he had and the children borne to him.

“It was not easy growing up in a mixed family,” Rita said. “When my father passed on, life became unbearable.

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Elsa (right) and Colleen (left) worked together to share Unbound in their community.
Mar 30 2015

Tips for sharing Unbound

By Elsa Aguirre, Unbound sponsor and ambassador

Jesus said, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Mathew 18:20).

I always thought about this scripture as referring to prayer. Yes, there is great power in praying together. But there is also great power in doing things together.

For many years, I had the desire to help get more children sponsored. But I never attempted hosting an information table at my local church.

That changed when I found a buddy.

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Sponsor Jennifer Afflerbach, center, with her sponsored friend Bryan and his mother, Sirlen, on a 2012 Costa Rica awareness trip.
Mar 27 2015

A vision of courage

Sponsor Jennifer Afflerbach, center, with her sponsored friend Bryan and his mother, Sirlen, on a 2012 Costa Rica awareness trip.

Sponsor Jennifer Afflerbach, center, with her sponsored friend Bryan and his mother, Sirlen, on a 2012 Costa Rica awareness trip.

By Jennifer Afflerbach, Unbound sponsor

Eight simple words of encouragement: “I can tell you are a good mother.”

That’s what I wrote to Sirlen, the mother of Bryan, the child I sponsor in Costa Rica. Little did I know what a profound effect it would have on her — and on me.

“Thank you for saying that,” she wrote back. “Your letter brought tears to my eyes.”

And her letter brought tears to mine, as I envisioned this strong, courageous mother of four children under the age of 8 being buoyed by such a small gesture on my part.

I knew I had to meet this woman. So I went on an awareness trip to Costa Rica the next year. When we met face to face, it was as if we were old friends — we connected instantly.

And my instinct had been right — she is a very good mother.

After the visit, when I wrote and inquired about their long journey home on mountainous roads, she replied that the trip wasn’t the most difficult part, the goodbye was.

Again, she brought tears to my eyes.

Sponsorship may cost $30 a month, but you can’t put a price tag on the relationship.

Start the journey of sponsorship today.

Flor helps tend an herbal and vegetable garden with other elders near Quezon City, Philippines.
Mar 25 2015

Growing a community

By Scott Wasserman, president and CEO of Unbound

At the age of 74, Flor tends Unbound’s community herbal and vegetable garden near Quezon City, Philippines. Her home is made of hollow blocks, a cement floor and a roof of galvanized iron sheets. She has no electricity and draws her water from a community well.

She used to support herself by scavenging recyclable materials from a local trash dump. Since 2002, her sponsorship has allowed her to meet with other sponsored elders at their garden to enjoy community and recreation.

On the day we visited, an Unbound social worker led a conversation with Flor and her friends about elder rights. They learned to identify and resist abuse.

After the social worker’s presentation, Flor led us through Unbound’s community garden. She identified each plant and described its medicinal qualities. Some plants are believed to help with colds or headaches. Others fortify the heart. Some heal inflammation or wounds.

Flor works as an informal healer. Families call her to help with their illnesses, and she prescribes natural herbal cures.

She charges her neighbors whatever they can afford, even if it’s only one Philippine peso, or about 2 cents. She asks that they pay something: Flor believes that paying for her services aids in the healing process.

Regardless of the efficacy of her herbs, her visits uplift her neighbors. A poor, ill neighbor living in a dark home can count on Flor to deliver a smile along with her freshly picked flowers and herbs. With her gift of springtime warmth for her homebound neighbors, Flor lives up to her name, which means “flower.”

Become an uplifting presence. Sponsor an elder today.

Rosa and her 15-year old daughter, Dayani.
Mar 20 2015

Living with Down syndrome while facing poverty

Rosa and her 15-year old daughter, Dayani.

Rosa and her 15-year old daughter, Dayani.

By Elizabeth Alex, community outreach and media relations director

Down syndrome is a diagnosis no mother hopes to hear.

For parents living in the poorest barrios of Honduras, it is sometimes just too much to bear.

“The doctor told me it would be different and difficult to raise her,” Rosa said about Dayani, her 15-year-old daughter with Down syndrome. “There are no schools and no help for children with special needs.”

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Guatemala staff members Yovany, Brenda and Chico enjoying the spirit of St. Patty's Day.
Mar 16 2015

Happy (almost) St. Patrick’s Day!

Guatemala staff members Yovany, Brenda and Chico enjoying the spirit of St. Patty's Day.

Guatemala staff members Yovany, Brenda and Chico enjoying the spirit of St. Patty’s Day.

St. Patrick’s Day is tomorrow, and many will be donning their green to celebrate (and avoid being pinched). Last year, some of our staff members in Guatemala got into the spirit and snapped this photo.

How do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Hop over to our Facebook page and share a photo of your St. Patty’s day gear.

Wishing you all a happy and safe St. Patrick’s Day from Unbound!

Sushela from India
Mar 6 2015

Embodying International Women’s Day

By Elizabeth Alex, community outreach and media relations director

Sushela comes from the lowest, poorest caste in Indian society. Traditionally they have been forced to sweep the streets and clean other people’s latrines by hand. Under the caste system, Sushela shouldn’t be allowed to attend religious festivals alongside her social superiors. She could never be invited to their homes. It would be unthinkable for a person of her caste to share a cup of tea with the next one up.

Add the fact she was forced into marriage as a teenager to a man she didn’t know, expected to cook and clean for his family and was isolated under the less-than-loving supervision of her mother-in-law, you might believe Sushela leads a miserable life.

Wrong.

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Sponsor a child
Feb 23 2015

Help Jaishikha find a sponsor


She is 4 years old and full of giggles. She sings. She counts to 10 in English. She listens to songs and then creates dances to go with them.

Her name is Jaishikha. She is nothing short of precious.

Jaishikha lives with her mom, dad and baby brother in a small, dark room in a crowded Indian slum.

Her parents struggle. Neither had the opportunity to go to school. Jaishikha’s father works hard in a hair and nail salon, but doesn’t make enough money to meet the family needs for shelter and food.

Despite their difficult life, Jaishikha smiles. All the time.

“We want her to be educated and successful,” said her mom, Reena. “My only dream is for my child to get a proper education so she will be proud.”

Editor’s Note: Since this post was published, Jaishikha has been sponsored. Click here to view other children still waiting for a sponsor.

Social Justice
Feb 20 2015

Take just one step for social justice

By Paul Pearce, Unbound’s director of global strategy

The United Nations’ World Day of Social Justice promotes poverty eradication, full employment and social integration. It is observed each year on Feb. 20.

Social justice requires us to go beyond charity. It requires us to work on structures, attitudes and practices in society that are out of balance, that are biased in some way or lead to some members of society having opportunities for lives with dignity while others do not.

We at Unbound believe one factor that delays action for social justice is a lack of understanding about those it would help. People living in inferior conditions are not inferior people. They have unique talents, aspirations and ideas just like the rest of us.

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Valentine's Day
Feb 13 2015

Be our valentine

Happy Valentine’s Day! Here’s one valentine for you and one you can give to a friend. Share this valentine with someone who would be a good sponsor. Pass the love along!

Valentine's Day