By Pritha Hariharan, program director for Unbound’s international programs
Picture this: a young girl of 13 fully decked out in a brand new sari. All the gold her family can afford hangs on her ears, around her neck, her wrists, her ankles and even her waist. She is the center of attention — all the ladies of the family and the neighborhood mill around her. Some bring gifts, others bring food, but everyone is congratulating her and her parents.
She isn’t quite sure why she’s been put in the spotlight, but she’s enjoying it for now. The male siblings are feeling left out, and for the first time in their lives they can’t figure out why the sister is getting all the attention.
Middle school graduation?
Miriam is a 22-year-old sponsored youth in Bolivia — and a big medal winner in the Bolivian National Special Olympics.
Miriam has been sponsored by Dan and Maureen in Oregon since 2006. She has an intellectual disability that affects her speech and learning.
One day in 2008, she saw a video at school about rhythmic gymnastics.
When Sundarapandi, an 18-year-old sponsored youth in India, lost his hands in an electrical accident at age 10, he never imagined he would someday become a decorated athlete.
Winning three gold and one bronze medal in the India National Paralympics in 2015, Sundarapandi has achieved far beyond what he ever could have dreamed.
By John Fredy Arango, Unbound staff member in Medellin, Colombia
The Colombian government has been in conflict with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the country’s largest guerrilla movement, since the 1960s, as well as other armed groups. More than 50 years of violence has had an impact on people from all parts of the country. Unbound staff member John Fredy Arango reflects on the recent evolution of the conflict.
I was barely in my mother’s womb when the echoes of war were already shaking my body. I was born and grew up, I became a young man and I heard those sounds of war again, but this time they were stronger. I saw how they were numbing the hopes and neutralizing the dreams of those around me.
As a sponsor of a child or elder through Unbound, you create space in your sponsored friend’s life for more than the daily struggle for survival.
You make room to envision a future free from crushing poverty.
With sponsorship support, many families choose to pay for educational expenses, food, health care or home improvements to meet basic needs. But the impact doesn’t stop there.
Former sponsored child and scholarship recipient Anibal Perez remembers how important support from the Unbound staff was growing up.
Now, in his role as a social worker with Unbound in Guatemala, Anibal works with 322 children and their families to support them and be part of their lives.
“I understand their struggle and can be sort of a role model for them,” he said.
Anibal credits his family, his sponsors (Dennis and Mary in Illinois) and the Unbound staff for making it possible for him to graduate from high school.
Kenya is a hub for a surprising sport — speed skating. But it’s not the kind on ice that you might be more familiar with because of world-renowned athletes like Apolo Ohno. This is the kind on wheels that happens in bumpy alleyways and paved roads, and is growing in popularity among Kenyan youth.
For kids across the globe of all ages, the ability to participate in sports from a young age provides great opportunities for learning, discipline and independence. With education at the forefront, Oscar, a 12-year-old sponsored boy in Kisumu, Kenya, was able to start speed skating as a result of the freedom that Unbound sponsorship provided him and his family.