Happy Fourth of July! It’s Independence Day in America, and we are celebrating freedom with fireworks, food, friends and family. But let’s not stop there — what a great time to remember that the freedom we enjoy can help others, and the Unbound community around the world has many freedoms big and small that are worth celebrating.
Joanna Pergande is a trip coordinator for Unbound Awareness Trips. Based in the Kansas office, Joanna has been an Unbound staff member since August 2014 and is a fluent Spanish speaker. Here she reflects on what it’s like to go on awareness trips and see the transformation that happens in the lives and hearts of travelers.
Read Joanna’s reflection on being a trip coordinator.
Unbound sponsor Sandra “Blue” Michel traveled to Kenya in February on an Unbound Awareness Trip. She joined Unbound as a sponsor seven years earlier, after doing extensive research to choose an organization to partner with.
Unbound’s director of sponsor experience, Mary Geisz, traveled to Kenya for the first time on an Unbound awareness trip, where she was rewarded beyond expectation.
Before Al Nhadzar of the Philippines was sponsored at age 12, he hoped for a sponsor not only to help with his education, but to have a friend in another part of the world.
“It [the sponsorship] will be a help to me and my family, especially in my studies,” he said. “I will gain a friend from the other side of the world, which is a very important experience for me.”
Al Nhadzar, who goes by Al, found that friend in Patricia Lazzaro of New York.
By Ismael Kwenga, a former sponsored member
When a sponsored member leaves the program, especially after completing their education, it marks a new chapter in their lives. Sometimes Unbound is part of that new chapter, like when a former sponsored member takes on a staff position, but other times their lives take a different path.
That’s why it’s always a great joy to hear from former sponsored members about what they are doing after leaving the program. We received the following letter from Ismael in Meru, Kenya, updating us about his future plans. He left the program last year after completing his college degree. And though he is no longer part of the Unbound program, his story is a testimony to the lasting impact sponsorship can have on someone’s life.
On a sunny day in Uganda, Mark is hard at work in his backyard woodshop.
A self-employed carpenter for 31 years, Mark has had to jump a lot of hurdles to get his business — and his family — to the steady place they are now. His daughter, Veronika, is sponsored through Unbound and he attributes much of the family’s economic stability to her sponsorship.
By Regina Mburu, communications liaison for Unbound in Africa
Regina Mburu is based out of our Nairobi office. On one of her recent visits with Unbound sponsored members for stories and photographs, she experienced the natural ability of children to warm one’s spirit, even on a bad day. Read Regina’s reflection and let your heart be warmed by the very smiles that made her day.
Just like the dark clouds hanging over Nairobi on the cold, breezy morning, my heart was gloomy. I hadn’t been feeling well and wasn’t up for the photo shoot of Unbound sponsored children I had scheduled for that day. Little did I know that the experience would put a big smile on my face.
Headed into the school for students with special needs, I wasn’t sure what to expect and was concerned that the children may not want their pictures taken. But the moment I stepped in, my worry vanished. The children came happily running toward me with open arms. I felt a sudden warmth of love rush over me.
One little girl would not leave my side and held my hand tightly as we moved around the classroom. In her eyes, I could see genuine love, happiness and a warm spirit — all of it contagious. I had one of the most enjoyable photo shoots with these children that I’ve ever had. Their joy bubbled over and rubbed off on me, and I was left with blue skies in my heart.
Sponsored children Collins, Martin, Elizabeth, Florence and Caroline in Nairobi, Kenya, eagerly display their schoolwork.
Caroline, Peter, Stephen and Elizabeth in Nairobi, Kenya, take a break from their studies for a photo.
Bring more smiles to kids like these. Sponsor today.