What started in 1981 with our five co-founders and their Christmas card lists has bloomed into a global humanitarian community that impacts hundreds of thousands of families around the world. It’s Unbound’s 35th Anniversary Nov. 20, and we want you to celebrate with us! Follow along during these next five weeks as we share stories about our history and all the amazing people that make up the Unbound community. We guarantee you’ll learn something new.
The story of Bob’s walks might be one of those new things. In 2011, at age 75, Unbound co-founder Bob Hentzen finished a walk from Guatemala to Chile as a show of solidarity with the people of Unbound, after having walked from Kansas City to Guatemala 15 years earlier. Upon completing the second walk, Bob said, “The adventure is just beginning.”
That’s the spirit with which we celebrate our 35th anniversary, honoring our past and looking forward to the adventures ahead. You’ll learn more about Bob’s walks in coming weeks, along with reflections from sponsored children and elders and their families. And you’ll learn about how the organization bloomed over the years from the very first sponsored child to supporting 310,000 children and elders.
Follow along with us here on the blog, on Facebook and Instagram, and look for a special issue of the Living Unbound magazine in your mailbox in the coming weeks. We hope you’ll stay tuned and celebrate with us.
On this fifth annual International Day of the Girl Child, we join in calling attention to global efforts to ensure equality, offer opportunities and provide safe environments for the world’s 1.1 billion girls, so they may grow up happy, healthy and ready to meet the future.
Gilberta (front), her mother, Cristina (center), and sisters Nicolasa (left) and Juana are a close-knit family.
Gilberta heads to school with her book and pink backpack. “I love school,” she said.
For this observance, we highlight one girl’s story and her future goals.
Read about Gilberta
Cynthia (right), pictured with her mother, Pamela, has been sponsored by Donna in Arkansas since 2012. Sponsorship benefits help children like Cynthia stay healthy through good nutrition and durable homes.
Families around the world work hard to keep their children healthy and Unbound is committed to partnering with them. From daily nutrition to recovery from major illnesses, the health benefits that result from Unbound sponsorship are many. On National Child Health Day Oct. 3, we celebrate the efforts of the Unbound community in improving the health of children around the world.
Unbound’s office building in Antipolo, Philippines.
A cake designed to look like the Unbound Antipolo office building.
As we reported in 2015, our program in Antipolo, Philippines, built a new office space and community center. The building project was a community effort, with fathers of sponsored children employed as construction workers, along with others from the local community, and several Antipolo alumni lent their expertise to the project.
The Unbound community in Antipolo recently held a celebration to bless the new building. Father Richard Magararu officiated the blessing, and several members from the community also offered their own prayers in Tagalog, the language spoken by many Filipinos.
Here are their prayers, along with an English translation.
Read the prayers
Fania Carnero, second from right, visits the homes of Unbound sponsored members with other staff members from Lima, Peru.
Fania with late Unbound co-founder Bob Hentzen in 2010.
By Gloria Yanes, project specialist in international programs at Unbound
I would like to introduce Fania Carnero, a staff member from our office in Lima, Peru.
Fania started working at Unbound in January 2002 as a secretary, and since then she has been learning and adapting to any changes and accepting the suggestions and comments from Unbound. She is now in charge of the correspondence department for the Lima office. The correspondence department handles letters to and from sponsored friends and helps answer any specific inquiries sponsors may have regarding their sponsored friends.
Ramil, Domnick and Anita in front of their home in the Philippines.
Ramil wakes up at 4:30 every morning and ventures out on the sea to catch fish. Twice a day he heads out on the waters surrounding the Philippines for one reason: to support his family.
The father of seven children, including 10-year-old Romnick who is sponsored through Unbound, Ramil sees his job as a fisherman as the best way to provide for his family. After his first round of fishing for the day, his wife, Anita, sells the fish in the market while Ramil goes back out to bring in another catch.
Ramil has been doing this for 20 years.
Jaileen works on a project for Communications as part of her internship.
By Jaileen Guadalupe Escalante, a junior at Cristo Rey Kansas City High School and an Unbound intern
I am 16 years old, love the color pink, volleyball, track and field, and traveling.
I’m a very active, happy person, always smiling and caring for others. I don’t like being bored; in fact I believe you should try to have fun 24/7, even if things aren’t going right. That way you’ll get through everything, because being yourself makes you special.
You’re getting to know so much about me, now let’s talk about what I do at Unbound!
Josefa, an elder sponsored through Unbound, sits on the doorstep outside her home in Guatemala.
At 77 years old, Josefa has aches and pains, but she knows exactly how to find joy.
Yami is a sponsored youth in El Salvador.
For some Unbound families, there are more obstacles to receiving an education than just the cost. For 18-year-old Yami, it has been a struggle to complete her education because her family lives in a remote, mountainous village in El Salvador.
After finishing the 9th grade, Yami temporarily stopped attending school. The nearest high school is hours away, and the transportation cost and distance became too overwhelming for the family.
The trek to the highway is an hour walk or a 40-minute horseback ride. It goes along a deserted path and across a river. On top of all this, it’s not safe for Yami to travel alone, so her father, Jaime, accompanies her.
However, she is determined to finish school.
Romelia gathers eggs from her chickens.
For Romelia, the answer to the age-old question about which came first, the chicken or the egg, is simple. It was the chicken, with the egg following close behind. And, just in case you’re wondering what came third, the answer is the sweater.