Category Archives: Asia

Manish and his mother
Jun 26 2015

Unbound sees success in India on child labor issue

Manish spent a good part of his childhood stationed outside the East Gate of India’s famed Taj Mahal.

By the age of 5 he was working long days peddling trinkets: bracelets, beads or cheap keychains.

Selling on the streets is dangerous work for little kids. They can become easy prey for thieves or victims of speeding cars and motorcycles.

But Manish had little choice. He is the youngest of seven. His father works, but doesn’t make enough money to feed every child in the family.

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Randy is an Unbound alumnus from the Philippines
Jun 22 2015

Drafting a brighter future

Education is considered a key step in a person’s journey out of poverty, but paying for higher education can also be one of the biggest challenges. It certainly was for Randy, a young man sponsored through Unbound in the Philippines since he was 8 years old.

That’s where Unbound’s scholarship program came in. Funded by donations for Education, the scholarship program enables students all over the world to pursue upper levels of education, such as high school, technical school or college, giving them the boost they need to achieve their dreams. We had the opportunity to interview Randy shortly before he graduated from college and learned how being part of the scholarship program impacted his life.

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Jose pilots his boat to guide tourists.
May 18 2015

A man and the sea

The sea for Jose is beauty and sustenance. It’s a gracious host welcoming visitors and old friends. It’s also a fierce foe threatening his livelihood and safety in severe storms.

Jose lives by the sea and makes his living from it — as a fisherman, tour guide, farmer and owner of a small store. He lives about an hour from Hundred Islands National Park, a tourist destination and protected area in the Philippines some 150 miles north of Manila. He’s lived in the area since he was 7 years old. He’s 62 now.

Jose has been a member of Unbound’s elder program for two years. The support he gets from his sponsor, Carol in North Carolina, supplements his own hard work and initiative, giving him a little more security in his later years.

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Salvadoran mother Maria with sons Diego (left) and Osacar (right), who is sponsored through Unbound.
May 8 2015

Happy Mother’s Day!

Salvadoran mother Maria with sons Diego (left) and Osacar (right), who is sponsored through Unbound.

Salvadoran mother Maria with sons Diego (left) and Osacar (right), who is sponsored through Unbound.

Happy Mother’s Day from Unbound! As you get ready to celebrate your mom on Sunday, take a moment to check out all these amazing moms from around the world. They are overcoming great odds to give their children better futures.

And don’t forget to share your Mother’s Day photos with us on Monday. Post a photo on Instagram of your mom or a photo of you with your mom, tag @Unboundorg and use the hashtag #MotherMonday.

Roy does laundry on a weekend visit home from college.
May 1 2015

Laundry on the weekends

Roy does laundry on a weekend visit home from college.

Roy does laundry on a weekend visit home from college.

For many U.S. college students, going home on the weekends to do laundry is a time-honored tradition. The time waiting between loads is a chance to catch up with family, friends and pets, or maybe doing some homework.

Twenty-year-old Roy is from a rural area of the Philippines and is studying education at a nearby university. He is sponsored through Unbound, which helps him meet the costs of attending college. Though he goes home every Friday, and laundry is involved, his weekends look a bit different than those of many U.S. students.

Roy’s weekends are filled with farming and doing other chores in order to earn a weekly income. He returns to school on Sunday afternoon, or sometimes very early in the morning on Monday, to attend class.

When it comes to doing laundry, Roy and his family rely on their surroundings. Their home is located at the base of a mountain. One of the mountain streams provides water and plenty of rocks for washing clothes.

Roy knows how to work hard and applies that to his studies as well as his weekend work. He hopes to be a teacher when he completes his education and is creating more opportunities for himself and his family through his studies.

Click here to support the higher education goals of students around the world.

More than 1,500 sponsored children and youth participated in the 2015 Bob Hentzen Memorial Sports Day organized by Unbound staff in Hyderabad, India.
Apr 13 2015

The joy of 1,500 sponsored kids in India at play

Children and teenagers living in poverty don’t often get the chance to participate in organized sports. Participation fees and equipment costs add up, making sports a low priority for families struggling to afford basic necessities. So when Unbound staff in Hyderabad, India, organized the Bob Hentzen Memorial Sports Day, more than 1,500 kids sponsored through Unbound showed up for the event.

For Sarita Mendanha, program coordinator for Unbound in Hyderabad, the sports day is “extremely important to the India program because it builds team spirit, … [a] winning attitude [and] pride to carry away specially designed awards.” She also views the sports day as a way to build rapport between Unbound staff and the families they serve.

The day consisted of 15 different track and field events, such as tug of war, sack races, the traditional Indian game kho kho, shot put, discus throw and 100, 200, 400 and 800 meter dashes. Unbound staff had help from scholars and the participants’ mothers, and sports professionals were on hand to referee.

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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.

Barclay Martin speaking to high school students about "Rise and Dream."
Mar 13 2015

How 13 Philippine teens gave U.S. students a lesson

Letters are an everyday part of the Unbound program — they’re the bridge that connects people throughout our world. Hundreds of thousands of letters from sponsored friends pass through our Kansas City headquarters each year on their way to sponsors. With all the correspondence that passes through our office, some letters still come as a surprise.

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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.


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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.