Category Archives: Asia

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.

Indian family
Feb 6 2015

Celebrating World Interfaith Harmony Week

In 2010, the United Nations declared the first week in February as World Interfaith Harmony Week. For 2015, the focus is on promoting religious and inter-religious actions for sustainable development. At Unbound, we build relationships of mutual respect and support that bridge cultural, religious and economic divides. Shruthi and her family are just one example of this philosophy in action.

With bright eyes and a warm smile, 13-year-old Shruthi carries herself with confidence.

She’s had a sponsor through Unbound since she was in the second grade. She’s in ninth grade now.

“It was the happiest feeling, I remember, when I was told that there is another family far away who is sponsoring me,” she said. “I learned gradually what sponsorship is about.”

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Feb 4 2015

Thank a Mailman Day: A letter’s journey

Today in the United States we celebrate mail carriers and thank them for their work. In honor of this day, we’d like to say thank you to all those in the U.S. and around the world who help deliver and send mail to and from sponsored friends. Because of you, relationships grow and friendships are formed. Thanks for all of your hard work!

To celebrate today, we’d like to give you a look behind the scenes at a letter’s journey from your sponsored friend. It all starts with a piece of paper and pencil …


Shirisha, a sponsored child in India.

Click here to follow the journey of a letter!

Loretta and Myrna
Jan 30 2015

Another kind of generosity

Loretta and Myrna

Myrna Cado and Loretta Kline wait in the rain for Pope Francis’ closing Mass to start. Myrna is a community leader and the mother of a sponsored child. She lost three of her children in 2000 after her home was swept away in a flash flood.

By Loretta Shea Kline, managing editor for Unbound

I witnessed generosity in abundance while in the Philippines for Pope Francis’ mid-January visit.

It was the kind of generosity in which people give, not from excess, but of themselves.

Pope Francis went to Tacloban to be with survivors of Typhoon Haiyan as another storm approached. I heard more than one person say how the gift of his presence gave them courage to face trials in their lives.

“He is one of us,” they said.

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Elizabeth Alex
Jan 16 2015

Tea and hospitality in an Indian slum

Elizabeth Alex

Elizabeth Alex, second from left, visits the home of Kusma, whose son Alok is sponsored through Unbound in India.

By Elizabeth Alex, community outreach and media relations director for Unbound

You meet some of the nicest people in a slum.

I learned that lesson the moment Kusma welcomed me into her home — a tiny, two-room place packed into a congested street — with the sounds of motorcycles, car horns, cows, food carts and the chatter of children joining the smells of exhaust, cow dung, dust and curry just outside her door.

The “door” is actually a few cloths draped in front of the entrance. The roof is a piece of tarp attached by some sticks and rope.

I met Kusma at the Unbound office in Agra, where she helps her mothers group raise money sewing shoe covers for visitors to the Taj Mahal. She invited me to visit any time.
Read more about Elizabeth’s visit

Thomas and Francisca
Jan 5 2015

Sponsor, elder help each other ‘continue on’

Thomas and Francisca

Sponsor Tom Slattery greets his sponsored friend Francisca on an awareness trip to the Philippines.

Tom Slattery remembers the day he first saw a picture of Francisca, the elderly woman he sponsors in the Philippines.

He and his wife decided to sponsor someone after hearing a priest speak about Unbound at church one weekend. Tom’s wife, Nancy, chose a child. Tom picked Francisca after seeing her photo because “everybody was gravitating to the young people,” and he thought an older person would need support as well.

That was in 1996, when Francisca was 84. She’s 103 now.

“She is a beautiful human being,” Tom said. “She has meant a lot to me over the years, and to my wife.”

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