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.
An Unbound sponsor stands just outside a bamboo door of a small dwelling in a village in the central Philippines. She has traveled thousands of miles to be there after months of anticipation. Her sponsored child and his parents wait just inside the small house, smiling their welcome.
Feeling excited and nervous, the sponsor steps through the door and into the home, somehow knowing that her world is about to be forever changed.
On Dec. 8, Pope Francis stood outside an ancient set of doors in St. Peter’s Basilica, surrounded by hundreds of people. Performing a ritual dating back to the 14th century, the pope solemnly pushed the ornate doors open and walked through, officially inaugurating the Holy Year of Mercy.
By Tristan John Cabrera, communications liaison in the Philippines
Unbound in the Philippines has five offices and more than 50,000 sponsored members, including children, youth and elders. As communications liaison for the Philippines, I cover stories from the region through text, photos, audio and video. To be able to effectively cover the whole region, a correspondent network was created. It’s composed of sponsored students and Unbound scholarship holders who have an interest in writing and photography. They receive basic training in journalism and photography, and I encourage them to submit story ideas that could inspire the Unbound community.
When Sundari’s son Adarsh was sponsored through Unbound’s office in Hyderabad, India, things were difficult for the family. Not only are Sundari and her husband, Marreddy, responsible for taking care of their two children, but they also take care of their grandparents and Sundari’s aunt.
Marreddy is a farmer, but only has two acres of land with which to support all seven members of the family. Sundari is a housewife, and when her son was sponsored in 2004, she didn’t have any means of earning an income.
Now 18, Adarsh was sponsored by Cleaton and Corda from Louisiana, who remained his sponsors until he left the program last year when he starting working. Adarsh wasn’t the only one in the family who benefited from being part of Unbound. Through the program, Sundari had the opportunity to join a local support mothers group (SMG) called Pragathi Mahila Sangam, which means Women’s Progress Group.
The Earth is a truly amazing place, from deserts to rain forests and ice-capped mountains. Check out these photos from some of the countries where Unbound works and immerse yourself in the sites seen by sponsored friends around the world.
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In our Antipolo program in the Philippines, like in many of our Unbound communities around the world, staff members represent a leadership style we call Gentle, Balanced Leadership or GBL, which supports not only their fellow coworkers, but also extends to the families they serve. Staff members in Antipolo worked together to create this reflection outlining how GBL manifests itself in their program.
“With this form of leadership, we believe the pilgrim family of Unbound will continue at a sustainable pace to be a liberating force of love in our world today.”
— Bob Hentzen, co-founder of Unbound
Unbound’s Antipolo teams work with 8,400 families in marginalized urban, rural and indigenous communities. The families are organized into small neighborhood groups called kapitbahayans. More than 1,000 parents of sponsored children are leaders in their communities.
In Valparaiso, Chile, there might be a lot of stairs to climb to get home …
… But there’s also a spectacular view.
By Tristian John Cabrera, communications liaison for Unbound in the Philippines
Tristan John Cabrera is based out of our Quezon office. The Philippines is a predominately Catholic nation, and staff members from our Quezon office celebrate Lent together. Tristan offers his reflections on what Lent means in the Holy Year of Mercy.
For this Holy Year of Mercy, Pope Francis has said, “Mercy is the heart of God. It must also be the heart of the members of the one great family of his children: a heart which beats all the more strongly wherever human dignity — as a reflection of the face of God in his creatures — is in play. Jesus tells us that love for others … is the yardstick by which God will judge our actions.”