Ambrocia learned how to embroider when she was just 10 years old.
“My neighbor Emilia showed me the skills,” Ambrocia said. “I remember her words, ‘Learn because you never know when it may come in handy.'”
And at the age of 47, this Guatemalan mom is using the skill she learned all those years ago from a kind neighbor to support her family.
Perhaps nothing says more about Unbound’s culture of learning than our movement toward small, community-based groups within our programs. The families themselves taught us that when those who are systemically disadvantaged come together, great things can happen.
Local Unbound program staffs discovered early on that small peer groups were ideal for building trust and an environment of mutual support within a larger community. They found that the ideal size was about 25 members — large enough to feel empowered but small enough to maintain a sense of intimacy.
This week, four Unbound staff members from our Kansas City office will travel to Orlando, Fla., to represent Unbound at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Annual Conference. NCLR is the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S., and Unbound is proud to participate in the conference, connecting the Latino community in the U.S. with families served by Unbound in the 13 Spanish-speaking countries where we work.
This will be the second time Unbound has had a presence at the NCLR conference, beginning last year when the gathering was held just down the road from the main office in Kansas City. Unbound will be set up at booth #908 in the exposition hall and host a drawing for a free awareness trip to Guatemala.
“We want the NCLR community to know that [Unbound] does a lot of work in Latin America, so it’s a great opportunity for people to get involved, make connections and give back,” Unbound’s volunteer outreach manager, Claudia Vázquez-Puebla, said. “The impact that [sponsorship] makes and the results we have is something that needs to be out there in all kinds of communities.”
Previously involved with NCLR on her own, Claudia paved the path for Unbound to participate in last year’s NCLR conference. This year, four other Unbound staff members will attend, forming an experienced, passionate and bilingual team.
One of those four is Paola Moreno, who first heard of Unbound at last year’s conference when she helped out at a booth for a radio station.
“Claudia came to talk to us about Unbound,” Paola said. “And out of nowhere, I said, ‘Are you hiring?'” Paola had a job at Unbound within a few weeks as an outreach volunteer coordinator, and now is returning to NCLR to represent Unbound.
Like Paola, the other Unbound staff members attending NCLR are deeply passionate about Unbound’s work with families living in poverty and love to tell its story. From talking about the connections sponsors make with their sponsored friends to passing out Unbound materials, the team is excited to engage with people of all backgrounds.
At the Unbound booth in the expo hall, the team will share Unbound’s work and encourage attendees to participate in the giveaway for an Unbound Awareness Trip to Guatemala, which includes airfare. Following and sharing about Unbound on various social media platforms will generate entries into the drawing, and a lucky winner — who will get to see Unbound’s work firsthand — will be announced in coming weeks. The contest will spotlight those at the NCLR conference, but will be open to anyone on social media who would like to participate.
In addition to the booth and the trip giveaway, the Unbound team will also have the fun opportunity to meet with Unbound sponsors who live in the Orlando area. Local sponsors are invited to join them at the booth so the staff can hear about their experiences as sponsors and personally thank them.
Unbound is honored to be a part of this year’s NCLR conference. Learn more about Unbound’s work in Latin America by visiting our blog.
Learn more about the giveaway and enter to win the trip to Guatemala!
Taste of tradition
Nancy gets ready to enjoy a bowl of mukimo, a traditional Kenyan dish of mashed vegetables, which she makes for her family. Nancy’s 17-year-old son, David, is sponsored through Unbound.
Carlos Lopez has seen his life transform from humble roots to a bright future.
With the help and encouragement he received from Unbound and his longtime sponsor, today Carlos serves as a legal adviser for Unbound’s Hermano Pedro program, supporting the very community that that helped him grow up. He recently completed law school.
By Henry Flores, director of the communications center in El Salvador
The more I learn about people living in poverty, the more I discover how expensive it is to be poor and how their fragile personal economy forces them to face high costs of living and social prejudice.
We all know that the less you earn the more expensive getting credit becomes. You have to pay more in interest for being a “risk” to the creditor, as earning less makes you a higher risk to default on your loan.
Something similar happens to poor people. Most of them don’t have a steady income, so they aren’t eligible for credit, and since they live off daily earnings, they can only make small payments daily. How do you conduct business in such a fragile economy? How do you make products and services available for people in such economic conditions?
Around the world, Unbound communications liaisons and correspondents are hard at work collecting inspiring stories of sponsored children and elders to share through Unbound publications, blog posts, social media and other channels.
In Guatemala, communications liaison Luis Cocón works with 16 correspondents in three countries (Mexico, Guatemala and Bolivia). He utilizes Skype and webinars to hold training meetings with new correspondents.
Staff members learn how to identify stories, collect information and conduct interviews. He also teaches photography skills, from the technical aspects of camera function to composing an image.
But most importantly, Luis always starts his training with the “why” behind his work with Unbound. He believes the voiceless need to be heard and desires to create connections for those willing to listen.