Category Archives: Economic Self-Sufficiency

Peter in Kenya displays some of the benefits he chooses from his Unbound sponsorship, including rice and soap. He says that benefits like this give him peace of mind.
Feb 3 2017

Loving the last chapters of life

Unbound celebrates elders around the world

Peter in Kenya displays some of the benefits he chooses from his Unbound sponsorship, including rice and soap. He says that benefits like this give him peace of mind.

Peter in Kenya displays some of the benefits he chooses from his Unbound sponsorship, including rice and soap. He says that benefits like this give him peace of mind.

Peter is a 68-year-old man in Kenya who is one of 30,000 elders around the world sponsored through Unbound. Like Peter, these men and women are pursuing better health and nutrition, stabilizing their incomes and enjoying newfound community among their fellow sponsored elders. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing stories of these inspiring aging friends around the world.

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Charles works on a garment that he will later sell.
Jan 27 2017

Fashioning a path forward

Kenyan dad proud to be a 'jack-of-all-trades'

When hit with a tragedy, the idea of moving forward can be daunting. For 62-year-old Charles from Kenya, his wife’s passing meant learning how to function without his life and business partner.

Raising 14 children and grandchildren together, including their 13-year-old granddaughter, Lucy, who is sponsored through Unbound in 2011, Charles and his wife knew they had to maintain steady sources of income. His wife had opened a small tailoring shop, and Charles started working with her after he lost his position as a supervisor in a sugar company nearly 20 years ago.

“I had taken my wife to a tailoring school and she had learned to make women’s clothes,” Charles said. “I learned from a friend how to make men’s clothes. … We made a strong team.”

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Peter holds a handful of the charcoal that he sells to sustain his family.
Jan 23 2017

Hard-working father of eight

Peter holds a handful of the charcoal that he sells to sustain his family.

Peter holds a handful of the charcoal that he sells to sustain his family.


Peter, from Kenya, is 48 years old and a single father of eight children. Peter supports his family through a charcoal business, which he was able to expand with the help of the Unbound mother’s group to which he belongs, and support from the sponsorship of two of his children.

“I had two wives,” Peter said. “One wife died while giving birth to our daughter. … [My second wife and I] had a conflict, and she walked away from our children and me. I have since adjusted and decided to take up life as a single father.”

But being a single father can be a tough job.

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Enrique, a sponsored elder in Bolivia, stands in front of his home, which is made out of adobe.
Jan 20 2017

‘My work keeps me alive’

Bolivian elder finds joy in woodworking

Enrique, a sponsored elder in Bolivia, stands in front of his home, which is made out of adobe.

Enrique, a sponsored elder in Bolivia, stands in the entrance of his adobe home.

Every day, as the sun begins to rise in Bolivia, 69-year-old Enrique wakes up, eats an early breakfast and makes his way to his workshop where he cuts logs into smaller pieces — carving, sanding and drying the wood as spoons, bowls and cups take shape.

Sophisticated handiwork like Enrique’s can be challenging and time-consuming for anyone to learn. For him, woodworking was a natural fit. But it wasn’t Enrique’s first career.
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From left: Maria, Concepcion C., Jesus, Rosa and Concepcion T. This group of mothers created a business raising chompipollo.
Jan 18 2017

A growing business raising chicks

Guatemalan women work together in poultry venture

From left: Maria, Concepcion C., Jesus, Rosa and Concepcion T. This group of mothers in Guatemala created a poultry business.

From left: Maria, Concepcion C., Jesus, Rosa and Concepcion T. This group of mothers created a business raising chompipollo.

Unbound has long encouraged creative livelihood initiatives for families in our programs. Five enterprising women from Guatemala have taken that encouragement to heart in starting their own poultry business.

Maria, Concepcion C., Jesus, Rosa and Concepcion T. are all moms in the same community. They each have children who are sponsored through the Unbound program, and it’s through this connection that they met.

“The staff has always encouraged us [parents] to start our own business,” Jesus said. “We thought this is something we like, we talked and we just said, ‘Let’s do it.’ We are happy that all five of us are doing this business; it’s a great benefit for all of us.”
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Dec 26 2016

Unbound in 2016

$105.3 million to the field - graphicAs 2016 comes to an end, we reflect on the past year with a lot of gratitude. Every one of our sponsors and sponsored friends has played a tremendous role in making a big impact around the globe. We’re happy to report that, in 2016 alone, we’ve disbursed more than $105.3 million in field support to our programs around the world, a one-year record!
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Mercy is proud to show off the fruits of her and her husband's work on their farm.
Dec 19 2016

Mercy works hard for her sisters’ education

Mercy is proud to show off the fruits of her and her husband's work on their farm.

Mercy is proud to show off the fruits of her and her husband’s work on their farm.


Mercy from Kenya is 29 years old, married and has three children. Mercy and her husband work hard to provide for their children along with Mercy’s younger sister, who she began caring for after her parents passed away.

“I take care of my sister, Caren,” Mercy explains. “My parents died a while back. I am the first-born in a family of six. I am charged with the responsibility of taking care of my siblings.”

Mercy takes this responsibility very seriously, but her and her husband struggled to provide for their own children and had difficulty paying Caren’s school fees on time.

“Each time I saw her chased away from school because of [a lack of] school fees, it hurt me a lot,” Mercy said. “I did not want her going through what I did. I had dropped out of school in class 8, because I had no one to help me pay my school fee.”

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The finished product: this fertilizer is ready to bag and sell.
Dec 16 2016

Fertilizer co-op provides opportunities for families

Parents of sponsored children from the northern Isabela Province in the Philippines make fertilizer to sell to local farmers. These parents have joined together to create SANKAPACO Cooperative. SANKAPACO is a combination of three words: Sagana, which means rich, Kaagapay, which means standing for each other or helping hand and pag-unlad, which means progress.

Parents of sponsored children from the northern Isabela Province in the Philippines make fertilizer to sell to local farmers. These parents have joined together to create SANKAPACO Cooperative. SANKAPACO is a combination of three words: Sagana, which means rich, Kaagapay, which means standing for each other or helping hand and pag-unlad, which means progress.

The impact of sponsorship ripples beyond just a monthly monetary transaction from sponsors to sponsored friends.

A group of 36 sponsored families from Isabela, located in the northeastern-most part of the Philippines, has banded together to create a fertilizer cooperative. They sell the fertilizer to generate income as they challenge poverty daily.

They began the cooperative in August 2015 with less than $40 of capital. That was all they needed to start the process of mixing all the right materials to create an affordable fertilizer they could sell to the many farmers in their community.

The sponsored families decided to create a fertilizer cooperative because Isabela is one of the country’s major crop producing areas for foods like rice and corn.

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