Category Archives: Economic Self-Sufficiency

Image = Jeanalyn works on a costume in the costume shop at Gloria de Dapitan.
May 26 2017

Working in a fantasyland

Filipina mom creates fantastical costumes

Image = Jeanalyn works on a costume in the costume shop at Gloria de Dapitan.

Jeanalyn works on a costume in the costume shop at Gloria de Dapitan.


Often, when people think of the island of Mindanao in the Philippines, they think of news headlines about separatist groups and violence. And while these are issues residents have to deal with, there is also plenty of joy to be found on the Philippines’ southernmost island.

Jeanalyn is helping add to the joy. The 44-year-old mother of three works at one of the most famous theme parks in the Philippines: Gloria de Dapitan (Gloria’s Fantasyland). The park is about seven hours northeast of Zamboanga, where Unbound’s main program office for Mindanao is located. Jeanlyn’s oldest daughter, Jeanrose,11, is sponsored by John and Mary from Georgia.

If you were to visit the theme park, you wouldn’t meet Jeanalyn as you walk its pathways, but you’d see her creations being worn by performers. As head of the costume department, Jeanalyn is allowed to let her creativity shine.


“My job here is really to sew the costumes of the performers for the show,” she said. “They just give me the skits and looks from the web [for inspiration], and I’ll be the one to think of the way to make it — which fabric to use, accessories to use and the linings to make it elegant to look at. Costumes of fairies, animals, dwarfs, even magicians and dancers, that’s what I do.”

Jeanalyn learned how to sew from her grandmother and has been sewing since she was 15-years-old. Her husband, Roseller, used to be a farmer, but has since learned how to sew from Jeanalyn and now works with her in the costume shop. With the daily wear on the costumes, she needs the additional help to keep them in good shape, as creating new ones takes time.

“It takes just one day [to make] if the costume is not that complicated, but if it is complicated and they need five or more pieces of it, it will take two to three days to finish it,” Jeanalyn said.

Jeanalyn would like to open her own shop someday, but for now she’s grateful for her job and the help she receives from her daughter’s sponsors, which made it possible for her to stay close to her family instead of taking a job abroad.

“There’s a lot of work offered for me abroad, but I didn’t accept it. I don’t want to be far from my family,” Jeanalyn said. “Thank you to the sponsor of my daughter and to Unbound because you’ve been a great help for us.”

Help a family in need. Sponsor today.

Image = Emma with her sons, Jekim and Mark, and her husband, Danilo.
May 24 2017

Living Unbound: It’s difficult to overcome poverty without backup


By Loretta Shea Kline, managing editor for Unbound

One reason it’s hard for families in poverty to get ahead is the lack of a financial cushion.

An illness, a natural disaster or a job loss can mean starting over when you have little or no savings. That vulnerability is something Unbound helps families address with support from sponsorship.

Our programs around the world help families build their capacity for personal and economic growth. Local staff works with families to set goals and make plans to achieve them. The aim is for families to be able to meet their basic needs through a combination of income they earn, access to capital and sponsorship benefits.

A key component on the path to self-sufficiency is savings.
Read more

Image = Ronaldo takes his sheep out to graze in a field near his home.
May 17 2017

Living Unbound: Choosing wisely and well

Image = Ronaldo takes his sheep out to graze in a field near his home.

Ronaldo takes his sheep out to graze in a field near his home. He has raised livestock since he was first sponsored in 2006.


Ronaldo is an 18-year-old sponsored youth who lives with his parents and five siblings in Guatemala. He’s an impressive young man with wisdom beyond his years, and he learned early on one of life’s most valuable lessons about economics.

“Saving is very hard because we always need the money,” he said, “but spending it can be very easy. You have to really think about how you will spend your money and spend it right.”

Ronaldo thinks a lot about “spending it right,” and that farsightedness has guided him ever since he first became sponsored in 2006. (His current sponsor is Michael from Arkansas.) It led Ronaldo to choose livestock as a sponsorship benefit, a choice he’s never regretted.
Read more

Fred is a sponsored elder in Uganda who used his sponsorship benefits to purchase a water pump to help care for his livestock.
May 3 2017

Living Unbound: Stories of empowerment

Publication, blog series to explore how families use benefits

Fred, a sponsored elder in Uganda, uses his new water pump to spray his cow. He used his sponsorship benefits to purchase the pump, which helps him care for his livestock.

Fred, a sponsored elder in Uganda, uses his new water pump to spray his cow. He used his sponsorship benefits to purchase the pump, which helps him care for his livestock.

Many things set Unbound apart.

We’re the only major U.S.-based organization that offers sponsorship for elders. The communities we work with have created a small group model that provides support and accountability for the parents of sponsored children. We consistently achieve top ratings from charity evaluators, with more than 92 percent of our expenses going to program support. All of these things are supported by one of the most unique aspects of our program — highly personalized benefits.

Keep reading

Liva Rajaonarisina, program coordinator in Antsirabe, Madagascar presents at Unbound's Global Insight Series on March 29 in Kansas City.
Apr 12 2017

‘Closer and closer to the families’

Antsirabe program coordinator shares how benefits are distributed in Madagascar

Liva Rajaonarisina, program coordinator in Antsirabe, Madagascar presents at Unbound's Global Insight Series on March 29 in Kansas City.

Liva Rajaonarisina, program coordinator in Antsirabe, Madagascar presents at Unbound’s Global Insight Series on March 29 in Kansas City.

Liva Rajaonarisina is Unbound’s program coordinator in Antsirabe, Madagascar. With experience working in mission work, translation and employee training, Liva has worked for Unbound as program coordinator since 2008.

Unbound has 37 projects in the 19 countries where we work. The projects serve as regional hubs in areas where sponsored members live, and are the coordinating centers for community-based programs that span the area. Each of these hubs is led by a coordinator who helps guide and manage the Unbound program in that area.

At both Unbound’s Global Insight Series on March 29 and at an employee-wide presentation the next day, Liva shared about the benefits of sponsorship in Madagascar. Benefits are distributed in two primary and effective ways — cash distribution and a livelihood program called “Market Market.”

Keep reading

Veronica serves up a bowl of soup.
Mar 29 2017

Cooking up a business

Veronica serves up a bowl of soup.

Veronica serves up a bowl of soup.

It’s often said that the journey is more important than the destination. Veronica’s story demonstrates that sometimes the destination is pretty nice, too.

Veronica lives in Kenya. Widowed at a young age, with two young sons to support, her life was a struggle.

“It was very difficult,” she said. “My husband died when the boys were still very young. Food, clothes, shelter, everything was hard to come by. Looking back, I do not know how I made it through. I had to go back to my rural village, because I had no means to make ends meet. I had no one to depend on. I felt alone.”

Keep reading

An elderly woman in Kenya fills a vessel with water.
Mar 22 2017

On World Water Day, how sponsorship can help provide clean water

Kenyan elder saves up to install water access at her home

An elderly woman in Kenya fills a vessel with water.

Doris, a sponsored elder in Kenya, displays the water fixture she had installed after saving up her sponsorship benefits.

In 1993, the United Nations designated March 22 as World Water Day. It’s an occasion to spread awareness about the global water crisis and work toward the goal of all people having access to safe water by 2030.

In Unbound’s programs in Latin America, Africa and Asia, clean water is something that a number of families access with the help of their sponsorship benefits.

Keep reading

A woman and her son in Colombia.
Mar 8 2017

Making Unbound her own

The story of a hardworking mom on International Women's Day

A woman and her son in Colombia.

Beatriz and her son, Juan Pablo, in their home in Cali, Colombia.

Sponsored children in Unbound’s programs make up the foundation of our global community, but it’s often their parents who are empowered by the benefits of sponsorship to make decisions for their family that foster growth out of poverty. That’s why you hear so many stories about mothers and fathers here on the blog.

Beatriz in Cali, Colombia, is the mother of 11-year-old Juan Pablo, who is sponsored by David in Arizona. She took some time to share her story about overcoming hardship with Henry Flores, our communications team member based in Colombia.
Keep reading

Eustaquia stands arm in arm with her husband, Felipe, outside their home. After his accident, she became the family's main provider.
Mar 1 2017

An eye for value that others overlook

Elder in Mexico recycles for a living

People committed to recycling recognize beauty and worth in what others discard. Some also recognize a way to generate income. Eustaquia is an elder who recycles to earn a living. Now 76, she lives in Mexico with her husband, Felipe, whom she describes as her “wonderful companion.” Together, they raised seven children, now all grown and married.

Felipe was seriously injured in an accidental shooting 14 years ago, after which he suffered debilitating memory loss and was unable to work. As a result, Eustaquia needed to find a way to earn an income and began recycling.

Keep reading

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.

Keep reading