Maria’s many things. She’s a daughter, a granddaughter and a big sister. She’s a sponsored youth, an Unbound scholar and a hard worker.
She’s also someone who knows an opportunity when she sees it.
Creativity can help you accomplish your dreams, but the ambition to follow your dreams can take you even further. For Salvadoran brothers Ever and Marvin, the drive to chase their dreams runs in the family.
Many obstacles keep children living in poverty from reaching their full potential.
Gaby was raised by a single mother in a rural region of El Salvador, so the odds were already against her.
Gaby’s father passed away, leaving her mother, Dina, as the sole provider for Gaby and her four siblings. Dina’s income as a baker fluctuates, as her wages depend on how many orders she gets and how much bread she sells daily.
Seventeen-year-old Mary is an Unbound sponsored youth living in Tanzania. Because her parents separated when she was young, Mary and her siblings went to live with their aunt after their mother passed away last year.
“I used to depend on my mother for everything,” Mary said. “When she passed on, things changed. My aunt does her best to take care of me, but she also has her children, making it difficult for her to provide for all of us.”
A healthy dose of community, perseverance and hope go a long way in combatting the daily struggles of those facing poverty. Unbound’s sponsorship program prescribed that remedy for Ariel from the Philippines.
Billy and Mary Lou from Arizona sponsored Ariel when he was just 7 years old, which unlocked a world of opportunity he never knew.
“I had faced a lot of hindrances in my life, many problems, trials and conflicts,” Ariel said. “Problems in family and school made me strong and responsible enough to stand up on my own.”
Beaming with pride and a smile that constantly says, “I can do it,” 12-year-old Bryan enjoys a grand accomplishment for a boy his age.
For the third year in a row, Bryan has earned the distinction of being valedictorian at his grade school in Guatemala, a feat that is even more impressive when you consider only one student gets to have that honor each year.
Excelling at school might be difficult for a lot of students, but not many have faced the sort of obstacles that Bryan has had to overcome.
Gabriela is the quintessential leader.
She excels in her studies. She coordinates a church group. And she’s a service scholar and mentor for other sponsored friends in Unbound.
But Gabriela hasn’t always been an all-around leader. She’s come a long way since she was first sponsored at 4 years old.
Throughout his life, one of Alex’s biggest champions has been his grandfather Saniel. Growing up in Colombia, Alex was mostly raised by his grandfather, as his father left when he was still young and his mother works as a housemaid in a different city.
“My grandpa is the one who has always cared for me,” Alex said. “He has always been there for me. My mother works as a housemaid and we visit each other often. She comes here and I go there.”
Now 30, Alex learned a lot from Saniel. He learned how to overcome obstacles, about the importance of punctuality and encouraged Alex to take up sports. But most importantly, Saniel taught Alex not to let the fact that he was blind get in his way.
Regina Mburu, the communications liaison for Unbound in Africa, recently visited sponsored friends and families served through our Kampala, Uganda office. One of the young men she interviewed is 24-year-old Simon, a sponsored youth currently pursuing his higher education goals.
Growing up in Honduras, former sponsored child, Suyapa, saw the need in her community. She witnessed this in the struggles her mother and family faced.
Growing up, conditions were difficult for Suyapa and her family.