Category Archives: Environment

Sponsored child Everth and his mother, Carmen.
Jul 6 2015

Beautifying a community

Sponsored child Everth and his mother, Carmen.

Sponsored child Everth and his mother, Carmen, participated in a neighborhood clean-up day organized by Unbound staff in Nicaragua. Along with other families they collected materials from the streets for recycling or proper disposal.

The city of Estelí, Nicaragua, is a troubled one. Many families served by Unbound live in one of its neighborhoods that is unsafe and run-down.

The neighborhood is underdeveloped. Its dirt roads run with raw sewage. A majority of the sponsored children attend a school on the main road in the neighborhood, an area that has a lot of garbage strewn about.

But the community is trying to make small steps forward, and Unbound is helping residents work toward creating a safer and cleaner neighborhood.

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Maria finds discarded items that can be fixed and resold to support her family.
Jul 3 2015

Mom recycles for a better future

The old adage, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” rings true for Maria’s family.

She and the other six members of her family work hard reclaiming items from the streets of their Mexican neighborhood.

“First, I am a mother. This is my first and most important job,” Maria said. “I enjoy doing overtime mother’s work, even if I don’t get paid for it,” she laughed.

But in order to pay the bills, Maria has a very different job — she is a pepenadora or one who searches through trash for a living.

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Jolly, a member of the fathers group in Unbound’s Cardona program, cuts water hyacinth stalks to be made into sandals and other wearable goods. Once a fisherman, Jolly has found a new source of income in the water hyacinth initiative.
Jul 1 2015

A green initiative

Water hyacinths, a persistent pest, clog waterways, kill fish and rob sunlight from native aquatic plants in lakes all over the world.

A community in the Cardona area of the Philippines, just outside Manila, experienced such an infestation. In 2012, when Charito L. and her family joined the Unbound program, her husband wasn’t able to continue his job fishing because of the plant. It became increasingly difficult to support their family.

“My source of income way back then was selling fishes but, because of the huge number of water hyacinths in the lake, the fishes died out,” she said.

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Flor helps tend an herbal and vegetable garden with other elders near Quezon City, Philippines.
Mar 25 2015

Growing a community

By Scott Wasserman, president and CEO of Unbound

At the age of 74, Flor tends Unbound’s community herbal and vegetable garden near Quezon City, Philippines. Her home is made of hollow blocks, a cement floor and a roof of galvanized iron sheets. She has no electricity and draws her water from a community well.

She used to support herself by scavenging recyclable materials from a local trash dump. Since 2002, her sponsorship has allowed her to meet with other sponsored elders at their garden to enjoy community and recreation.

On the day we visited, an Unbound social worker led a conversation with Flor and her friends about elder rights. They learned to identify and resist abuse.

After the social worker’s presentation, Flor led us through Unbound’s community garden. She identified each plant and described its medicinal qualities. Some plants are believed to help with colds or headaches. Others fortify the heart. Some heal inflammation or wounds.

Flor works as an informal healer. Families call her to help with their illnesses, and she prescribes natural herbal cures.

She charges her neighbors whatever they can afford, even if it’s only one Philippine peso, or about 2 cents. She asks that they pay something: Flor believes that paying for her services aids in the healing process.

Regardless of the efficacy of her herbs, her visits uplift her neighbors. A poor, ill neighbor living in a dark home can count on Flor to deliver a smile along with her freshly picked flowers and herbs. With her gift of springtime warmth for her homebound neighbors, Flor lives up to her name, which means “flower.”

Become an uplifting presence. Sponsor an elder today.

Mariam harvests vegetables from her garden. The vegetables are her only source of income.
Mar 18 2015

Urban farming in Dar es Salaam

Dar es Salaam is Tanzania’s largest city, with more than 4 million people calling it home. As the country’s main urban center, Dar es Salaam might not seem like the most obvious choice to make a living as a farmer. But for a handful of families in the Unbound program, that’s exactly what they’re doing.

Though much of the city is crowded and land is limited, some have etched out space along river banks and in the swampy areas of the city to plant vegetables.

Mariam, whose daughter Sauma is sponsored through Unbound, is one such enterprising individual. Her husband’s income isn’t steady, and with three children to raise, it can be difficult.

So Mariam started a vegetable garden.

With Dar es Salaam’s climate, she’s able to grow produce all year round. The vegetables she plants typically take 3-6 weeks to mature, giving her a steady source of income.

Parents like Mariam are finding ways to use their environments in innovative ways to support their families and take steps toward lifting themselves out of poverty. Donations to Microfunding help support these goals and give a good idea the extra financial boost it may need to get started.

Feb 2 2015

A close-up view of hunger

By Regina Mburu, communications liaison for Unbound in Africa

Regina is from Kenya and works out of Unbound’s Nairobi office. She recently visited families served through Unbound’s Meru program in central Kenya. The region has experienced severe drought over the last several years, and a report from Kenya’s National Drought Management Authority estimates 1.5 million people are in need of immediate food assistance.

The drive to Kenya’s vast Tharaka-Nithi County, south of Meru, was marked by rough terrain. The ride was bumpy, and at times I had to hold on tight to my seat as the driver maneuvered around huge rocks on our path.

The sun was fierce, scorching the land. Beads of sweat rolled down my face as I looked through the car window, and all I could see were tracks of land covered in dust.

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Luis Cocon, Unbound communications liaison for Guatemala
Sep 1 2014

Now is the time to help our planet

By Luis Cocon, communications liaison for Unbound in Guatemala

The other day while waiting for the bus I saw a little girl about the age of 6 crying. Her cry sounded desperate. Her cry troubled some people. Others just ignored it.

“She is thirsty,” her mother said, as a young woman on an old bicycle stopped and gave the little girl some soda. After a couple of sips a smile appeared on the girl’s face.

Her cry for water reminded me that it is essential for life. I thought of places where people die of hunger and thirst. Not in some faraway country, but right here in my own country of Guatemala.

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Carrying water
Aug 13 2014

Young volunteer creates awareness movement

Here at Unbound, we know kids are amazing. They’re a large part of why we do what we do. Eleven-year-old Jennifer from Colorado is showing just how awesome and innovative kids can be.

Jennifer is our youngest Unbound Trailblazer, committed to raising money and awareness about Unbound. She’s organizing a special event at a school in her area: Walk for Water.
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Sponsor a child
Jul 25 2014

Color me Unbound

Antioquia, Colombia

Unbound works in a bunch of beautiful places, and Antioquia, Colombia is certainly one of them.

The Unbound family is just as bright and colorful as our logo. We’ve put together a bunch of photos to show you just how colorful our communities around the world can be.

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bokashi balls
Apr 21 2014

Earth Day in the Philippines

Tomorrow, Aprill 22, is Earth Day, and Unbound sponsored friends and their families in the Philippines are celebrating with bokashi balls.

No, it isn’t a new healthy cereal to help cleanse your system. But it will help cleanse rivers and other freshwater resources.

“Bokashi” is a Japanese term that means “fermented organic matter” and refers to a system developed in Japan that uses beneficial micro-organisms to break down toxins and food waste. Bokashi balls can improve the life of the river and help restore it to its proper ecological balance.

Unbound’s Antipolo project in the Philippines has been making bokashi balls since 2009 and started to see positive environmental effects in area rivers where the mudballs have been utilized..

Click here to read more about bokashi balls.