Category: Environment

An image of a precarious home in Colombia.
Sep 25 2017

The precarious home on the hillside

The image of a vast view of Medellin, Colombia.

The view from the patio of the home of sponsored child Johan in Colombia.

Poverty looks different across countries and regions. What comes easily for one family might be a great struggle for another. From climate to landscape to politics, the conditions of where one lives have a huge, and widely varying, impact on their lives. In upcoming publications, we’re taking a look at the realities of poverty around the Unbound world to get a better glimpse into the lives of the families who are a part of our community.

This fall, we’re focusing that look on the issue of housing, something that impacts every family no matter where they live. Watch your mailboxes for our upcoming edition of Impact on the topic of housing, and read on for a staff member’s reflection on her unexpected experience facing that reality on a trip to Colombia.

An image of a precarious home in Colombia.

Unbound staff members Patricia and Henry (right) say goodbye after visiting the family of sponsored child Johan in Colombia.

By Maureen Lunn, writer/editor

Sitting on a twin bed in a small Colombian home, I felt unusually wary. I’d visited huts and shacks in many countries around the world, but on this visit to the home of an Unbound family in Medellin, I was legitimately nervous. The home I was sitting in felt like it could splinter and fall to the ground far below at any moment.

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Apr 28 2017

Mothers invest in their children and community

Image = Emiliana and her daughter, Kenia, outside their home in Guatemala.

Emiliana and her daughter, Kenia, outside their home in Guatemala.

Mother’s Day is a special time for Unbound. It gives us an opportunity to celebrate the mothers in our lives and in our Unbound community.

Mothers are at the heart of the Unbound program. To put it simply, we believe in the wisdom of mothers. And honoring that wisdom is a key principle of how we operate.

In the countries where we work, mothers are most often the primary caregivers of their children. They work tirelessly to provide for their children the best opportunities for a happy, healthy life.

In a community in Guatemala, one expression of this care is a monthly neighborhood cleanup.

“We decided to do monthly cleanup activities because we wanted to have a nicer environment and we wanted to teach our children the importance of a clean community,” said mom Emiliana, whose 14-year-old daughter, Kenia, is sponsored through Unbound.

Emiliana leads an Unbound mothers group, in which 12 to 15 mothers of sponsored children gather monthly to discuss issues in their community, pray together and talk about their involvement in Unbound. She also serves as coordinator for the three additional mothers groups in her community.

The mothers work together to invest in their community and their children.

Each of the four mothers groups in Emiliana’s community clean a different area every month. They clean up roads, the town square, around the church and in neighborhoods. For communities where trash collection is haphazard, these cleanups significantly improve the health and beauty of the neighborhoods where the families live.

Image = Mothers in one Guatemalan community work together to improve their environment while mentoring their children.

Mothers in one Guatemalan community work together to improve their environment while mentoring their children.

But the cleanups aren’t just about neighborhood beautification.

These efforts are a way for the mothers to spend time with their children and model for them what it looks like to proactively invest in your community.

Emiliana says the activities have helped strengthen the bonds between mother and child and have been a great way for mothers to mentor teamwork and environmental consciousness in their children.

“I am happy because we are getting positive comments from our neighbors,” Emiliana said. “I think we are not only mentoring our kids, but also the rest of our community.”

As we prepare to celebrate Mother’s Day, we recognize the multitude of ways that mothers around the world invest in their children and communities. Their hard work, dedication and unrelenting service and sacrifice inspire us. We’re thankful to partner with innovative moms the world over who are working every day for a better future.

Visit to learn more about how we invest in mothers.

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

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

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.

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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

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.

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The staff receives training conducted by Joan Cruz-Salcedo of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.
Jan 22 2016

Staffers learn about preparing for earthquakes

The staff of Unbound's Quezon program in the Philippines gathers after attending a seminar on earthquake preparedness.

The staff of Unbound’s Quezon program in the Philippines gathers after attending a seminar on earthquake preparedness.

Being prepared for natural disasters helps alleviate fear, avoid panic and minimize injuries, loss of life and property damage.
That’s why the staff of Unbound’s Quezon program in the Philippines recently took part in a calamity preparedness seminar.

The seminar focused on earthquakes and was led by Joan Cruz-Salcedo, a supervising science research specialist with the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.

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Parents of children sponsored through Unbound's program in Meru, Kenya, take part in conservation agriculture training.
Dec 16 2015

Unearthing potential

Families get more out of Unbound’s sponsorship program than just consumable benefits.

While helping parents send their children to school builds toward the future, parents also need reliable ways to support their families now.

Through workshops and livelihood training, Unbound helps parents unlock their own talents and potential.

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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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