Category Archives: Environment

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.

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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

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.

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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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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.