Ten-year-old Maria from Guatemala.
By Elizabeth Alex, community outreach and media relations director for Unbound
“My name is Maria and my favorite thing in life is going to school.”
The simple, straightforward statement from a third grader in Guatemala represents the dream of children in the developing world.
Maria lives in a small house in a rural area of Guatemala. Her father is sick and hasn’t been able to work. Her family survives because of the kindness of neighbors, friends and their church. On most days, meals consist of salted tortillas and water.
Like many kids who live in poverty, Maria is lacking in nutrition. But she has plenty of energy for life.
Read more about Maria
by Cara VanNice, communications director for Unbound
Our recent coverage of the violence in Kenya, the plight of girls in India and the Central American children at the U.S. border highlight a common thread that runs throughout the communities where Unbound works – urgency. We are where we are because we are needed there. Help is needed there.
Luis Cocon visits a home in El Salvador.
Guatemalan farms like this one are affected by the ongoing drought.
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.
A lot can happen in an instant. The phone rings, a dog wags his tail, a frown turns into a smile, someone clicks “like” on Facebook.
A life changes.
Watch this video, “In an Instant,” to see how the simple click of a button can change the life of a child.
Then, share it on Facebook or Twitter and help create that change.
Jennifer from Colorado gives a sneak peek of the shirt for the Walk for Water event.
Buvana, a sponsored youth in India, uses her bicycle to carry a heavy jug of water home for her family’s needs.
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.
In Guatemala, there are many ways to say happy birthday. With Spanish as the official language of the country, feliz cumpleaños is one option. But with more than 20 indigenous Mayan languages, there are many to choose from.
Kakchiquel is one of the Mayan dialects in Guatemala, and some of our sponsored friends who speak it wanted to share with you how they say happy birthday.
Help make Unbound birthdays special by donating to the Birthday Fund.
Editor’s note: Jennifer is an Unbound staffer who felt so passionately about the children at the center of the “border crisis” that she sent this email message to her family and friends. We want to share it with you.
Emely, 6, from El Salvador.
It’s not very often that I write things like this, but I’m really troubled by what’s going on at our borders. The true tragedy of this situation is the plight of the innocent children who are alone, scared, and often very sick by the time they reach our border.
Please take a minute to think about how desperate the situation must be for these families to risk the lives of their children in this way.
I work for a Kansas City-based sponsorship organization that works with families in 21 developing countries to create paths out of poverty. Last December I had the opportunity to travel to El Salvador to visit one of our program offices and meet some of the families we serve. Witnessing firsthand the living conditions in Central America was life-changing. You simply cannot imagine the daily difficulties these hard-working families face just to survive.
Today is International Friendship Day. Unbound is all about fostering friendships that cross borders and span cultures. On awareness trips hosted by Unbound, sponsors can meet their sponsored friends face to face. To celebrate the many friendships formed through sponsorship, we want to share with you photos of sponsors and their sponsored friends.
Rosy and her sponsor, Maria Soleri, in Ecuador.
Pavithra and her sponsor, Ellen Raspitha, sit on the floor of Pavithra’s home in India.
Christine and her sponsor, Leila Felix, in Kenya.
Francisca and her sponsor, Thomas Slattery, in the Philippines.
A group of teenage sponsors from the Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in New York play soccer with sponsored teens in El Salvador.
Bonnie and Warren Breitbarth with their sponsored friend Christian in Mexico.
Sponsor Sam Emmite with his sponsored friend Ximena and her mom and little sister in Ecuador.
Sponsor John Vos and his sponsored friend, Mark, in the Philippines.
Sponsor Toni Guidice with sponsored friends Jackline (left) and Josephine (right) in Kenya.
Amini (center) walks with her sponsors Maureen, Michael and Emily Watts in India.
Meet your sponsored friend on an Unbound Awareness Trip. Check out our trips page for more information.
Johanna (middle front) danced with her mom (left front) and other mothers at a Family Day celebration.
Mothers groups and staff of the Hogares de Solidaridad subproject in Bogota, Colombia, recently organized a Family Day celebration. With food, face painting and dancing, there was a lot to do for everyone that attended.
For 11-year-old Johanna, the day was extra special. Her mom, Alejandra, and the members of her mothers group choreographed a dance to traditional Colombian music. They were one dancer short, however, so Johanna got to join in.
“I had a lot of fun because I had the chance to dance with the other mothers and we supported each other,” Johanna said. “We had good coordination, and I had a great time.”
Sponsor someone from Colombia today!