Category Archives: Region

Ingrid (left), a sponsored youth in Guatemala, displays her high school diploma with her mother, Rosalinda, in front of their home.
Apr 26 2017

Inspired by a young woman’s wisdom

Staffer experiences essence of Unbound on Guatemala trip

Ingrid (left), a sponsored youth in Guatemala, displays her high school diploma with her mother, Rosalinda, in front of their home.

Ingrid (left), a sponsored youth in Guatemala, displays her high school diploma with her mother, Rosalinda, in front of their home.

By Stacy King, lead trip coordinator

As a member of the Unbound trips team, I’ve had the honor of traveling with sponsors and coworkers abroad, and meeting some awesome sponsored families. Many of the families have shared their beautiful and inspirational life stories, and hearing them never grows old. But every once in a while, a story will connect and touch my heart in a special way.

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Apr 24 2017

‘Unbound gave me hope’

Kenyan youth's poetry inspired by school, sponsorship

April is poetry month, and what better way to celebrate than by sharing a poem written by someone sponsored through Unbound?

Brigit is a 15-year-old sponsored youth from Kenya. She’s been reciting poems in school since first grade, which helped her develop an interest in writing her own poetry. Once sponsored, her poems were often inspired by Unbound.

“The support from the program has enabled me to see life differently, with a great meaning, thanks to Unbound,” Brigit said.

Brigit’s been sponsored by Karleen from Indiana since 2012. She wrote the following Unbound-inspired poem when she was just 13 years old.

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Liva Rajaonarisina, program coordinator in Antsirabe, Madagascar presents at Unbound's Global Insight Series on March 29 in Kansas City.
Apr 12 2017

‘Closer and closer to the families’

Antsirabe program coordinator shares how benefits are distributed in Madagascar

Liva Rajaonarisina, program coordinator in Antsirabe, Madagascar presents at Unbound's Global Insight Series on March 29 in Kansas City.

Liva Rajaonarisina, program coordinator in Antsirabe, Madagascar presents at Unbound’s Global Insight Series on March 29 in Kansas City.

Liva Rajaonarisina is Unbound’s program coordinator in Antsirabe, Madagascar. With experience working in mission work, translation and employee training, Liva has worked for Unbound as program coordinator since 2008.

Unbound has 37 projects in the 19 countries where we work. The projects serve as regional hubs in areas where sponsored members live, and are the coordinating centers for community-based programs that span the area. Each of these hubs is led by a coordinator who helps guide and manage the Unbound program in that area.

At both Unbound’s Global Insight Series on March 29 and at an employee-wide presentation the next day, Liva shared about the benefits of sponsorship in Madagascar. Benefits are distributed in two primary and effective ways — cash distribution and a livelihood program called “Market Market.”

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Toby the dog.
Apr 10 2017

Pets of Unbound

Fuzzy faces bringing joy worldwide

Tomorrow, April 11, is National Pet Day. This annual celebration encourages adoption from local shelters and is also a good time to reflect on the benefits of having a pet. Not only can it teach children responsibility, but caring for a pet can also teach love, compassion and respect for nature. We’re celebrating by sharing some of the many wonderful photos we’ve received of sponsored members with pets and other animals.
Gloria, the mother of a sponsored child in Colombia, gives the family cat, Chepe, a big hug. Despite what some may think about cats, he does seem to be enjoying the attention.
Gloria, the mother of a sponsored child in Colombia, gives the family cat, Chepe, a big hug. Despite what some may think about cats, he does seem to be enjoying the attention.
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Risa Vereña, program coordinator in Manila, Philippines, presents at Unbound's Global Insight Series on March 29 in Kansas City.
Apr 7 2017

Families in the Philippines work toward sustainability

Manila program coordinator discusses the impact of co-ops

Risa Vereña, program coordinator in Manila, Philippines, presents at Unbound’s Global Insight Series on March 29 in Kansas City.

“We love peanut butter,” Risa Vereña said with a grin, describing Filipino culture to an audience of 100 at Unbound’s Global Insight Series on March 29. “… And [no matter the] religion or place, we cannot live without videoke .”

What does making peanut butter and renting videoke (a video version of karaoke) machines have to do with Unbound sponsorship? They are two of the many businesses started by parents of sponsored children in Manila, and according to Risa, they are ventures that will be welcomed readily by the community.

Risa is Unbound’s program coordinator in Manila, Philippines. With a bachelor’s degree in development communication and education communication, Risa has worked for Unbound for 15 years. She began as the communications officer in 2009 and took on the role of program coordinator in 2014.

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Saritha Mendanha, program coordinator in Hyderabad, India, presents at Unbound's Global Insight Series on March 29 in Kansas City.
Apr 5 2017

Guiding students toward success in India

Hyderabad program coordinator shares about youth programs

Saritha Mendanha, program coordinator in Hyderabad, India, presents at Unbound's Global Insight Series on March 29 in Kansas City.

Saritha Mendanha, program coordinator in Hyderabad, India, presents at Unbound’s Global Insight Series on March 29 in Kansas City.

Saritha Mendanha is Unbound’s program coordinator in Hyderabad, India. With two master’s degrees, in social work and counseling & psychotherapy, Saritha has worked for Unbound for eight years. She began as the program coordinator in Chennai in 2009 and took on the same role in Hyderabad — Unbound’s largest project in India — in 2012.

Unbound has 37 projects in the 19 countries where we work. The projects serve as regional hubs in areas where sponsored members live, and are the coordinating centers for community-based programs that span the area. Each of these hubs is led by a coordinator who helps guide and manage the Unbound program in that area.

At both Unbound’s Global Insight Series on March 29 and at an employee-wide presentation earlier in the week, Saritha shared about the innovative programs happening in her project in Hyderabad. With an emphasis on guiding and mentoring young adults, the Hyderabad program is finding unique — and fun — ways for sponsored children and young adults to find their path in life.

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The three project coordinators speaking on a panel.
Apr 3 2017

Global Insight Series features staff from Africa and Asia

More than 100 gather to listen and learn

The three project coordinators speaking on a panel.

The inaugural edition of the Unbound Global Insight Series March 29 at our headquarters in Kansas City unfolded as an evening of discovery, an opportunity to listen and learn from three program coordinators visiting from India, Madagascar and the Philippines.

Saritha Mendanha, Liva Rajaonarisina and Risa Vereña shared insights on our programs and the innovative ways that sponsorship provides opportunities for families around the world.

Unbound has 37 projects in the 19 countries where we work. The projects serve as regional hubs in areas where sponsored members live, and are the coordinating centers for community-based programs that span the area.

Each of these hubs is led by a coordinator who helps guide and manage the Unbound program in that area. Unbound’s co-founder Bob Hentzen once described these staff members as “saints with talent.” Those attending last Wednesday’s event got a glimpse of what Bob meant.

Read on for a photo essay depicting the event, and stay tuned next week for three more blog posts on topics presented by Saritha, Liva and Risa. What they shared reflects the program innovations in their countries and shows that their work holds true to one of our most important organizational values — that we, as sponsors and staff, are students of the families we accompany in overcoming poverty.

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Veronica serves up a bowl of soup.
Mar 29 2017

Cooking up a business

Veronica serves up a bowl of soup.

Veronica serves up a bowl of soup.

It’s often said that the journey is more important than the destination. Veronica’s story demonstrates that sometimes the destination is pretty nice, too.

Veronica lives in Kenya. Widowed at a young age, with two young sons to support, her life was a struggle.

“It was very difficult,” she said. “My husband died when the boys were still very young. Food, clothes, shelter, everything was hard to come by. Looking back, I do not know how I made it through. I had to go back to my rural village, because I had no means to make ends meet. I had no one to depend on. I felt alone.”

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Sponsored elder Bernard (center) joins Unbound Kenya communications liaison Regina Mburu (left), and Larry Livingston (right). Bernard, who is blind, was featured in a previous blog post.
Mar 27 2017

Old insights from a new place

Sponsored elder Bernard (center) joins Unbound Kenya communications liaison Regina Mburu (left), and Larry Livingston (right). Bernard, who is blind, was featured in a previous blog post.

Sponsored elder Bernard (center) joins Unbound Kenya communications liaison Regina Mburu (left), and Larry Livingston (right). Bernard, who is blind, was featured in a previous blog post.

By Larry Livingston, senior writer

I recently traveled to Kenya. My main reason for going was to meet people sponsored through Unbound and listen to their stories. I also wanted to meet members of our staff in Kenya and learn how they work with the families.

Since I’ve returned, several people have asked me what I learned from the trip. I have a hard time answering that question at this point, mostly because I need time to sort out my memories, feelings and insights. Like last year’s Christmas tree lights, they’re going to take a while to untangle before they can be illuminated.

Besides, as I get older I find that the most meaningful insights I take away from travel experiences aren’t new. Rather, they’re reminders of universal truths that I had either forgotten or, perhaps, taken for granted. Those insights are always more about people than things. They’re also, in a way, about God.

Here are some ‘old’ insights I took from my trip to Kenya.

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