Sponsored children and their classmates in Uganda.
On June 16, 1976, more than 100 students in Soweto, South Africa, were shot and killed and thousands were injured after a protest for equal and quality education for all children.
Tomorrow, June 16, is the Day of the African Child. This day has been celebrated every year since 1991 in memory of those who participated in the Soweto protest and to raise awareness for the continued improvement of Africa’s educational systems.
Dan gives a fist bump to a young girl outside the Unbound office near Kibera slum in Kenya.
By Dan Pearson, Director of International Programs
What’s the best gift for a continent? May 25 is Africa Day, the annual commemoration of the founding of the Organization of African Unity. But don’t worry if you haven’t gotten Africa a gift yet. The day hasn’t really caught on in the U.S. like other celebrations of international origin such as St. Patrick’s Day or Cinco de Mayo, but that may change.
The mental maps of many Americans are pretty blank when it comes to Africa, and the topics we associate with the continent are mostly negative: slavery, poverty, starvation, dictators and war. It’s true that Africa’s history is deeply marked by suffering, mostly at the hands of outsiders but also self-inflicted. Modern Africa is changing rapidly, and it is time we all took note.
Yollande is completing her training as a nurse at a local health center in Madagascar.
By Barclay Martin, new channels coordinator for Unbound
Sitting in the home of Yollande and her mother, Jeanne, I was given a beautiful glimpse of human potential. In a place where homes are commonly assembled with humble and often salvaged materials, their home is simple, but stately. When I commented on how lovely it felt to be in their home, Jeanne replied, “We have built our life one step at a time, including this house.”
Yollande is 21 and has been raised alongside her siblings in their neighborhood on the outskirts of Antsirabe, Madagascar. Their neighborhood’s name translates to “No Place for Lazy People.”
Barclay Martin, new channels coordinator for Unbound
Toy instruments are displayed at a stand in Madagascar.
By Barclay Martin, new channels coordinator for Unbound
It is an outlandish thing to make your living as a singer/songwriter, and one of the lessons it taught me early was that in order to make it, you have to hustle.
You have to release the notion that just because a morning of coffee and scratching in a notebook renders a song the world is compelled to respond. There’s a brawn to art, the idea that beneath the lustrous promise of a new creation there is muscle and metal driving it. With each release, there is a constant chirping in my brain, beckoning people to pay attention for a moment to what I’m doing. It is a daily battle for a sliver of presence in a world more infinitely layered than we could ever know.
Mamisoa receives a scholarship through Unbound in Madagascar. His scholarship is funded by donations to Education.
By Barclay Martin, new channels coordinator
I met Mamisoa at the Unbound-Madagascar central office while he was helping out with an event for aging members of the Unbound community. He’s studying earth sciences and wants to work to improve the water quality for people in Madagascar. He was introduced as one of the scholarship recipients. Unbound scholarships are funded by donations to Education. Luckily, I had a chance to pose some questions to Mamisoa.
For those compelled to think that people who live in poverty have nothing but their need to offer the world, I might begin by offering them the example of the extraordinary group, Migasy. This ensemble of musicians from the Unbound Madagascar community has developed a sophisticated sound with thoughtful messages. Messages that move humanity forward. These are engaged people who, amidst struggle, have committed themselves to creating works of art.
As they played song after song for us, I thought about the instruments that they played — some of them borrowed, some of them held together with rubber bands and plastic. These are the stories that don’t come through the music at first listen. They must be told. So should the very fact that they shared their music with us so others might have opportunity to go to school through Unbound scholarships. They were proud to do it.
As we recorded, the spirit in the room was of generosity. For each of the artists in Migasy, the desire to grow as musicians and offer something of substance moves them forward. For my part, I simply felt lucky to be in the presence of beautiful artists who had managed to do so much with so little.
It is the best of our human spirit set to music. It’s their gift to us.
Recently our resident musician and new channels coordinator, Barclay Martin, traveled to Madagascar. While there he collaborated with members of the Unbound community to record songs that are unique to the Malagasy people. Through instrument and song, the Voices of Unbound: Madagascar CD tells a story that leaves the listener with a sense of the gifts, capacities and cultures of the people with whom we work.
A powerful statement not often spoken. It offers up a pure form of confidence in the people who need it most. In this blog post, we will show you how to write this powerful statement in 18 languages. You can even send one of these translations in a note to your sponsored friend.
Luganda is a major language spoken in Uganda. In Luganda, “I believe in you” translates to “Nkukiririzaamu.”
Unbound staff from program offices around Africa came together to share ideas and challenges at this year’s Pan African Conference in Uganda.
By Regina Mburu, communications liaison for Unbound in Africa
Each Unbound program office has their own unique way of doing things, tailored to meet the needs of the sponsored friends in their area. But learning from other offices is invaluable to keeping the program evolving.
Every few years, our program offices in Africa hold a Pan African Conference where they can share ideas and challenges. This year the conference was hosted by our Uganda office. Regina Mburu, our communications liaison in Africa, shares her experiences during the conference.