Oscar (left) is a 12-year-old who is sponsored through Unbound and has found his new passion — speed roller skating. His father, Geoffrey (right), is proud to support his son’s dream.
Kenya is a hub for a surprising sport — speed skating. But it’s not the kind on ice that you might be more familiar with because of world-renowned athletes like Apolo Ohno. This is the kind on wheels that happens in bumpy alleyways and paved roads, and is growing in popularity among Kenyan youth.
For kids across the globe of all ages, the ability to participate in sports from a young age provides great opportunities for learning, discipline and independence. With education at the forefront, Oscar, a 12-year-old sponsored boy in Kisumu, Kenya, was able to start speed skating as a result of the freedom that Unbound sponsorship provided him and his family.
Veronica, whose daughter Rosemary is sponsored through Unbound, had to relocate after her rented home flooded. She received rent money and items for her new home as part of flood assistance from Unbound.
Veronica attempts to salvage her children’s textbooks from their flooded home.
By Regina Mburu, communications liaison for Unbound in Africa
Heavy rains pounded Nairobi, Kenya, in May of this year, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake.
Some families were rendered homeless while others lost their belongings. As they waited for the rains to stop, the corridors of a nearby school became their home once dusk fell.
Unfortunately, families served by Unbound in the small village of Rongai were among those affected.
“I would walk by what I used to call home and I could feel my knees get weak,” Jane, a mother of a child sponsored through Unbound, said. “I lost household belongings that I had worked so hard to buy.”
Yuda is a former sponsored youth from Uganda who has earned a master’s degree and is now a teacher. “My sponsor has played a big role in my life,” Yuda said. “The support, encouragement and financial help I have gotten made me reach my goals and dream.”
Education opens up opportunities in life, especially when entering the job market. And for a child living in poverty, a good education can become the means by which she lifts her family out of poverty. But education isn’t a guarantee for much of the world, and for many children it’s a luxury their family might not be able to afford.
In many of the countries where Unbound works, families are often required by the schools to pay for things like textbooks and cover additional fees, or families of school-age children view education as a low priority compared to other needs of the family.
In some families, children and youth may be expected to leave school at a young age so they can work to provide additional income or help take care of younger siblings. These families are faced with the decision of sacrificing their child’s education in favor of feeding the family and keeping a roof over their heads.
Bob and his sponsored friend, Mercy enjoying a beautiful day at the Blue Post Hotel and Park near Nairobi, Kenya.
Bob Hirtzel and his wife Pat traveled to Kenya on an Unbound Awareness Trip in February 2016. Sponsors for 18 years, they support children in Kenya, the Philippines and Guatemala. After the trip, Bob wrote a thank you letter to many of the Unbound Kenyan staff he met on his trip. This piece is pulled from that letter.
Blue Michel and her sponsored friend Gloria on an awareness trip in Kenya.
Unbound sponsor Sandra “Blue” Michel traveled to Kenya in February on an Unbound Awareness Trip. She joined Unbound as a sponsor seven years earlier, after doing extensive research to choose an organization to partner with.
Ismael Kwenga, a former sponsored member from Meru, Kenya.
By Ismael Kwenga, a former sponsored member
When a sponsored member leaves the program, especially after completing their education, it marks a new chapter in their lives. Sometimes Unbound is part of that new chapter, like when a former sponsored member takes on a staff position, but other times their lives take a different path.
That’s why it’s always a great joy to hear from former sponsored members about what they are doing after leaving the program. We received the following letter from Ismael in Meru, Kenya, updating us about his future plans. He left the program last year after completing his college degree. And though he is no longer part of the Unbound program, his story is a testimony to the lasting impact sponsorship can have on someone’s life.
Peter helps his daughter, Florence, with her homework. She is able to go to school because of her Unbound sponsorship.
This is the third in a series of four stories about fathers of children sponsored through Unbound. We’ll be posting these leading up to the celebration of Father’s Day on June 19. Click here to watch the companion video.
Mark, the father of a child sponsored through Unbound, works in his woodshop in Uganda.
On a sunny day in Uganda, Mark is hard at work in his backyard woodshop.
A self-employed carpenter for 31 years, Mark has had to jump a lot of hurdles to get his business — and his family — to the steady place they are now. His daughter, Veronika, is sponsored through Unbound and he attributes much of the family’s economic stability to her sponsorship. Read more