Amos Kihoro, youth program coordinator for Unbound in Nairobi.
Amos Kihoro, youth program coordinator for Unbound in Nairobi, recently visited our headquarters in Kansas City. He shared stories about the young people he works with and offered advice on communicating with and understanding young adults. Read his Q&A here
An estimated 2.5 million people across the globe — many of them children — are victims of modern slavery in the form of human trafficking. Some are forced into brutal manual labor, while others become captive to the sex trade. Still others are forced to act as soldiers and, in some cases, participate in war crimes.
Unbound believes we have a special role to play in combating this epidemic.
Sponsored child Rodrigo gives his mother, Elizabeth, a kiss outside their home in El Salvador.
Unbound’s sponsorship program is unique. We empower families to have the primary voice in making decisions that will impact their lives. Our program is so personalized you might even say we have more than 300,000 sponsorship programs — one for each individual sponsored through Unbound.
This stack of letters was written by Kansas City-area middle school students to Unbound sponsored youth waiting for new sponsors.
Letter writing is an important aspect of Unbound’s sponsorship program. Not only do we require sponsored members to write at least two letters a year to their sponsors, we encourage sponsors to write back. We frequently hear from sponsored members how much getting letters from their sponsors means to them. Sometimes those letters have the ability to change lives.
But when sponsored friends are between sponsors, they don’t have anyone to write to or receive letters from. When sponsors must discontinue their support, their sponsored friends continue to participate in the program and receive assistance while Unbound tries to find new sponsors for them.
Currently, we have more than 5,000 children, youth and elders waiting for new sponsors. Some of them have only been waiting a couple of months, while others have been waiting a couple of years. They’re missing out on a huge part of the Unbound program experience.
Fatuma and her daughter Fosia, an Unbound sponsored youth.
Most of the major religious traditions of the world have an appreciation for fasting. While they vary in specific practices, the religions share a recognition of fasting as a sacred discipline that teaches self-control and respect for the gift of sustenance.
Muslims are about to enter into Ramadan (June 17-July 17), the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, during which they fast daily from dawn to sunset. Ramadan commemorates the presentation of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad and is considered one of the most important observances of Islam.
Fatuma is a single mother of nine children, two of whom are sponsored through Unbound. She and her family live in Kenya and are devout Muslims. Recently Fatuma shared with us what Ramadan means to them.
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.
Lucy makes Uji, a type of porridge common in Kenya.
Lucy built her cooking fire between three stones so she could easily balance the pot over the fire.
By Regina Mburu, communications liaison for Unbound in Africa
Smoke from the cooking fire filled the small kitchen as the contents of a cooking pot boiled. The fire was built between three large stones, with the pot balanced on the edges of the stones, above the fire.
This is what I saw when I visited with Lucy, one of the elders sponsored through Unbound in Kenya. As I made my way to her home, I noticed her well-kept compound and the sound of her singing.
“Welocamu na wakinya guku kwa cucu, siti downi,” Lucy sang.
Designing and creating fashionable jewelry can be challenging, but for Florence it’s the perfect career. Florence was badly burned when she was young, leaving her with little use of her hands. But she doesn’t let her disability define her life. She chose her career, and it’s helping her earn a living for herself and her three children.
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.