Yuda, now 27, holds two economics textbooks he authored.
Manish and his mother, Shakuntla.
Unbound’s Outreach Volunteer team, from left: Claudia Vázquez-Puebla, Lydia Leffelman, Clair Paul, Laurel Harrold and Maureen Ortiz.
As we celebrate Thanksgiving in the United States, we thought it would be good to have an encore presentation of some of the stories we featured on the Unbound blog in 2015.
Each of these stories reflects gratitude, expressed in many ways and for a variety of gifts. They represent just a few of the hundreds of stories we have presented over the years about people for whom thankfulness is not just an occasional sentiment but a virtue that marks every day of their lives.
Morena stands in the doorway of her home with her family.
Laura’s old latrine did not have a door and was falling down.
The new latrine Laura and her family built.
From left: Rosa, Hector and their puppy.
According to the United Nations, 2.5 billion people lack access to proper sanitation, including toilets or latrines, with dramatic consequences on human health, dignity and security, the environment, and social and economic development.
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.
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.
Pride and joy in their accomplishment are clear on the faces of these Ugandan parents. They are part of a small group working through Unbound to sell cakes to support their families. They are one of the many parents groups around the world that have started sustainable livelihood projects with assistance and encouragement from Unbound.
But for these parents, baking cakes isn’t as simple as getting out the mixer and preheating the oven. Watch this short video to see how they made this delicious bakery product.
Yuda, now 27, holds two economics textbooks he authored.
Yuda has always had a love of education, and was smart even as a young child.
His father, Maurice, is a primary school teacher in rural Uganda, and education was encouraged. Unfortunately, Maurice’s income as a teacher wasn’t always enough to cover school fees and other family needs.
As the fifth child among eight siblings, Yuda said, “[the] chances of me joining school were slim because of money problems.” In Uganda, as in many other countries, students must pay fees to attend public school. If the fees aren’t paid, the child is refused schooling. This was the future facing Yuda and his siblings.
“I knew without proper education, his life would turn out bleak,” Anna said of her grandnephew. “I had to do everything within my reach to help him go to school and learn.”
The 72-year-old Ugandan woman took over the care of Fred when he was just 8 months old after the untimely death of his parents. Fred’s mother was Anna’s niece, whom Anna also cared for. Growing up, Fred has always just referred to Anna as his grandmother.
Anna found herself in a position to help her extended family after the end of her 29-year marriage. Anna’s husband, a polygamist, banished her from his home because Anna did not bear him children. She moved in with her ailing brother who soon died, leaving his children and grandchildren, Fred among them, in her care.
The ability to read and write opens doors both inside and outside the classroom. Communication connects the world and knowledge is arguably the most life-changing gift one can give.
But for Ugandan parents Henry and Prossy, it was nearly impossible to support the educational needs of their six children.
The family relied on raising animals for an often meager income. Henry was also able to pick up occasional jobs at construction sites, but this wasn’t a reliable source of income. The family’s earnings were not enough to properly educate their children.
In Unbound communities around the world, however, the lives of families are transformed by the sponsorship of even one of their children.