Category: India

An image of Unbound Program Coodinator Vincent Murmu.
Jul 31 2017

Exchange Trip to Africa 2017

Indian coordinators' reflections from Africa, part 3


Recently three of our program coordinators from India traveled to Kenya and Uganda to see how the Unbound program works in those countries. They had the opportunity to learn from their African coworkers and to experience the realities of families in Kenya and Uganda compared to India. This final reflection is from Vincent Murmu, the program coordinator for our Dumka office in India.

It is indeed exciting to visit the Unbound family on another continent. I, along with Seema,the coordinator in Chennai, and Selvaraj, the coordinator in Bhagalpur, and under the able leadership of our project director Amanda Heter from Unbound Kansas, had the wonderful opportunity to visit two Unbound projects in East Africa – Nairobi, Kenya and Kampala,Uganda.

It is like a dream come true landing on another continent. My eyes were fully opened with curiosity and excitement.
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An image of Unbound staff taking notes.
Jul 29 2017

Key learning points

Indian coordinators' reflections from Africa, part 2

An image of Unbound staff taking notes.

Selvaraj takes notes as Nairobi program evaluation team presents on how they conduct program evaluations at their office.


Recently three of our program coordinators from India traveled to Kenya and Uganda to see how the Unbound program works in those countries. They had the opportunity to learn from their African coworkers and to experience what poverty looks like in Kenya and Uganda compared to India. This second reflection is from Selvaraj P., the program coordinator for our Bhagalpur office in India.

Nairobi:

First of all, I congratulate the Nairobi Team for their cordial welcome and family spirit. The Nairobi team is composed of knowledge and experience, and they are excellent teachers and possess great communication skill. The love and excitement they bring to the program is a treat to watch and emulate. Team spirit, program focus, talent recognition, people centered policies and excellent leadership at the top level are some of the keys to their success. It is a team on the move with great attitude and commitment. Keep up the good work you do for the poor!
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An image of Indian and Ugandan Unbound staff members.
Jul 24 2017

My observations from visiting Nairobi and Kampala

Indian coordinators' reflections from Africa, part 1

An image of Indian and Ugandan Unbound staff members.

Seema, center, takes a picture with her fellow Indian coordinators and staff members from Uganda.


Recently three of our program coordinators from India traveled to Kenya and Uganda to see how the Unbound program works in those countries. They had the opportunity to learn from their African coworkers and to experience what poverty looks like in Kenya and Uganda compared to India. This first reflection is from Seema Mohan Kumar, the program coordinator for our Chennai office in India.

“It is not sufficient simply to have an experience in order to learn. Without reflecting upon this experience, it may quickly be forgotten, or its learning potential lost. It is from the feelings and thoughts emerging from this reflection that generalisations or concepts can be generated. And it is generalisations that allow new situations to be tackled effectively.” — Graham Gibbs

I’ve taken a lot of positivity from this experience and a lot of learning too. Nairobi and Uganda was not what I had expected, and though we had to strictly take yellow fever shots, not all the places are filled with mosquitoes. The two African countries I’ve visited have been full of happiness. I have gained some life experience. Now I have changed more and I had to take the long road to re-examine my view of my community. Education in Kenya and Uganda was noticeably taken very seriously and it’s the key for their future.
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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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Claudia, right, with sponsored child Josesuan, center, and her mother, Evelin.
Mar 20 2017

Love crosses all cultures

Unbound staff member reflects on lessons from travels

Claudia, right, with sponsored child Josesuan, center, and her mother, Evelin.

Claudia, right, with sponsored child Josesuan, center, and her mother, Evelin.

By Claudia Vázquez-Puebla, outreach volunteer director for Unbound

Thirty-three years ago, my father made the decision to move our family from Zacatecas, Mexico, to the U.S. Having four daughters and a son, he wanted all of us to have an opportunity to get an education and have better options for our futures.

Many generous people guided and cared for us as we were welcomed into schools and communities in Oklahoma and Kansas. This afforded us opportunities to earn college degrees and work in careers focused on giving back to our communities.

In the last four years, I’ve had the opportunity to travel with Unbound to Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, the Philippines and, most recently, India. All of these countries are characterized by vibrant cultures, patriotism, passionate Unbound staff and, most importantly, sponsored members overcoming poverty. The families that I met have grounded me spiritually and challenged me to think about my needs versus my wants. These are important lessons that have reminded me of my own journey out of poverty.

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In her role as program director at Unbound, Pritha Hariharan visits sponsored child Antony at his home in India.
Jan 30 2017

The uniqueness of Indian English

Tips on understanding Indian phrases

In her role as program director at Unbound, Pritha Hariharan visits sponsored child Antony at his home in India.

In her role as program director at Unbound, Pritha Hariharan visits sponsored child Antony at his home in India.

By Pritha Hariharan, program director for Unbound’s international programs

“I passed out of college in 1996.”

I said this to a mostly American audience, only to receive a mixture of horrified and puzzled looks. An Indian friend helpfully stepped in and explained that I had not, in fact, fainted in said year, but had graduated from college at that time. That was my first exposure to the idea that there are some phrases in Indian English that are very uniquely Indian. So much so that many Americans wouldn’t know what I was referring to unless they have spent a significant amount of time either traveling in India or working with other Indians.

Don’t get me wrong. Almost everyone knows that there are some basic differences — that we in India use British English — such as adding the u in “colour” and calling an elevator a “lift” and an apartment a “flat.” However, the uniqueness of some of these phrases is worth pointing out, especially to sponsors who might be a bit confused by the letters they’ve received from their sponsored children in India.

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Wilber, 12, a sponsored child in Guatemala who hopes to be an architect or engineer someday, partly because "Wilber the architect sounds nice!"
Nov 21 2016

35 snapshots of Unbound: 29-35

One of the ways we’ve been celebrating our 35th anniversary is by hearing from sponsored friends and staff around the world. We asked them how Unbound has changed them, what their favorite thing about being sponsored is or what greeting they have for us at this milestone. We’ve featured 35 snapshots of our global community over the past several weeks right here on the blog. Check out the final set of snapshots in the series below, and check out previous posts in the series here!
Yovana, a social worker for Unbound in Guatemala, who deeply appreciates how members of the Unbound community share similar values, regardless of their backgrounds.
Check out the snapshots

Lyka, 11, is a sponsored child from the Philippines who dreams of becoming a teacher when she grows up so she can help children like her learn to speak English.
Nov 14 2016

35 snapshots of Unbound: 22-28

One of the ways we are celebrating our 35th anniversary coming up on Nov. 20 is by hearing from sponsored friends and staff around the world. We asked them how Unbound has changed them, what their favorite thing is about being sponsored or what greeting they have for us at this milestone. We’re featuring 35 snapshots of our global community as we lead up to Nov. 20, right here on the blog. Check out the next set of snapshots in the series and stay tuned for more!
Lourdu, 76, is a sponsored elder in India who used to play the church organ and piano during Mass and enjoys singing and dancing with his fellow sponsored elders at Unbound events.
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Maria, 92, is a sponsored elder in El Salvador who enjoys performing folkloric dance for sponsors who visit on awareness trips.
Nov 7 2016

35 snapshots of Unbound: 15-21

One of the ways we are celebrating our 35th anniversary coming up on Nov. 20 is by hearing from sponsored friends and staff around the world. We asked them how Unbound has changed them, what their favorite thing is about being sponsored or what greeting they have for us at this milestone. We’re featuring 35 snapshots of our global community over the next several weeks leading up to Nov. 20, right here on the blog. Check out the next set of snapshots in the series, and stay tuned!
Maria, 92, is a sponsored elder in El Salvador who enjoys performing folkloric dance for sponsors who visit on awareness trips.
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