By Pritha Hariharan, program director for Unbound’s international programs
Picture this: a young girl of 13 fully decked out in a brand new sari. All the gold her family can afford hangs on her ears, around her neck, her wrists, her ankles and even her waist. She is the center of attention — all the ladies of the family and the neighborhood mill around her. Some bring gifts, others bring food, but everyone is congratulating her and her parents.
She isn’t quite sure why she’s been put in the spotlight, but she’s enjoying it for now. The male siblings are feeling left out, and for the first time in their lives they can’t figure out why the sister is getting all the attention.
Middle school graduation?
When Sundarapandi, an 18-year-old sponsored youth in India, lost his hands in an electrical accident at age 10, he never imagined he would someday become a decorated athlete.
Winning three gold and one bronze medal in the India National Paralympics in 2015, Sundarapandi has achieved far beyond what he ever could have dreamed.
Perhaps nothing says more about Unbound’s culture of learning than our movement toward small, community-based groups within our programs. The families themselves taught us that when those who are systemically disadvantaged come together, great things can happen.
Local Unbound program staffs discovered early on that small peer groups were ideal for building trust and an environment of mutual support within a larger community. They found that the ideal size was about 25 members — large enough to feel empowered but small enough to maintain a sense of intimacy.
Taste of tradition
Nancy gets ready to enjoy a bowl of mukimo, a traditional Kenyan dish of mashed vegetables, which she makes for her family. Nancy’s 17-year-old son, David, is sponsored through Unbound.
When Sundari’s son Adarsh was sponsored through Unbound’s office in Hyderabad, India, things were difficult for the family. Not only are Sundari and her husband, Marreddy, responsible for taking care of their two children, but they also take care of their grandparents and Sundari’s aunt.
Marreddy is a farmer, but only has two acres of land with which to support all seven members of the family. Sundari is a housewife, and when her son was sponsored in 2004, she didn’t have any means of earning an income.
Now 18, Adarsh was sponsored by Cleaton and Corda from Louisiana, who remained his sponsors until he left the program last year when he starting working. Adarsh wasn’t the only one in the family who benefited from being part of Unbound. Through the program, Sundari had the opportunity to join a local support mothers group (SMG) called Pragathi Mahila Sangam, which means Women’s Progress Group.
The Earth is a truly amazing place, from deserts to rain forests and ice-capped mountains. Check out these photos from some of the countries where Unbound works and immerse yourself in the sites seen by sponsored friends around the world.
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In Valparaiso, Chile, there might be a lot of stairs to climb to get home …
… But there’s also a spectacular view.
Joy in culture
Madelen, a formerly sponsored child, participates in a traditional dance with the Unbound community in Quibdo, Colombia.