Sundarapandi lost his hands at age 10. He later went on to win numerous medals in the Indian Paralympics as a swimmer.
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.
Members of a mothers group in Guatemala sit in front of baskets they produce to generate income. Pictured are Ana (foreground) and (in back, from left) Maria, Dora and Maria Eva.
Several smaller mothers groups come together in Warangal, India for “Pratibhautsav,” a traditional celebration of light and splendor. This particular gathering was dedicated to the initiative of the women.
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.
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Sundari uses her flour mill to help support her family.
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.
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Joy in culture
Madelen, a formerly sponsored child, participates in a traditional dance with the Unbound community in Quibdo, Colombia.
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Jorge sitting in his favorite spot.
Adilia, a sponsored youth in El Salvador.
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.
Deepiga, 10-year-old sponsored child in India.
Dan Pearson on a visit to India.
Dan Pearson, director of international programs, recently gave an inspiring webinar talk to Unbound staffers around the world. He told a story about a sponsored child he met in India, and how helping one child now could affect millions in the future.
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.