Boni stands outside his home in the Philippines.
Electricity powers many things you might consider basic necessities. It may even be the reason behind how you’re able to read this right now. Many, however, might consider it a luxury.
Bonifacio, or Boni as his friends call him, doesn’t have electricity in his home. His family doesn’t have the money to pay for it, so at night he studies for his college exams and does his homework by a small kerosene lamp.
Sponsored elder Rogelia in the community garden she helps tend in Payatas, Philippines.
Today on World Humanitarian Day, we bring you a story about a woman in the Philippines who devotes her life to caring for others despite her own challenging circumstances.
Dumagat elders perform a traditional ceremony as part of their Indigenous People celebration.
The International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is Aug. 9, and we thought it was fitting to hear from a few sponsored youth from the Dumagat tribe, an indigenous community in the Philippines, about their heritage and hopes for the future.
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.
Mark, 18, is a scholarship student in the Philippines.
Mark has received numerous academic awards throughout his life.
Mark is a good student, finishing in the top three in his high school in the Philippines. But despite this accomplishment, going to college wasn’t a certainty. His parents’ medical issues meant the family budget was tighter than ever, and there just wasn’t anything extra to help pay for college fees.
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.
Milestone moments don’t happen every day. For Jolly, a sponsored youth in the Philippines, graduating from college is one of his happiest memories. While most graduates walk toward the stage to get their degrees, Jolly was walking toward his mom.
“When my name was called by the host in our graduation, my mother was clapping her hands,” said Jolly, a sponsored youth living in the Philippines. “I was the one who got her hand and we walked together up the stage. She was the one who put the medal on my neck. I was so happy that moment,” he said.
Jolly, a member of the fathers group in Unbound’s Cardona program, cuts water hyacinth stalks to be made into sandals and other wearable goods. Once a fisherman, Jolly has found a new source of income in the water hyacinth initiative.
The waterways near Cardona, Philippines, are abundant with water hyacinths.
Water hyacinths, a persistent pest, clog waterways, kill fish and rob sunlight from native aquatic plants in lakes all over the world.
A community in the Cardona area of the Philippines, just outside Manila, experienced such an infestation. In 2012, when Charito L. and her family joined the Unbound program, her husband wasn’t able to continue his job fishing because of the plant. It became increasingly difficult to support their family.
“My source of income way back then was selling fishes but, because of the huge number of water hyacinths in the lake, the fishes died out,” she said.
Manish, 14, is sponsored through Unbound in India.
The Taj Mahal, Delhi, India.
Manish spent a good part of his childhood stationed outside the East Gate of India’s famed Taj Mahal.
By the age of 5 he was working long days peddling trinkets: bracelets, beads or cheap keychains.
Selling on the streets is dangerous work for little kids. They can become easy prey for thieves or victims of speeding cars and motorcycles.
But Manish had little choice. He is the youngest of seven. His father works, but doesn’t make enough money to feed every child in the family.
Randy, 23, is an alumnus of the Unbound program in the Philippines.
Randy outside the house he shared with five other family members.
Education is considered a key step in a person’s journey out of poverty, but paying for higher education can also be one of the biggest challenges. It certainly was for Randy, a young man sponsored through Unbound in the Philippines since he was 8 years old.
That’s where Unbound’s scholarship program came in. Funded by donations for Education, the scholarship program enables students all over the world to pursue upper levels of education, such as high school, technical school or college, giving them the boost they need to achieve their dreams. We had the opportunity to interview Randy shortly before he graduated from college and learned how being part of the scholarship program impacted his life.