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.
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.
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.
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.
The sea for Jose is beauty and sustenance. It’s a gracious host welcoming visitors and old friends. It’s also a fierce foe threatening his livelihood and safety in severe storms.
Jose lives by the sea and makes his living from it — as a fisherman, tour guide, farmer and owner of a small store. He lives about an hour from Hundred Islands National Park, a tourist destination and protected area in the Philippines some 150 miles north of Manila. He’s lived in the area since he was 7 years old. He’s 62 now.
Jose has been a member of Unbound’s elder program for two years. The support he gets from his sponsor, Carol in North Carolina, supplements his own hard work and initiative, giving him a little more security in his later years.
Happy Mother’s Day from Unbound! As you get ready to celebrate your mom on Sunday, take a moment to check out all these amazing moms from around the world. They are overcoming great odds to give their children better futures.
And don’t forget to share your Mother’s Day photos with us on Monday. Post a photo on Instagram of your mom or a photo of you with your mom, tag @Unboundorg and use the hashtag #MotherMonday.
For many U.S. college students, going home on the weekends to do laundry is a time-honored tradition. The time waiting between loads is a chance to catch up with family, friends and pets, or maybe doing some homework.
Twenty-year-old Roy is from a rural area of the Philippines and is studying education at a nearby university. He is sponsored through Unbound, which helps him meet the costs of attending college. Though he goes home every Friday, and laundry is involved, his weekends look a bit different than those of many U.S. students.
Roy’s weekends are filled with farming and doing other chores in order to earn a weekly income. He returns to school on Sunday afternoon, or sometimes very early in the morning on Monday, to attend class.
When it comes to doing laundry, Roy and his family rely on their surroundings. Their home is located at the base of a mountain. One of the mountain streams provides water and plenty of rocks for washing clothes.
Roy knows how to work hard and applies that to his studies as well as his weekend work. He hopes to be a teacher when he completes his education and is creating more opportunities for himself and his family through his studies.
Click here to support the higher education goals of students around the world.
By Scott Wasserman, president and CEO of Unbound
At the age of 74, Flor tends Unbound’s community herbal and vegetable garden near Quezon City, Philippines. Her home is made of hollow blocks, a cement floor and a roof of galvanized iron sheets. She has no electricity and draws her water from a community well.
She used to support herself by scavenging recyclable materials from a local trash dump. Since 2002, her sponsorship has allowed her to meet with other sponsored elders at their garden to enjoy community and recreation.
On the day we visited, an Unbound social worker led a conversation with Flor and her friends about elder rights. They learned to identify and resist abuse.
After the social worker’s presentation, Flor led us through Unbound’s community garden. She identified each plant and described its medicinal qualities. Some plants are believed to help with colds or headaches. Others fortify the heart. Some heal inflammation or wounds.
Flor works as an informal healer. Families call her to help with their illnesses, and she prescribes natural herbal cures.
She charges her neighbors whatever they can afford, even if it’s only one Philippine peso, or about 2 cents. She asks that they pay something: Flor believes that paying for her services aids in the healing process.
Regardless of the efficacy of her herbs, her visits uplift her neighbors. A poor, ill neighbor living in a dark home can count on Flor to deliver a smile along with her freshly picked flowers and herbs. With her gift of springtime warmth for her homebound neighbors, Flor lives up to her name, which means “flower.”
Become an uplifting presence. Sponsor an elder today.
Letters are an everyday part of the Unbound program — they’re the bridge that connects people throughout our world. Hundreds of thousands of letters from sponsored friends pass through our Kansas City headquarters each year on their way to sponsors. With all the correspondence that passes through our office, some letters still come as a surprise.