Virgilio’s big smile provides a glimpse into his joyful personality.
Unbound’s late co-founder Bob Hentzen impacted many lives through his tireless service to the world’s marginalized people. One person whose life changed after meeting Bob is a 12-year-old boy named Virgilio who lives with a disability.
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.
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.
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.
Jose pilots his boat to guide tourists.
Jose’s boat (right) provides part of his income.
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.