Carmen Alicia Perez has been an Unbound social worker in Guatemala for 22 years and is truly making a difference in the world.
A friend and supporter for hundreds of families in her area, Carmen loves working alongside sponsored friends and their families.
It’s Unbound’s 35th anniversary, and many members of our staff have been with us for most of those three-and-a-half decades. Carmen has been a social worker with Unbound in Guatemala for 22 years. She took some time to share her story with Luis Cocón, Unbound communications liaison.
On this fifth annual International Day of the Girl Child, we join in calling attention to global efforts to ensure equality, offer opportunities and provide safe environments for the world’s 1.1 billion girls, so they may grow up happy, healthy and ready to meet the future.
Gilberta (front), her mother, Cristina (center), and sisters Nicolasa (left) and Juana are a close-knit family.
Gilberta heads to school with her book and pink backpack. “I love school,” she said.
For this observance, we highlight one girl’s story and her future goals.
Read about Gilberta
Cynthia (right), pictured with her mother, Pamela, has been sponsored by Donna in Arkansas since 2012. Sponsorship benefits help children like Cynthia stay healthy through good nutrition and durable homes.
Families around the world work hard to keep their children healthy and Unbound is committed to partnering with them. From daily nutrition to recovery from major illnesses, the health benefits that result from Unbound sponsorship are many. On National Child Health Day Oct. 3, we celebrate the efforts of the Unbound community in improving the health of children around the world.
Josefa, an elder sponsored through Unbound, sits on the doorstep outside her home in Guatemala.
At 77 years old, Josefa has aches and pains, but she knows exactly how to find joy.
Romelia gathers eggs from her chickens.
For Romelia, the answer to the age-old question about which came first, the chicken or the egg, is simple. It was the chicken, with the egg following close behind. And, just in case you’re wondering what came third, the answer is the sweater.
Through supports groups and livelihood programs, Unbound supports the hard-working parents of sponsored children around the world to help them develop their natural talents, so they can create sustainable sources of income to support their families and work their way out of poverty.
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Social worker Anibal Perez (right) visits with Angelica and Emerson, the mother and brother of sponsored child Ada in Guatemala. As a student, Anibal was sponsored and had a scholarship through Unbound. Because he comes from similar circumstances as the families in the program, he says, “I understand their struggle. …”
Former sponsored child
and scholarship recipient
Anibal Perez remembers how important support from the Unbound staff was growing up.
Now, in his role as a social worker with Unbound in Guatemala, Anibal works with 322 children and their families to support them and be part of their lives.
“I understand their struggle and can be sort of a role model for them,” he said.
Anibal credits his family, his sponsors (Dennis and Mary in Illinois) and the Unbound staff for making it possible for him to graduate from high school.
Ambrocia embroiders blankets with the Unbound logo to support her family.
Ambrocia learned how to embroider when she was just 10 years old.
“My neighbor Emilia showed me the skills,” Ambrocia said. “I remember her words, ‘Learn because you never know when it may come in handy.'”
And at the age of 47, this Guatemalan mom is using the skill she learned all those years ago from a kind neighbor to support her family.
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.
Hugo and Maria with four of their children. Sons Jairo and Cesar (from left) are in the background, while the parents hold twin babies (from left) Ethan and Adler.
This is the last in a series of four stories about fathers of children sponsored through Unbound. We’ve been posting these leading up to the celebration of Father’s Day on June 19. Click here to watch the companion video.
Read Hugo’s story