Category Archives: Central America

Ashley in front of her home in Costa Rica.
Apr 3 2015

One step forward, never one backwards

Ashley in front of her home in Costa Rica.

Ashley in front of her home in Costa Rica.


“Do you feel poor?”

That’s how Henry Flores, director of the Unbound communications center in El Salvador, began his conversation with Ashley, a sponsored 15 year old from Costa Rica.

A difficult question to ask; an even tougher one to answer.

How could a teenager living in a poor community behind one of the largest shopping malls in the area, where she and her mother, Juana, can only see the walls that hide their reality from the beauty and fantasy of the department stores, answer a question like that?

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Sponsor Jennifer Afflerbach, center, with her sponsored friend Bryan and his mother, Sirlen, on a 2012 Costa Rica awareness trip.
Mar 27 2015

A vision of courage

Sponsor Jennifer Afflerbach, center, with her sponsored friend Bryan and his mother, Sirlen, on a 2012 Costa Rica awareness trip.

Sponsor Jennifer Afflerbach, center, with her sponsored friend Bryan and his mother, Sirlen, on a 2012 Costa Rica awareness trip.

By Jennifer Afflerbach, Unbound sponsor

Eight simple words of encouragement: “I can tell you are a good mother.”

That’s what I wrote to Sirlen, the mother of Bryan, the child I sponsor in Costa Rica. Little did I know what a profound effect it would have on her — and on me.

“Thank you for saying that,” she wrote back. “Your letter brought tears to my eyes.”

And her letter brought tears to mine, as I envisioned this strong, courageous mother of four children under the age of 8 being buoyed by such a small gesture on my part.

I knew I had to meet this woman. So I went on an awareness trip to Costa Rica the next year. When we met face to face, it was as if we were old friends — we connected instantly.

And my instinct had been right — she is a very good mother.

After the visit, when I wrote and inquired about their long journey home on mountainous roads, she replied that the trip wasn’t the most difficult part, the goodbye was.

Again, she brought tears to my eyes.

Sponsorship may cost $30 a month, but you can’t put a price tag on the relationship.

Start the journey of sponsorship today.

Rosa and her 15-year old daughter, Dayani.
Mar 20 2015

Living with Down syndrome while facing poverty

Rosa and her 15-year old daughter, Dayani.

Rosa and her 15-year old daughter, Dayani.

By Elizabeth Alex, community outreach and media relations director

Down syndrome is a diagnosis no mother hopes to hear.

For parents living in the poorest barrios of Honduras, it is sometimes just too much to bear.

“The doctor told me it would be different and difficult to raise her,” Rosa said about Dayani, her 15-year-old daughter with Down syndrome. “There are no schools and no help for children with special needs.”

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Guatemala staff members Yovany, Brenda and Chico enjoying the spirit of St. Patty's Day.
Mar 16 2015

Happy (almost) St. Patrick’s Day!

Guatemala staff members Yovany, Brenda and Chico enjoying the spirit of St. Patty's Day.

Guatemala staff members Yovany, Brenda and Chico enjoying the spirit of St. Patty’s Day.

St. Patrick’s Day is tomorrow, and many will be donning their green to celebrate (and avoid being pinched). Last year, some of our staff members in Guatemala got into the spirit and snapped this photo.

How do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Hop over to our Facebook page and share a photo of your St. Patty’s day gear.

Wishing you all a happy and safe St. Patrick’s Day from Unbound!

Dayanna, 8, from El Salvador.
Mar 9 2015

Help Dayanna find a sponsor


There’s a lot to learn about Dayanna. She’s 8 years old, lives in El Salvador, likes the color pink and playing with her sister, and she has a cat named Lunasol.

Dayanna’s in second grade and her favorite subject in school is math.

“One day, the teacher assigned as homework to write all the numbers up to 300, but I wrote until 309,” Dayanna said.

Karla, Dayanna’s mom, wants to see both her daughters graduate, but the family’s situation makes providing an education difficult.

“We try to make an effort in sending Dayanna to school,” Karla said, “but education is something that is difficult for us [to afford]. My husband works, but it isn’t enough.

Keep reading to learn how you can help Dayanna

Maynor, 7, from Guatemala.
Feb 11 2015

Happy Make a Friend Day

Happy Make a Friend Day! At Unbound, we’re all about creating meaningful relationships between sponsors and sponsored friends. To celebrate Make a Friend Day, we’d like to give Maynor the opportunity to make a new friend.

Maynor enjoys drawing and playing soccer. Maynor’s father earns an income by working in the cornfields as a day laborer, and Maynor likes helping his father in the field. Maynor, his parents and four siblings are living in a one-room adobe hut. It has a corrugated-tin roof and a dirt floor. His mother takes care of the domestic chores, and the family lives on the father’s earnings. The amount isn’t enough to meet their everyday needs. For Maynor, sponsorship would mean a better situation for his entire family.

Be Maynor’s friend today.

Editor’s note: Since this post was published, Maynor has found a sponsor. Click here to view others still waiting for a sponsor.

Unbound scholar
Feb 9 2015

Moving forward with Education support

Education is at the heart of everything Unbound does. For children in the Unbound community, education is a road out of poverty.

Unbound’s Education support helps students stay in school when it becomes financially impossible to continue. Small contributions can go a long way. What may seem like a minor obstacle may be the deciding factor between a student dropping out and staying in school.

Rosa, from Guatemala, faced a decision about dropping out shortly after entering middle school.

Sitting in her humble living room on old car seats covered in blankets, she recounted her story.

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Diego
Jan 28 2015

‘It’s hard because it’s worth it’

Diego

Diego, a sponsored youth and scholarship recipient in Costa Rica.

Diego faced many challenges when he decided to go to college and study teaching. Classes were far from home, and transportation costs as well as food and education fees began to add up. Although difficult, Diego stuck with it.

“I kept telling myself, ‘this is hard because it is worth it. It will be fruitful someday,'” Diego said.

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Hortensia
Jan 26 2015

Help a 68-year-old woman achieve her dream

Hortensia

Hortensia enjoys reading the Bible, and reads it every night before going to bed.


Horetensia lives in a small town to the west of Guatemala’s capital with her husband, Victor. At 68, she has a clear dream for her future.

“I dream of living my elder years with good health, and I dream of not having to work so hard anymore,” Horetensia said. Laughing, she added, “I no longer have the strength to work hard; it’s not that I turned lazy.”

Hortensia has been working hard all her life. She and her husband started their family in Guatemala City more than 40 years ago. He worked as an auto mechanic, and she had a small business selling tortillas. They had 10 children, though two of them passed away in infancy.

When Victor started having strokes, which made him lose the ability to walk for some time, the burden of supporting their large family fell solely on Hortensia.

Read more about Hortensia

Sponsor a child
Jan 23 2015

Woman reconnects with past by sponsoring a child

Unbound awareness trip

From left: Maritza, Karla’s mother, Karla, Mercedes and Marlene Garcia de Ramirez, an Unbound social worker in El Salvador.


The people who sponsor through Unbound are a rather diverse group. Some sponsors are children still in grade school, while others have been retired for years. They represent an array of backgrounds, ethnicities, occupations and beliefs. And while the majority of our sponsors were born and raised in the United States, many were not.

Mercedes Lima has been a sponsor for 21 years. Though she has called Florida home for quite some time, she is originally from a small town in El Salvador.

“I grew up in a very poor place,” Mercedes said, “that’s why I understand the suffering and sadness when you don’t have an opportunity to move forward.”

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