Category Archives: Central America

Marjorie and Ulises
Apr 29 2015

Family shows autism is no barrier to a dream

Autism affects one in 68 children, and it’s one of the fastest growing developmental disorders in the last 20 years.

April is Autism Awareness Month — a month dedicated to educating the public about autism and helping to create a safer, happier world for those challenged by this disorder. Unbound sponsorship offers support to families around the world who are impacted by autism.

Ulises is a 22-year-old sponsored youth who has autism. He lives in Costa Rica with his mother, Marjorie, who takes care of him.

“My dream is that one day he would do things on his own, so he would be independent when I’m no longer with him,” Marjorie said.

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Archbishop Oscar Romero
Apr 20 2015

The beatification of Archbishop Oscar Romero

By Larry Livingston, senior writer/editor

On May 23, the Roman Catholic Church will formally beatify Oscar Romero, the Salvadoran archbishop who was murdered in 1980. In Catholic tradition, beatification is the last and most significant step before canonization, the official recognition of a person as a saint.

But while Romero has yet to be officially canonized, as far as the people of El Salvador are concerned, his sainthood has never been in doubt. Since his assassination in1980, they have revered him, in a very personal way, as their patron saint and a martyr for the cause of the poor.

Victor Mendez, a member of the accounting team in Unbound’s San Salvador office, understands and shares in the joy with his fellow Salvadorans as they prepare to celebrate Romero’s beatification. As a member of a generation that grew up hearing stories of the martyred archbishop — and one who now works with those living in poverty — he appreciates the significance of this event for his people.
Victor sees the formal recognition of Romero as a Salvadoran success story.

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Ines, 66, recites one of her poems for a group of visitors.
Apr 15 2015

An ode to Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month in the United States. To celebrate we asked sponsored friends if they had any poems they’d like to share. Ines, 66, is a sponsored elder in El Salvador. Despite leaving school after the sixth grade, she has an amazing talent for poetry.

Ines often performs poetry for awareness trip travelers and was glad to share her poetry, and its inspiration, with us.

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From left: Dora, Ana, Maria S., Maria Eva and Maria Y. are part of a mothers group through Unbound in Guatemala.
Apr 8 2015

Creating more choices for mothers in Guatemala

Looking at this photo, you might see a work of art. A sculpture carefully crafted, textured and painted to convey a new meaning for each new angle it’s viewed from. Or maybe, and more accurately, you see a mushroom farm.

For Guatemalan mother Ana, this mound of chopped corncobs, corn husks and mushroom cultures represents another step toward economic self-sufficiency.

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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.