Education opens up opportunities in life, especially when entering the job market. And for a child living in poverty, a good education can become the means by which she lifts her family out of poverty. But education isn’t a guarantee for much of the world, and for many children it’s a luxury their family might not be able to afford.
In many of the countries where Unbound works, families are often required by the schools to pay for things like textbooks and cover additional fees, or families of school-age children view education as a low priority compared to other needs of the family.
In some families, children and youth may be expected to leave school at a young age so they can work to provide additional income or help take care of younger siblings. These families are faced with the decision of sacrificing their child’s education in favor of feeding the family and keeping a roof over their heads.
By Loretta Shea Kline, managing editor for Unbound
This week, four Unbound staff members from our Kansas City office will travel to Orlando, Fla., to represent Unbound at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Annual Conference. NCLR is the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S., and Unbound is proud to participate in the conference, connecting the Latino community in the U.S. with families served by Unbound in the 13 Spanish-speaking countries where we work.
This will be the second time Unbound has had a presence at the NCLR conference, beginning last year when the gathering was held just down the road from the main office in Kansas City. Unbound will be set up at booth #908 in the exposition hall and host a drawing for a free awareness trip to Guatemala.
“We want the NCLR community to know that [Unbound] does a lot of work in Latin America, so it’s a great opportunity for people to get involved, make connections and give back,” Unbound’s volunteer outreach manager, Claudia Vázquez-Puebla, said. “The impact that [sponsorship] makes and the results we have is something that needs to be out there in all kinds of communities.”
Previously involved with NCLR on her own, Claudia paved the path for Unbound to participate in last year’s NCLR conference. This year, four other Unbound staff members will attend, forming an experienced, passionate and bilingual team.
One of those four is Paola Moreno, who first heard of Unbound at last year’s conference when she helped out at a booth for a radio station.
“Claudia came to talk to us about Unbound,” Paola said. “And out of nowhere, I said, ‘Are you hiring?'” Paola had a job at Unbound within a few weeks as an outreach volunteer coordinator, and now is returning to NCLR to represent Unbound.
Like Paola, the other Unbound staff members attending NCLR are deeply passionate about Unbound’s work with families living in poverty and love to tell its story. From talking about the connections sponsors make with their sponsored friends to passing out Unbound materials, the team is excited to engage with people of all backgrounds.
At the Unbound booth in the expo hall, the team will share Unbound’s work and encourage attendees to participate in the giveaway for an Unbound Awareness Trip to Guatemala, which includes airfare. Following and sharing about Unbound on various social media platforms will generate entries into the drawing, and a lucky winner — who will get to see Unbound’s work firsthand — will be announced in coming weeks. The contest will spotlight those at the NCLR conference, but will be open to anyone on social media who would like to participate.
In addition to the booth and the trip giveaway, the Unbound team will also have the fun opportunity to meet with Unbound sponsors who live in the Orlando area. Local sponsors are invited to join them at the booth so the staff can hear about their experiences as sponsors and personally thank them.
Unbound is honored to be a part of this year’s NCLR conference. Learn more about Unbound’s work in Latin America by visiting our blog.
Learn more about the giveaway and enter to win the trip to Guatemala!
Taste of tradition
Nancy gets ready to enjoy a bowl of mukimo, a traditional Kenyan dish of mashed vegetables, which she makes for her family. Nancy’s 17-year-old son, David, is sponsored through Unbound.
By Karen Allemang, trip and volunteer manager for Unbound
As concerns grow about the spread and potential effects of the Zika virus, some of our sponsors have asked whether Unbound will cancel any of our planned trips to the field. Many of these sponsors are traveling with Unbound on an awareness trip and are excited to meet their sponsored friend for the first time.
I am happy to say that we have no plans to cancel any of our upcoming trips.
As part of our standard procedures, the awareness trip coordinators and I monitor current events that could impact travelers. Here is some of the key information we are reading from the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) regarding Zika virus:
- “Until more is known, CDC recommends special precautions for pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant.”
- “Pregnant women (should) consider postponing travel to any area where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.” Read more.
- A WHO committee advised on Feb. 1, 2016, “The Committee found no public health justification for restrictions on travel or trade to prevent the spread of Zika virus. At present, the most important protective measures are the control of mosquito populations and the prevention of mosquito bites in at-risk individuals, especially pregnant women.”
Regardless of what is or isn’t making headlines, we urge all our travelers to read the CDC’s Traveler’s Health page and speak with a medical professional regarding travel and their health. We provide information useful for that conversation such as the elevation of the areas they’ll visit and whether or not the lodging is air conditioned. We also require pregnant travelers to obtain medical clearance from their doctor in order to travel with us.
Many illnesses can be avoided by preventing mosquito bites. We refer travelers to the CDC’s Mosquito Bite Prevention PDF for guidance on preventing mosquito bites. A favorite prevention method of our team is using Permethrin to treat clothing as directed by the CDC.
Karen Allemang, trip and volunteer manager for Unbound
Meeting Antonio, you just know he’ll have something interesting to say.
At 74 years old, Antonio has been sponsored through Unbound’s program in Mexico for 10 years. Tending to his garden and raising chickens are some of his hobbies. He has a lot of life experience and leans toward the simple life. And that’s something many of us could learn from him.
Antonio grew up working in the fields and raising cattle. He never learned to read or write but speaks two languages, Mayan and Spanish. And although he lost his eyesight many years ago and now needs assistance getting around, Antonio continues to work alongside his wife, Leonida, as they harvest corn.
Antonio has graciously shared some of his wisdom with the Unbound staff so we could pass it on to you.
While some may think of Cancun, Mexico, as a popular tourist spot, others consider it home.
Ana and her family live in Cancun, and although she lives in a beautiful place, life there has been challenging. After her husband suffered a work-related injury he was unable to work for a long time.
“It was a hard time in our lives,” Ana said. “We did not have any income.”
Confidence, it seems, can be contagious. For Aracely, an Unbound scholarship student and sponsored youth, it has also been liberating.