A water barrel belonging to a sponsored family in El Salvador.
By Henry Flores, director of the communications center in El Salvador
The more I learn about people living in poverty, the more I discover how expensive it is to be poor and how their fragile personal economy forces them to face high costs of living and social prejudice.
We all know that the less you earn the more expensive getting credit becomes. You have to pay more in interest for being a “risk” to the creditor, as earning less makes you a higher risk to default on your loan.
Something similar happens to poor people. Most of them don’t have a steady income, so they aren’t eligible for credit, and since they live off daily earnings, they can only make small payments daily. How do you conduct business in such a fragile economy? How do you make products and services available for people in such economic conditions?
Unbound sponsor Jude Fournier visits with the twin girls he sponsors, Faith and Elizabeth, and their mother Grace, on an awareness trip in Kenya.
Jude takes part in a group hug with Faith, Elizabeth and Grace.
By Regina Mburu, communications liaison for Unbound in Africa
On an Unbound awareness trip, a group of sponsors arrived in Meru, Kenya, early in the morning, eager to meet their sponsored children. With dances and ululations (shouts of joy) from the mothers, the sponsors were ushered in, anticipation written on their faces.
The usually calm man from New Mexico, Jude Fournier, was not so calm on this particular day. The sponsor of twin girls Elizabeth and Faith for four years, he excitedly paced back and forth, overwhelmed with the anticipation of seeing the two girls.
The moment he had been waiting for had finally arrived.
Luis Cocón, communications liaison for Unbound in Guatemala, laughs with sponsored children while taking a break from a photo shoot.
Around the world, Unbound communications liaisons and correspondents are hard at work collecting inspiring stories of sponsored children and elders to share through Unbound publications, blog posts, social media and other channels.
In Guatemala, communications liaison Luis Cocón works with 16 correspondents in three countries (Mexico, Guatemala and Bolivia). He utilizes Skype and webinars to hold training meetings with new correspondents.
Staff members learn how to identify stories, collect information and conduct interviews. He also teaches photography skills, from the technical aspects of camera function to composing an image.
But most importantly, Luis always starts his training with the “why” behind his work with Unbound. He believes the voiceless need to be heard and desires to create connections for those willing to listen.
Rosa shows off some of her beautiful embroidery with daughter Susana.
Rosa in Mexico has worked hard her whole life to put food on the table for her family. Now, at age 74, she’s hoping for a sponsor to help her family eat healthier.
Sponsored child Cindy from Guatemala reads a letter from her sponsor.
An interruption in Guatemala’s postal services has delayed the delivery of letters to children and elders sponsored through Unbound.
Mail services in Guatemala halted May 18 as the company that operates those services attempted to negotiate a new contract with the Guatemalan government, local news agencies reported.
Sponsors should expect delays in their letters reaching children and elders even after mail service resumes, since Unbound offices will have a backlog of letters to process.
The disruption in mail service will not affect the delivery of letters from sponsored children and elders in Guatemala to their sponsors, however, since Unbound uses a private delivery service for correspondence sent to the U.S.
We encourage sponsors, especially at this time, to communicate with their sponsored friends in Guatemala using our convenient eLetter option. Visit unbound.org/eletter to learn more.
Tristan John Cabrera, communications liaison for Unbound in the Philippines, visits the Cagsawa Ruins near Mt. Mayon, Philippines.
By Tristan John Cabrera, communications liaison in the Philippines
Unbound in the Philippines has five offices and more than 50,000 sponsored members, including children, youth and elders. As communications liaison for the Philippines, I cover stories from the region through text, photos, audio and video. To be able to effectively cover the whole region, a correspondent network was created. It’s composed of sponsored students and Unbound scholarship holders who have an interest in writing and photography. They receive basic training in journalism and photography, and I encourage them to submit story ideas that could inspire the Unbound community.
Ana Alicia, 68, is a sponsored elder in El Salvador.
If you were to ask Ana Alicia what drives her, at age 68, to stay as active as she is, she would probably tell you it’s the desire to help others.
“My secret for a long life,” she said, “is to pray, to get on my knees and pray to God to grant me life and health to help people.”
Sponsored elder Rosa (left) and Ellen Edgar, project specialist for Unbound, at Rosa’s home in Chile.
Ellen Edgar, who works in international programs for Unbound, shares the story of Rosa, a sponsored elder who shows us what it means to be resilient.
Read Ellen’s reflection
By Regina Mburu, communications liaison for Africa
Regina Mburu, communications liaison for Unbound in Africa, takes photos on an awareness trip in Kenya.
Everyone has a story to tell, a story that needs to be heard.
As an Unbound communications liaison for Africa, I listen and document people’s stories with words, photos and video clips to share with the Unbound community through publications, the blog, social media and other platforms.
Sundari uses her flour mill to help support her family.
When Sundari’s son Adarsh was sponsored through Unbound’s office in Hyderabad, India, things were difficult for the family. Not only are Sundari and her husband, Marreddy, responsible for taking care of their two children, but they also take care of their grandparents and Sundari’s aunt.
Marreddy is a farmer, but only has two acres of land with which to support all seven members of the family. Sundari is a housewife, and when her son was sponsored in 2004, she didn’t have any means of earning an income.
Now 18, Adarsh was sponsored by Cleaton and Corda from Louisiana, who remained his sponsors until he left the program last year when he starting working. Adarsh wasn’t the only one in the family who benefited from being part of Unbound. Through the program, Sundari had the opportunity to join a local support mothers group (SMG) called Pragathi Mahila Sangam, which means Women’s Progress Group.