Category: Region

Image = Jeanalyn works on a costume in the costume shop at Gloria de Dapitan.
May 26 2017

Working in a fantasyland

Filipina mom creates fantastical costumes

Image = Jeanalyn works on a costume in the costume shop at Gloria de Dapitan.

Jeanalyn works on a costume in the costume shop at Gloria de Dapitan.


Often, when people think of the island of Mindanao in the Philippines, they think of news headlines about separatist groups and violence. And while these are issues residents have to deal with, there is also plenty of joy to be found on the Philippines’ southernmost island.

Jeanalyn is helping add to the joy. The 44-year-old mother of three works at one of the most famous theme parks in the Philippines: Gloria de Dapitan (Gloria’s Fantasyland). The park is about seven hours northeast of Zamboanga, where Unbound’s main program office for Mindanao is located. Jeanlyn’s oldest daughter, Jeanrose,11, is sponsored by John and Mary from Georgia.

If you were to visit the theme park, you wouldn’t meet Jeanalyn as you walk its pathways, but you’d see her creations being worn by performers. As head of the costume department, Jeanalyn is allowed to let her creativity shine.


“My job here is really to sew the costumes of the performers for the show,” she said. “They just give me the skits and looks from the web [for inspiration], and I’ll be the one to think of the way to make it — which fabric to use, accessories to use and the linings to make it elegant to look at. Costumes of fairies, animals, dwarfs, even magicians and dancers, that’s what I do.”

Jeanalyn learned how to sew from her grandmother and has been sewing since she was 15-years-old. Her husband, Roseller, used to be a farmer, but has since learned how to sew from Jeanalyn and now works with her in the costume shop. With the daily wear on the costumes, she needs the additional help to keep them in good shape, as creating new ones takes time.

“It takes just one day [to make] if the costume is not that complicated, but if it is complicated and they need five or more pieces of it, it will take two to three days to finish it,” Jeanalyn said.

Jeanalyn would like to open her own shop someday, but for now she’s grateful for her job and the help she receives from her daughter’s sponsors, which made it possible for her to stay close to her family instead of taking a job abroad.

“There’s a lot of work offered for me abroad, but I didn’t accept it. I don’t want to be far from my family,” Jeanalyn said. “Thank you to the sponsor of my daughter and to Unbound because you’ve been a great help for us.”

Help a family in need. Sponsor today.

Image = Emma with her sons, Jekim and Mark, and her husband, Danilo.
May 24 2017

Living Unbound: It’s difficult to overcome poverty without backup


By Loretta Shea Kline, managing editor for Unbound

One reason it’s hard for families in poverty to get ahead is the lack of a financial cushion.

An illness, a natural disaster or a job loss can mean starting over when you have little or no savings. That vulnerability is something Unbound helps families address with support from sponsorship.

Our programs around the world help families build their capacity for personal and economic growth. Local staff works with families to set goals and make plans to achieve them. The aim is for families to be able to meet their basic needs through a combination of income they earn, access to capital and sponsorship benefits.

A key component on the path to self-sufficiency is savings.
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Image = Ronaldo takes his sheep out to graze in a field near his home.
May 17 2017

Living Unbound: Choosing wisely and well

Image = Ronaldo takes his sheep out to graze in a field near his home.

Ronaldo takes his sheep out to graze in a field near his home. He has raised livestock since he was first sponsored in 2006.


Ronaldo is an 18-year-old sponsored youth who lives with his parents and five siblings in Guatemala. He’s an impressive young man with wisdom beyond his years, and he learned early on one of life’s most valuable lessons about economics.

“Saving is very hard because we always need the money,” he said, “but spending it can be very easy. You have to really think about how you will spend your money and spend it right.”

Ronaldo thinks a lot about “spending it right,” and that farsightedness has guided him ever since he first became sponsored in 2006. (His current sponsor is Michael from Arkansas.) It led Ronaldo to choose livestock as a sponsorship benefit, a choice he’s never regretted.
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Modesta, a mother of nine in Guatemala, offers wisdom on raising a large family.
May 12 2017

Learning from the wisdom of mothers

Wise words from a mom of nine

Modesta, a mother of nine in Guatemala, offers wisdom on raising a large family.

Modesta, a mother of nine in Guatemala, offers wisdom on raising a large family.


As moms, we all have moments when we question ourselves and our motherhood. Are we doing it right? Are we doing what’s best for our children?

Let these wise, loving words from a mom in Guatemala encourage you this Mother’s Day.

Modesta is a mother of nine children ranging in age from 14 to 34. She lives in Guatemala, where both she and her husband work to support their large family.

“Children are the joy of this home,” Modesta said. “I would lie if I’d said that it´s easy. It´s not easy. My husband is out most of the time because of work. His pay is not able to cover everything. I must work in the fields harvesting corn.
Keep reading

Image = A workbook provided by Unbound offices in Colombia has space for families to record their goals and how they plan to use their sponsorship benefits to meet those goals.
May 10 2017

Living Unbound: Working toward the future

Child accounts give families flexibility to reach their goals

Image = A workbook provided by Unbound offices in Colombia has space for families to record their goals and how they plan to use their sponsorship benefits to meet those goals.

A workbook provided by Unbound offices in Colombia has space for families to record their goals and how they plan to use their sponsorship benefits to meet those goals.


Ever wants to be a soccer player and get a college degree.

Ana Maria is studying technology in industrial processes.

Gloria’s son Juan wants to be an engineer.

Maria wants to improve her dressmaking business and help her son realize his dream of being a fireman.

They all have unique goals for themselves and their families. And because they’re part of the Unbound program in Colombia, they receive their benefits via child accounts, which gives them flexibility in using the funds to achieve their goals.
Keep reading

May 5 2017

‘We check on each other’

The value of mothers helping mothers

“We are all family,” said Annet, a mother who chairs an Unbound parents group in Uganda. “We keep check of each other.”

It’s not a stretch to say that without this community care, 10-year-old sponsored child Jonah’s life might have turned out differently.

The families Unbound works with around the world face significant challenges in creating a better future for their children.

Keep reading

Fred is a sponsored elder in Uganda who used his sponsorship benefits to purchase a water pump to help care for his livestock.
May 3 2017

Living Unbound: Stories of empowerment

Publication, blog series to explore how families use benefits

Fred, a sponsored elder in Uganda, uses his new water pump to spray his cow. He used his sponsorship benefits to purchase the pump, which helps him care for his livestock.

Fred, a sponsored elder in Uganda, uses his new water pump to spray his cow. He used his sponsorship benefits to purchase the pump, which helps him care for his livestock.

Many things set Unbound apart.

We’re the only major U.S.-based organization that offers sponsorship for elders. The communities we work with have created a small group model that provides support and accountability for the parents of sponsored children. We consistently achieve top ratings from charity evaluators, with more than 92 percent of our expenses going to program support. All of these things are supported by one of the most unique aspects of our program — highly personalized benefits.

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Apr 28 2017

Mothers invest in their children and community

Image = Emiliana and her daughter, Kenia, outside their home in Guatemala.

Emiliana and her daughter, Kenia, outside their home in Guatemala.

Mother’s Day is a special time for Unbound. It gives us an opportunity to celebrate the mothers in our lives and in our Unbound community.

Mothers are at the heart of the Unbound program. To put it simply, we believe in the wisdom of mothers. And honoring that wisdom is a key principle of how we operate.

In the countries where we work, mothers are most often the primary caregivers of their children. They work tirelessly to provide for their children the best opportunities for a happy, healthy life.

In a community in Guatemala, one expression of this care is a monthly neighborhood cleanup.

“We decided to do monthly cleanup activities because we wanted to have a nicer environment and we wanted to teach our children the importance of a clean community,” said mom Emiliana, whose 14-year-old daughter, Kenia, is sponsored through Unbound.

Emiliana leads an Unbound mothers group, in which 12 to 15 mothers of sponsored children gather monthly to discuss issues in their community, pray together and talk about their involvement in Unbound. She also serves as coordinator for the three additional mothers groups in her community.

The mothers work together to invest in their community and their children.

Each of the four mothers groups in Emiliana’s community clean a different area every month. They clean up roads, the town square, around the church and in neighborhoods. For communities where trash collection is haphazard, these cleanups significantly improve the health and beauty of the neighborhoods where the families live.

Image = Mothers in one Guatemalan community work together to improve their environment while mentoring their children.

Mothers in one Guatemalan community work together to improve their environment while mentoring their children.

But the cleanups aren’t just about neighborhood beautification.

These efforts are a way for the mothers to spend time with their children and model for them what it looks like to proactively invest in your community.

Emiliana says the activities have helped strengthen the bonds between mother and child and have been a great way for mothers to mentor teamwork and environmental consciousness in their children.

“I am happy because we are getting positive comments from our neighbors,” Emiliana said. “I think we are not only mentoring our kids, but also the rest of our community.”

As we prepare to celebrate Mother’s Day, we recognize the multitude of ways that mothers around the world invest in their children and communities. Their hard work, dedication and unrelenting service and sacrifice inspire us. We’re thankful to partner with innovative moms the world over who are working every day for a better future.

Visit unbound.org/moms to learn more about how we invest in mothers.

Ingrid (left), a sponsored youth in Guatemala, displays her high school diploma with her mother, Rosalinda, in front of their home.
Apr 26 2017

Inspired by a young woman’s wisdom

Staffer experiences essence of Unbound on Guatemala trip

Ingrid (left), a sponsored youth in Guatemala, displays her high school diploma with her mother, Rosalinda, in front of their home.

Ingrid (left), a sponsored youth in Guatemala, displays her high school diploma with her mother, Rosalinda, in front of their home.

By Stacy King, lead trip coordinator

As a member of the Unbound trips team, I’ve had the honor of traveling with sponsors and coworkers abroad, and meeting some awesome sponsored families. Many of the families have shared their beautiful and inspirational life stories, and hearing them never grows old. But every once in a while, a story will connect and touch my heart in a special way.

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Apr 24 2017

‘Unbound gave me hope’

Kenyan youth's poetry inspired by school, sponsorship

April is poetry month, and what better way to celebrate than by sharing a poem written by someone sponsored through Unbound?

Brigit is a 15-year-old sponsored youth from Kenya. She’s been reciting poems in school since first grade, which helped her develop an interest in writing her own poetry. Once sponsored, her poems were often inspired by Unbound.

“The support from the program has enabled me to see life differently, with a great meaning, thanks to Unbound,” Brigit said.

Brigit’s been sponsored by Karleen from Indiana since 2012. She wrote the following Unbound-inspired poem when she was just 13 years old.

Keep reading