Category: South America

An image of Monica Gomez, Antioquia program coordinator, from Colombia.
Jun 7 2017

Q&A with Monica Gomez, Antioquia program coordinator

Colombian staffer gives insight into working with families

An image of Monica Gomez, Antioquia program coordinator, from Colombia.

Monica Gomez, Antioquia program coordinator, from Colombia.


When you have a personalized benefit program model the way Unbound does, it means each family gets a say in how their sponsorship resources are used. And because we have more than 300,000 sponsored members, it means that we don’t have just one program to fit everyone, but thousands of individual programs, each based on the needs of a sponsored child or elder.

To achieve this type of program, you have to have some very dedicated staff members who understand the communities they’re working with. Thankfully, Unbound has found many passionate, caring people to partner with families in creating positive change.

In Colombia, we’ve started implementing personalized benefits through child bank accounts, working with families to make their own budgets to help them achieve their goals. Antioquia program coordinator Monica Gomez offers insights into what it’s like working with families using a personalized benefit model.
Read the Q&A!

Image = The skytram or metro cable in Medellin, Colombia.
Jun 5 2017

10 impressions from 10 days in Colombia

Staff member reflects on her Unbound adventure


By Maureen Lunn, writer/editor

I’ve had the privilege of trotting around the globe quite a lot in my life thus far, and by my mid-30s had set foot on every continent except South America. (Well, and Antarctica. But that doesn’t really count, does it?) So when I had the opportunity recently to travel to Colombia with Unbound, I knew it was going to be a special journey. I was right.

A week in Medellin and four days in Cartagena provided some of the most exceptional cultural experiences I’ve ever had, some of the craziest views I’ve ever seen and some of the warmest people I’ve ever met. Here are 10 impressions that have really stuck with me from my 10 days in the country.

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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

Toby the dog.
Apr 10 2017

Pets of Unbound

Fuzzy faces bringing joy worldwide

Tomorrow, April 11, is National Pet Day. This annual celebration encourages adoption from local shelters and is also a good time to reflect on the benefits of having a pet. Not only can it teach children responsibility, but caring for a pet can also teach love, compassion and respect for nature. We’re celebrating by sharing some of the many wonderful photos we’ve received of sponsored members with pets and other animals.
Gloria, the mother of a sponsored child in Colombia, gives the family cat, Chepe, a big hug. Despite what some may think about cats, he does seem to be enjoying the attention.
Gloria, the mother of a sponsored child in Colombia, gives the family cat, Chepe, a big hug. Despite what some may think about cats, he does seem to be enjoying the attention.
See more photos!

A sponsored elder in Guatemala plays with two dogs.
Mar 15 2017

Sponsoring elders gives us wisdom and perspective

A sponsored elder in Guatemala plays with two dogs.

Esteban, a sponsored elder in Guatemala, enjoys playing with his dogs .

Over the past weeks we’ve heard phenomenal stories of Unbound sponsored elders and their wisdom, joy and love.

We learned about Cristina in Guatemala, who returned to school at age 59, and Julia in Bolivia, who embodies love in how she cares for her husband. Eusebio in Guatemala shared his wisdom about embracing life, while Eustaquia in Mexico provided a lesson in ingenuity and care for the earth. Finally, Maria in Guatemala described the hardships of her life and how she has overcome them through faith.

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A woman and her son in Colombia.
Mar 8 2017

Making Unbound her own

The story of a hardworking mom on International Women's Day

A woman and her son in Colombia.

Beatriz and her son, Juan Pablo, in their home in Cali, Colombia.

Sponsored children in Unbound’s programs make up the foundation of our global community, but it’s often their parents who are empowered by the benefits of sponsorship to make decisions for their family that foster growth out of poverty. That’s why you hear so many stories about mothers and fathers here on the blog.

Beatriz in Cali, Colombia, is the mother of 11-year-old Juan Pablo, who is sponsored by David in Arizona. She took some time to share her story about overcoming hardship with Henry Flores, our communications team member based in Colombia.
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Julia, a sponsored elder from Bolivia.
Feb 15 2017

For the love of God

Bolivian elder living out compassion and forgiveness

Julia and her husband, Dionicio, in their home in Bolivia.

Julia and her husband, Dionicio, in their home in Bolivia.

The experience of having been hurt by others is, sadly, not an uncommon part of the story of many elderly people who live in poverty. Being poor carries with it great vulnerability and it only increases with age.

Many endure their hurts with grace and even learn to forgive. Those who find it within themselves to not only forgive, but actually reach out in compassion to the people who’ve wronged them, inspire us.

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Enrique, a sponsored elder in Bolivia, stands in front of his home, which is made out of adobe.
Jan 20 2017

‘My work keeps me alive’

Bolivian elder finds joy in woodworking

Enrique, a sponsored elder in Bolivia, stands in front of his home, which is made out of adobe.

Enrique, a sponsored elder in Bolivia, stands in the entrance of his adobe home.

Every day, as the sun begins to rise in Bolivia, 69-year-old Enrique wakes up, eats an early breakfast and makes his way to his workshop where he cuts logs into smaller pieces — carving, sanding and drying the wood as spoons, bowls and cups take shape.

Sophisticated handiwork like Enrique’s can be challenging and time-consuming for anyone to learn. For him, woodworking was a natural fit. But it wasn’t Enrique’s first career.
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A young man in Colombia wearing a running shirt.
Jan 2 2017

A resolution to run

A young man from Colombia wearing a running shirt.

Brayan has lost 44 pounds since joining a running group in his community in Colombia. His newfound love for running has also helped boost his self-esteem and taught him valuable life lessons.

It’s a new year, and resolutions for health and happiness abound. A few years ago, Brayan from Colombia resolved to get healthy and lose weight, and he’s sure come a long way since.
Keep reading

Dec 12 2016

Dedicated to education and helping others

Brayan smiles as he does his homework because he likes to study and is proud of the good grades he gets.

Brayan smiles as he does his homework because he likes to study and is proud of the good grades he gets.

For Brayan, an 11-year-old boy in Bolivia, sponsorship through Unbound could not have come at a better time.

After his father left three years ago, Brayan and his family were in a tough situation. His mother, Lucretia, had to leave then 8-year-old Brayan at home with his older sister for long periods while she worked far away to pay off a bank loan. Fortunately, Brayan heard about Unbound from a friend at school who was sponsored.

“I told my mother and she was able to reach the office and talk to the coordinator,” Brayan said. “I have now been sponsored for three years. I had to wait for about a year to find a sponsor.”

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