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.
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.
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. Keep reading
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.”
Through supports groups and livelihood programs, Unbound supports the hard-working parents of sponsored children around the world to help them develop their natural talents, so they can create sustainable sources of income to support their families and work their way out of poverty.
Griselda plays wind instruments in a popular all-women’s music group called Enclave. She listened to the group on the radio as a child and later fulfilled a dream of playing with them. She’s now the group’s youngest member.
From traditional folkloric music to hip-hop, sponsored friends around the world are practicing their favorite forms of music and using music to better their worlds and bring peace of mind.
Luis outside the home he shares with his mom and sister in Bolivia.
Luis has spent his whole life in La Paz, Bolivia. And for 15 of his 26 years, he has been sponsored by Anna from Ohio. Being part of the Unbound program has had a big impact on his life, and the values he learned from the organization helped shape his desire to serve others through police work.
“I have this strong desire to serve, to provide a helping hand for others,” Luis said. “If I have a coin in my pocket and I see someone who needs it more, I give it to the person even though I know that I also need it. I think I’ve picked up this type of attitude at Unbound, the spirit of serving with no self-interest.
“Sponsors are great role models because they provide support for people like me just because their heart says, ‘They need it.’ … I think I joined the [police] academy with the hopes that this career could provide opportunities for me to help society.”
Luisa stands outside the taxi she drives in Bolivia.
Yesterday, on Oct. 11, the world celebrated International Day of the Girl. The day was made official by the United Nations in 2011, and was created “to help galvanize worldwide enthusiasm for goals to better girls’ lives, providing an opportunity for them to show leadership and reach their full potential.”
Unbound celebrates girls and women on Oct. 11 and every other day of the year. We provide encouragement and support for moms through Unbound mothers groups. We provide loans to mothers so they can start start small businesses and we support girls and young women as they pursue and continue their educations.
Check out these stories from Unbound about girls and women building a better future for themselves, their families and their communities.