Category: Colombia

An image of a nearly empty room in an apartment in Medellin.
Jul 15 2017

The cold of loneliness

Unbound staff member reflects on moving from El Salvador to Colombia

An image of a nearly empty room in an apartment in Medellin.

A room in Henry’s apartment in Medellin on one of his first nights there.


By Henry Flores, communications liaisons director

My family and I moved to Colombia, South America, from El Salvador about one year ago. We wanted to give our children a new international education experience and Unbound had an open position for a communications liaison in the country. It was a great opportunity for Unbound, my family and me.

I decided to come in advance of my family to make a path, find a place to live, get life organized, etc. While moving within one’s own country isn’t easy, it still allows for the same social, economic and cultural structure. Moving to another country is a completely different scenario.

When I moved to California, U.S.A., back in 1989, I arrived in a Salvadoran community. I had my relatives, Salvadoran restaurants, food, markets and traditions that were familiar to me. I felt part of my own culture and idiosyncrasy; I had a network. Here in Colombia, I’ve only met one Salvadoran in my new city of Medellin.

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An image of a sponsor and his sponsored friend in Colombia.
Jul 8 2017

Cast your net

A sponsor reflects on his trip to Colombia

An image of a sponsor and his sponsored friend in Colombia.

Sponsor Joseph Rivard (right) visits with his sponsored friend, 17-year-old Jan Sebastian, at Jan’s home in Colombia.


Unbound sponsor Joseph Rivard of Gulfport, Mississippi traveled to Colombia in May on an Unbound Awareness Trip. He joined Unbound as a sponsor less than a year before the trip, and sponsors three young men in Latin America. Joseph is a retired professor of psychology at Central Michigan University. He reflects on how the trip impacted his faith.

Like most Americans and others living in a “first-world” country, life is never perfect. Every Christian I know has a story to tell; stories that speak of the death of a loved one, sickness, stress in a career, family trouble, etc. Each of us, armed with faith, endeavor to overcome our own struggles. We journey through our lives doing the best we can to work through our own deficiencies while trying to understand and serve God in the midst of our confusing and sometimes tumultuous life journey.

When I left for Colombia in May, I knew this trip would be different from other mission-style trips I have made in the past. I knew it would be different, simply because God is always about things “now” and “new.” There were a lot of things in my life journey that could have justified not going on this trip, because life is that way — always filled with challenges and obstacles. Yet, whenever I quieted my worries, I was convinced in my heart that this trip was something God was calling me to do. He didn’t command me to go; God has never arbitrarily demanded things of me in that way. It was more of a gentle stirring and a pull on my heart that communicated invitation and opportunity.
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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.
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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.
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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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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.
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Florelia Delgado of Colombia was the first person sponsored through Unbound. She's pictured here in her home city of Bogota.
Nov 18 2016

Meeting the first sponsored child

Florelia Delgado of Colombia was the first person sponsored through Unbound. She's pictured here in her home city of Bogota.

Florelia Delgado of Colombia was the first person sponsored through Unbound. She’s pictured here in her home city of Bogota.

The following post includes reflections from Judith Bautista, coordinator of Unbound’s program in Bogota, Colombia, on meeting Florelia Delgado, the first person sponsored through Unbound. It also includes excerpts from an interview Judith and members of her team conducted with Florelia. The interview served as the basis for a story in our 35th anniversary edition of Living Unbound.

Her name evokes flowers. Florelia Delgado is a woman born in Bogota, Colombia. She’s intelligent, brave, creative, sweet and inspiring. She’s a mother, daughter, sister, friend and worker. But for Unbound, she also represents the beginning of sponsorship.

Florelia, almost 35 years ago, was selected to initiate a program that today has a presence in 20 countries, and has more than 310,000 sponsored around the world and more than 260,000 sponsors. She was the first person sponsored in the Unbound world, and her sponsors were Robert [Bob] Hentzen, the late co-founder of Unbound, and his wife, Cristina.

Being the 35th anniversary of the birth of Unbound, we in the Bogota project felt inspired and motivated to work on finding the first sponsored girl. We thought it would be lovely to be able to contact her, especially since the first project that opened was precisely in Bogota.

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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.
Sep 2 2016

Youth use music to better their worlds

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.

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.

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