By John Fredy Arango, Unbound staff member in Medellin, Colombia
The Colombian government has been in conflict with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the country’s largest guerrilla movement, since the 1960s, as well as other armed groups. More than 50 years of violence has had an impact on people from all parts of the country. Unbound staff member John Fredy Arango reflects on the recent evolution of the conflict.
I was barely in my mother’s womb when the echoes of war were already shaking my body. I was born and grew up, I became a young man and I heard those sounds of war again, but this time they were stronger. I saw how they were numbing the hopes and neutralizing the dreams of those around me.
Jim and Ellen Storey have been Unbound sponsors for 19 years. They sponsor four children in Colombia, where they recently visited on an Unbound Awareness Trip. Jim took some time to describe his experience with Unbound.
Read Jim’s insightful trip reflection.
Jacqueline Castiblanco Suarez, who was sponsored through Unbound from the time she was a young girl until she began a career in social work, and Judith Bautista, Unbound’s coordinator in Bogota, Colombia, know a lot about what goes into a good letter. They shared their expertise and gave several tips for writing a letter to your sponsored friend.
The Earth is a truly amazing place, from deserts to rain forests and ice-capped mountains. Check out these photos from some of the countries where Unbound works and immerse yourself in the sites seen by sponsored friends around the world.
See more photos
Some of the sweetest things in life are born out of adversity.
When Franceny’s father passed away when she was a little girl, she and her mother, Olga, moved from their home in another part of Colombia to Medellin, Colombia, to live with her grandparents.
Olga had to improvise to feed her family after her husband’s sudden death. She learned to make desserts and began selling them in her neighborhood and to bakeries.
In Valparaiso, Chile, there might be a lot of stairs to climb to get home …
… But there’s also a spectacular view.
Over the last decade Unbound has been shifting more and more of the decision-making power into the hands of the families we serve. We believe that families know best what they need and when, so creating a program that is personalized to each family just made sense.
As part of that shift, our local staff have focused on providing guidance to the families on making budgets and goals for how they want to utilize their sponsorship benefits.
Personal program goals put into action a belief in the decision-making power of individual sponsored members. For this reason, goal setting and goal orientation are an important part of living out many other Unbound program characteristics. A personal goal is simply a specific dream about how someone’s life or situation will be in the future. A goal could be related to someone’s future career, education, health status or economic situation.
Staff members from our office in Antioquia, Colombia, came together to share the process they went through when transitioning to the method of using personal program goals.
Colombia has a long history of violence between government forces and militant groups. But increasingly there seems to be hope of a more lasting peace between the Farc rebels and the government, with the possibility that a deal could be signed later this month and the implementation overseen by the UN, according to the BBC. Though peace may be close, the decades-long conflict has created a huge impact, especially for families like Martha’s.
Martha and her family are originally from Antioquia, Colombia, and are part of a large number of internally displaced people.
Throughout his life, one of Alex’s biggest champions has been his grandfather Saniel. Growing up in Colombia, Alex was mostly raised by his grandfather, as his father left when he was still young and his mother works as a housemaid in a different city.
“My grandpa is the one who has always cared for me,” Alex said. “He has always been there for me. My mother works as a housemaid and we visit each other often. She comes here and I go there.”
Now 30, Alex learned a lot from Saniel. He learned how to overcome obstacles, about the importance of punctuality and encouraged Alex to take up sports. But most importantly, Saniel taught Alex not to let the fact that he was blind get in his way.