In an urban neighborhood in El Salvador, a little boy with a gapped-tooth smile named Rodrigo dreams of becoming a superhero.
But not so he can fly, become invisible or freeze his enemies.
He loves pretending he’s a superhero because every day he sees people who need one.
In a country where more than a third of the population lives in poverty, including Rodrigo, hungry bellies, leaky roofs and families struggling to send their kids to school and to get ahead are everyday realities.
“My dream is to be a superhero,” Rodrigo said. “To save and help people.”
As part of Indigenous People Month, the Dumagat community celebrated with traditional ceremonies, a parade and cultural presentations. The Dumagats take pride in their cultural identity and history, and enjoy sharing it with others.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving here in the United States. At Unbound, we have a lot to be thankful for, but our biggest thanks goes out to our sponsors, donors and supporters. Your efforts have changed lives around the world. Thank you from the entire Unbound community.
Parents are always seeking ways to teach their kids about giving back. And never more so than around the holidays. In this festive, but often wish-list-centric time of year, we need opportunities to remind ourselves about what it means to be grateful, to cherish what we have and to serve others.
Giving Tuesday is on Dec. 2 this year, and it’s is the perfect time for families to focus on giving back. Here are a few ideas for how your family can participate with Unbound this Giving Tuesday:
A home in southern India, similar to the home Pawn had before Unbound helped her build a new one.
Pawn stands outside her new home as it was under construction.
Funding for Homes helps repair leaky roofs and collapsing structures and make other improvements families couldn’t otherwise afford. And if enough people contribute just a small amount, together we can change someone’s life.
Sponsored elder Pawn, 76, and her daughter, Pala, 31, live in India. Their small home had mud walls and a thatched roof. They slept on thin mats on the floor, and there was no running water or latrine.
Martin Kraus (second from right), director of finance for Unbound, with his family
By Martin Kraus, director of finance for Unbound
“You must become the change you want to see.”
As I walked through the Mumbai airport in India, I couldn’t help but notice this quote on a huge banner hanging overhead. Most of us, whether from India or not, easily recognize this quote as being from Mahatma Gandhi, one of India’s most influential and respected leaders. What struck me are the many ways in which I am privileged to see Gandhi’s quote being put into action all over the world.
At Unbound, our sponsors take this quote to heart by taking action. Their sponsorship allows them to “become the change” that this world so badly needs, and in doing so, they make significant changes in the worlds of others. Recently, while performing an audit of Unbound’s office in Manila, Philippines, I met two beautiful examples.
For those compelled to think that people who live in poverty have nothing but their need to offer the world, I might begin by offering them the example of the extraordinary group, Migasy. This ensemble of musicians from the Unbound Madagascar community has developed a sophisticated sound with thoughtful messages. Messages that move humanity forward. These are engaged people who, amidst struggle, have committed themselves to creating works of art.
As they played song after song for us, I thought about the instruments that they played — some of them borrowed, some of them held together with rubber bands and plastic. These are the stories that don’t come through the music at first listen. They must be told. So should the very fact that they shared their music with us so others might have opportunity to go to school through Unbound scholarships. They were proud to do it.
As we recorded, the spirit in the room was of generosity. For each of the artists in Migasy, the desire to grow as musicians and offer something of substance moves them forward. For my part, I simply felt lucky to be in the presence of beautiful artists who had managed to do so much with so little.
It is the best of our human spirit set to music. It’s their gift to us.
Unbound co-founder Bob Hentzen with his sponsored friend Shaima on a 2013 awareness trip to the Philippines.
Bob and his wife, Cristina (left), pose for a photo with Shaima (center) and her family on an awareness trip to the Philippines in 2009.
On October 8, 2013, Unbound co-founder Bob Hentzen passed away. He was a true advocate for those struggling against poverty, and he touched the lives of many. Among those impacted was Shaima from Zamboanga, Philippines. She was one of Bob’s sponsored friends and built a relationship with him through letters.
After Bob’s passing, Shaima wrote a letter celebrating his role in her life. We’re sharing excerpts from her letter in honor of Bob on the anniversary of his passing.
Janelle Stamm, who works in accounting for Unbound, is an avid runner and cancer survivor.
By Janelle Stamm, accounting specialist for Unbound
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Janelle Stamm, who works at Unbound’s headquarters in Kansas City, shared her story of how focusing on gratitude and compassion helped her cope with cancer.
If someone told me in August 2013 that I’d run a half-marathon for Unbound in June of the next year, I would have believed them. It wasn’t outside the realm of possibilities. I’ve run two other half- marathons. Now, if someone were to tell me that I would have to deal with breast cancer before that run I would have said, “What??”
Recently our resident musician and new channels coordinator, Barclay Martin, traveled to Madagascar. While there he collaborated with members of the Unbound community to record songs that are unique to the Malagasy people. Through instrument and song, the Voices of Unbound: Madagascar CD tells a story that leaves the listener with a sense of the gifts, capacities and cultures of the people with whom we work.