Shruthi is sponsored through Unbound’s program in Hyderabad, India.
Shruthi (left) and her siblings, Vinay and Sony, pose for a picture with their parents, Venkat and Shoba.
In 2010, the United Nations declared the first week in February as World Interfaith Harmony Week. For 2015, the focus is on promoting religious and inter-religious actions for sustainable development. At Unbound, we build relationships of mutual respect and support that bridge cultural, religious and economic divides. Shruthi and her family are just one example of this philosophy in action.
With bright eyes and a warm smile, 13-year-old Shruthi carries herself with confidence.
She’s had a sponsor through Unbound since she was in the second grade. She’s in ninth grade now.
“It was the happiest feeling, I remember, when I was told that there is another family far away who is sponsoring me,” she said. “I learned gradually what sponsorship is about.”
Today in the United States we celebrate mail carriers and thank them for their work. In honor of this day, we’d like to say thank you to all those in the U.S. and around the world who help deliver and send mail to and from sponsored friends. Because of you, relationships grow and friendships are formed. Thanks for all of your hard work!
To celebrate today, we’d like to give you a look behind the scenes at a letter’s journey from your sponsored friend. It all starts with a piece of paper and pencil …
Click here to follow the journey of a letter!
Shirisha, a sponsored child in India.
Regina Mburu, communications liaison for Unbound in Africa
Jospeter (left) with his mother, Pindise (right), and his younger siblings outside their home. Pindise is holding Evans in her arms.
By Regina Mburu, communications liaison for Unbound in Africa
Regina is from Kenya and works out of Unbound’s Nairobi office. She recently visited families served through Unbound’s Meru program in central Kenya. The region has experienced severe drought over the last several years, and a report from Kenya’s National Drought Management Authority estimates 1.5 million people are in need of immediate food assistance.
The drive to Kenya’s vast Tharaka-Nithi County, south of Meru, was marked by rough terrain. The ride was bumpy, and at times I had to hold on tight to my seat as the driver maneuvered around huge rocks on our path.
The sun was fierce, scorching the land. Beads of sweat rolled down my face as I looked through the car window, and all I could see were tracks of land covered in dust.
Myrna Cado and Loretta Kline wait in the rain for Pope Francis’ closing Mass to start. Myrna is a community leader and the mother of a sponsored child. She lost three of her children in 2000 after her home was swept away in a flash flood.
By Loretta Shea Kline, managing editor for Unbound
I witnessed generosity in abundance while in the Philippines for Pope Francis’ mid-January visit.
It was the kind of generosity in which people give, not from excess, but of themselves.
Pope Francis went to Tacloban to be with survivors of Typhoon Haiyan as another storm approached. I heard more than one person say how the gift of his presence gave them courage to face trials in their lives.
“He is one of us,” they said.
Diego, a sponsored youth and scholarship recipient in Costa Rica.
Diego faced many challenges when he decided to go to college and study teaching. Classes were far from home, and transportation costs as well as food and education fees began to add up. Although difficult, Diego stuck with it.
“I kept telling myself, ‘this is hard because it is worth it. It will be fruitful someday,'” Diego said.
Hortensia enjoys reading the Bible, and reads it every night before going to bed.
Horetensia lives in a small town to the west of Guatemala’s capital with her husband, Victor. At 68, she has a clear dream for her future.
“I dream of living my elder years with good health, and I dream of not having to work so hard anymore,” Horetensia said. Laughing, she added, “I no longer have the strength to work hard; it’s not that I turned lazy.”
Hortensia has been working hard all her life. She and her husband started their family in Guatemala City more than 40 years ago. He worked as an auto mechanic, and she had a small business selling tortillas. They had 10 children, though two of them passed away in infancy.
When Victor started having strokes, which made him lose the ability to walk for some time, the burden of supporting their large family fell solely on Hortensia.
Read more about Hortensia
From left: Maritza, Karla’s mother, Karla, Mercedes and Marlene Garcia de Ramirez, an Unbound social worker in El Salvador.
The people who sponsor through Unbound are a rather diverse group. Some sponsors are children still in grade school, while others have been retired for years. They represent an array of backgrounds, ethnicities, occupations and beliefs. And while the majority of our sponsors were born and raised in the United States, many were not.
Mercedes Lima has been a sponsor for 21 years. Though she has called Florida home for quite some time, she is originally from a small town in El Salvador.
“I grew up in a very poor place,” Mercedes said, “that’s why I understand the suffering and sadness when you don’t have an opportunity to move forward.”
Fred and his great-aunt, Anna, from Uganda.
“I knew without proper education, his life would turn out bleak,” Anna said of her grandnephew. “I had to do everything within my reach to help him go to school and learn.”
The 72-year-old Ugandan woman took over the care of Fred when he was just 8 months old after the untimely death of his parents. Fred’s mother was Anna’s niece, whom Anna also cared for. Growing up, Fred has always just referred to Anna as his grandmother.
Anna found herself in a position to help her extended family after the end of her 29-year marriage. Anna’s husband, a polygamist, banished her from his home because Anna did not bear him children. She moved in with her ailing brother who soon died, leaving his children and grandchildren, Fred among them, in her care.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking at the Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C., Aug. 28, 1963. National Archives photo no. 306-SSM-4D-107-8.
By Larry Livingston, senior writer/editor
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is properly associated with the U.S. civil rights movement of the mid-20th century. But like all great people, his witness transcends his times.
The heroism of Dr. King is found, as it is for other noble figures throughout history, in his commitment to speak truth to power. It is a simple virtue to understand but a most difficult one to live out. Those who do usually pay a price for it.
Though Dr. King did in fact pay the ultimate price for his commitment to naming injustice for what it was, the words he spoke live on. Nearly 50 years after his assassination, he continues to inspire those who strive to create a more just world.
By Alley Stonestreet, bilingual communications manager
Sister Dinora (left) and Sister Marta share their stories of compassion and commitment.
As an interpreter, I know the cardinal rules: don’t show emotion, use proper pronouns, don’t say “he said” or “she said,” always use “I.” It’s hard to remember when you’re interpreting on the spot, but important to keep the conversation directed to the right people.
One of the first rules they teach you is not to get caught up in the emotion of what you’re interpreting.
I broke that rule for the first time recently.
Find out why
By Alley Stonestreet, bilingual communications manager As an interpreter, I know the cardinal rules: don’t show emotion, use proper pronouns, don’t say “he said” or “she said,” always use “I.” It’s hard to remember when you’re interpreting on the spot, but important to keep the conversation directed to the right people. One of the first rules they teach you is […]