From left: Jorge, Cesar, Julio and Alicia stand next to the family’s food cart.
Life has not been easy for Alicia. Her father passed away when she was 7 years old, leaving her mother to raise four children. Within a year of her father’s death, Alicia and her 10-year-old brother entered the workforce to help support their two younger siblings.
“Life was hard for me,” Alicia shared. “I did not have time to be a child.”
Alicia grew up cleaning homes instead of attending school, and started her adult life with a very limited set of skills. Her husband, Julio, had a similar upbringing, and though he worked hard, found it difficult to provide for his family as a seasonal worker.
“Life was difficult because we did not have jobs, we didn’t even have the knowledge or skill to start a business,” Alicia said of herself and her husband.
Happy Valentine’s Day! Here’s one valentine for you and one you can give to a friend. Share this valentine with someone who would be a good sponsor. Pass the love along!
Maynor, 7, from Guatemala.
Happy Make a Friend Day! At Unbound, we’re all about creating meaningful relationships between sponsors and sponsored friends. To celebrate Make a Friend Day, we’d like to give Maynor the opportunity to make a new friend.
Maynor enjoys drawing and playing soccer. Maynor’s father earns an income by working in the cornfields as a day laborer, and Maynor likes helping his father in the field. Maynor, his parents and four siblings are living in a one-room adobe hut. It has a corrugated-tin roof and a dirt floor. His mother takes care of the domestic chores, and the family lives on the father’s earnings. The amount isn’t enough to meet their everyday needs. For Maynor, sponsorship would mean a better situation for his entire family.
Be Maynor’s friend today.
Editor’s note: Since this post was published, Maynor has found a sponsor. Click here to view others still waiting for a sponsor.
Rosa is a scholar from Guatemala studying to become a teacher.
Rosa and her mother outside their home in Guatemala.
Education is at the heart of everything Unbound does. For children in the Unbound community, education is a road out of poverty.
Unbound’s Education support helps students stay in school when it becomes financially impossible to continue. Small contributions can go a long way. What may seem like a minor obstacle may be the deciding factor between a student dropping out and staying in school.
Rosa, from Guatemala, faced a decision about dropping out shortly after entering middle school.
Sitting in her humble living room on old car seats covered in blankets, she recounted her story.
Daniel and Sophia, in Kenya, oppose FGM.
Daniel speaks proudly of his cultural heritage and passing it along to his children. There’s one tradition he and his wife won’t continue, though, in order to protect their daughters.
Female genital mutilation — also referred to as FGM or female circumcision — is a difficult subject to talk about in their culture, but the Kenyan couple agreed to speak with Unbound about their views.
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.
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.