An image of a little girl in Colombia and her sponsor.
Aug 2 2017

The fruits of an expanded worldview

Your weekly reflection from Unbound

An image of a little girl in Colombia and her sponsor.

Every week we offer a prayerful reflection from a member of the Unbound community. This week our reflection was written by Senior Writer Larry Livingston.

One of the graces of the Unbound program is the path it opens for sponsors and their sponsored friends to get to know one another. Through the exchange of letters and, for some, meeting in person on awareness trips, members of our community are blessed to learn the realities of others living in circumstances very different from their own.

This expanded worldview helps us understand our differences, but it also leads to a deeper awareness of all we have in common. It helps us realize that the things that separate us — like race, religion, language or culture — need not be obstacles if we see others with respect instead of apprehension.

Unbound was founded on the belief that all human beings share a common kinship as children of God, and that each of us is imbued with a sacred dignity. Our desire is to help people better appreciate that dignity — within others and within themselves. In so doing, we help the world grow closer to becoming what God created it to be.

An expanded worldview is one of the characteristics that distinguishes the Unbound program. Learn more.

Please pray

God of life, you desire that all your children live together in peace. Help us break down the walls of fear and mistrust that drive people apart, and build bridges of understanding that benefit all. In whatever we do, may love for our brothers and sisters guide us. We ask this in your holy name. Amen.

An image of Unbound Program Coodinator Vincent Murmu.
Jul 31 2017

Exchange Trip to Africa 2017

Indian coordinators' reflections from Africa, part 3


Recently three of our program coordinators from India traveled to Kenya and Uganda to see how the Unbound program works in those countries. They had the opportunity to learn from their African coworkers and to experience the realities of families in Kenya and Uganda compared to India. This final reflection is from Vincent Murmu, the program coordinator for our Dumka office in India.

It is indeed exciting to visit the Unbound family on another continent. I, along with Seema,the coordinator in Chennai, and Selvaraj, the coordinator in Bhagalpur, and under the able leadership of our project director Amanda Heter from Unbound Kansas, had the wonderful opportunity to visit two Unbound projects in East Africa – Nairobi, Kenya and Kampala,Uganda.

It is like a dream come true landing on another continent. My eyes were fully opened with curiosity and excitement.
Read more!

An image of Unbound staff taking notes.
Jul 29 2017

Key learning points

Indian coordinators' reflections from Africa, part 2

An image of Unbound staff taking notes.

Selvaraj takes notes as Nairobi program evaluation team presents on how they conduct program evaluations at their office.


Recently three of our program coordinators from India traveled to Kenya and Uganda to see how the Unbound program works in those countries. They had the opportunity to learn from their African coworkers and to experience what poverty looks like in Kenya and Uganda compared to India. This second reflection is from Selvaraj P., the program coordinator for our Bhagalpur office in India.

Nairobi:

First of all, I congratulate the Nairobi Team for their cordial welcome and family spirit. The Nairobi team is composed of knowledge and experience, and they are excellent teachers and possess great communication skill. The love and excitement they bring to the program is a treat to watch and emulate. Team spirit, program focus, talent recognition, people centered policies and excellent leadership at the top level are some of the keys to their success. It is a team on the move with great attitude and commitment. Keep up the good work you do for the poor!
Read more!

An image of a young man walking down a dirt road.
Jul 26 2017

Fighting a modern form of slavery

Your weekly reflection from Unbound

An image of a young man walking down a dirt road.
Every week we offer a prayerful reflection from a member of the Unbound community. This week our reflection was written by Outreach Volunteer Coordinator Clair Paul.

Consider what it would feel like to constantly worry about your child or spouse as they journey to and from work in the fields. Think about the anguish a family would experience if a child disappeared.

These are the realities that millions of families the world over face due to the threat of human trafficking. According to the International Labor Organization, there are an estimated 21 million victims of forced labor around the world. Almost a third of these are children, who, along with women, make up 71 percent of those trapped in this modern form of slavery.

Since 2010, the United Nations has been actively working to engage governments around the world in the fight against human trafficking. July 30 has been established as World Day against Trafficking in Persons, a time to focus on raising awareness of the crime and promote protecting the rights of those affected.

Unbound is working to protect the families in our program through education and awareness, and by fostering stronger local communities that make members less susceptible to outside exploitation. We are grateful to our sponsors who help provide the children they support with a safer, more secure future.

Click here to read more about human trafficking and what Unbound is doing to fight it.

Please Pray:

Lord, thank you for the blessings you provide that we are able to share with others. We pray we will one day live in a world where innocent people are not victimized by human trafficking. Give us the courage to stand up for those who cannot protect themselves, and be with those who live in fear of exploitation. We ask this in your name. Amen.

An image of Indian and Ugandan Unbound staff members.
Jul 24 2017

My observations from visiting Nairobi and Kampala

Indian coordinators' reflections from Africa, part 1

An image of Indian and Ugandan Unbound staff members.

Seema, center, takes a picture with her fellow Indian coordinators and staff members from Uganda.


Recently three of our program coordinators from India traveled to Kenya and Uganda to see how the Unbound program works in those countries. They had the opportunity to learn from their African coworkers and to experience what poverty looks like in Kenya and Uganda compared to India. This first reflection is from Seema Mohan Kumar, the program coordinator for our Chennai office in India.

“It is not sufficient simply to have an experience in order to learn. Without reflecting upon this experience, it may quickly be forgotten, or its learning potential lost. It is from the feelings and thoughts emerging from this reflection that generalisations or concepts can be generated. And it is generalisations that allow new situations to be tackled effectively.” — Graham Gibbs

I’ve taken a lot of positivity from this experience and a lot of learning too. Nairobi and Uganda was not what I had expected, and though we had to strictly take yellow fever shots, not all the places are filled with mosquitoes. The two African countries I’ve visited have been full of happiness. I have gained some life experience. Now I have changed more and I had to take the long road to re-examine my view of my community. Education in Kenya and Uganda was noticeably taken very seriously and it’s the key for their future.
Keep reading

An image of upturned hands.
Jul 22 2017

The resilience of the Venezuelan people

A letter from our program coordinator in Venezuela

An image of upturned hands.
Updated August 3, 2017

You may have seen news reports on the increasingly volatile situation in Venezuela over the past several months. Unbound is helping the families we serve there get through skyrocketing inflation, widespread food shortages and large-scale protests that have been occurring on a near daily basis. The Unbound program in Venezuela is located in Barquisimeto, where we serve more than 3,400 families.

Staff and families there face daily hardship caused by unrest and economic instability, such as lack of food, transportation or electricity. Teams in our headquarters in Kansas City and in nearby Colombia and Bolivia are doing their best to support the staff in Barquisimeto, who are working tirelessly to ensure sponsored members continue to receive benefits and support.

Eliezer J. Lobo R., Unbound’s general coordinator in Venezuela, recently wrote a letter addressed to those who sponsor children and elders in his country. He provided an update on how the situation there is affecting our sponsored members and their families, and how the families and our staff are innovating and adapting within the current reality. Because we know others have concerns about the situation in Venezuela, we’re sharing the letter here as well.

As we see over and over, despite the challenges, the families we work with are full of hope. They envision a better future for their children and for themselves. Unbound is there to partner with these families as they work to achieve their dreams, and we’re there to support them through their struggles.

We ask that you keep these families, and all the people of Venezuela, in your thoughts and prayers.
Read Eliezer’s letter

Jul 19 2017

Casting our nets and opening our hearts

Your weekly reflection from Unbound

An image of a boat on a shore.
Every week we offer a prayerful reflection from a member of the Unbound community. This week’s reflection was written by writer/editor Maureen Lunn.

In May I had the opportunity to travel to Colombia on an awareness trip with a group of Unbound sponsors. One of them was Joseph Rivard, a retired psychology professor who signed up for the trip less than a year after beginning to sponsor a youth through Unbound.

Joseph wrote a reflection about his experience on the trip, and we posted it on the Unbound blog last week. He wrote about the time Jesus asked Simon to cast his nets in the deep, even though Simon had gone all night without catching any fish. When Simon did what Christ asked of him, he pulled in a catch so massive that it nearly sunk the boat. Joseph wrote:

“To [our] natural and human concerns, we need only witness what happened when Simon let go into the deep. His nets became full, and his heart was overwhelmed.”

Joseph’s reflection got me thinking about my own life and where I withhold my “nets.” Where am I holding on too tightly to my own expectations and attachments? Where am I missing out on opportunities to give to others, whether financially, with time or words of encouragement?

I think of Joseph and the other sponsors I traveled with in Colombia; all of them were my elders. They let go of their comforts of life at home and traveled to a foreign place with a group of strangers. What a way to cast your net, and what a way to be blessed in return!

I also think of the Unbound families we met in Colombia, for whom being sponsored is, at first, unfamiliar, yet they cast their nets deep and wide in community and opportunity.

Among my greatest inspirations from the trip to Colombia were my co-travelers and the families served by Unbound. They taught me a lot about what it means to let go, take a risk and let your heart be overwhelmed.

Read Joseph’s reflection, “Cast your net.”

Please pray

Lord Jesus Christ, you empower us to let go of our attachments in mind and body and open our lives to your blessings. Illumine the areas of our lives where we should cast our nets. From sponsored friends to our own family members to strangers we meet, put people in our path that teach us what it means to open our hearts and minds to receive your love. Amen.

An image of a girl in traditional Guatemalan clothing riding a bike.
Jul 17 2017

This is what makes Unbound different

An image of a girl in traditional Guatemalan clothing riding a bike.

Sponsored child Merlyn, 12, enjoys riding her bike in the streets around her home in Guatemala. Merlyn’s parents, like others in the Unbound program, have a voice in choosing the benefits that best serve their family’s needs.


The stories in our recent issue of Living Unbound are about the innovative ways that your sponsorship helps people around the world, delivering personalized benefits that give families the means to lift themselves out of poverty.

What you may not see is how exceptional these solutions are. Unbound is leading the way toward a new kind of service. The programs that you support look first to the wisdom and the creativity of the people we all serve. Conditional cash transfers help families take charge of their own lives. Parent groups provide opportunities for members to take microloans to start businesses and change whole communities.

And these methods work. Contrary to the myth that giving people money makes them lazy, research around the world shows that conditional cash transfers like the ones Unbound employs have positive long-term impacts. Children stay in school longer, their overall educational and health outcomes improve and they grow up to get better jobs.

Together, you and the rest of the Unbound community of sponsors provide opportunity.
Keep reading

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.

Keep reading

An image of a brother and sister giving each other a hug.
Jul 12 2017

In search of empathy

Your weekly reflection from Unbound

An image of a brother and sister giving each other a hug.
Every week we offer a prayerful reflection from a member of the Unbound community. This week’s reflection was written by writer/editor Jordan Kimbrell.

As a child, I remember being able to tell when an adult was upset. I didn’t always understand why, but I could tell there was something going on. My solution? To go up to the adults and tell them they looked like they needed a hug — and then give them one. I figured that if getting a hug made me feel better, it would probably make others feel better too.
Read more

Every week we offer a prayerful reflection from a member of the Unbound community. This week’s reflection was written by writer/editor Jordan Kimbrell. As a child, I remember being able to tell when an adult was upset. I didn’t always understand why, but I could tell there was something going on. My solution? To go up to the adults and […]

Around the world with Unbound