Mary goes over a poem with her daughter, Veronica, who is sponsored through Unbound in Kenya.
Apr 22 2015

Mother and daughter poetry duo

Living in Kenya as a widow with six children hasn’t been easy for Mary. Aside from dealing with emotional loss and a lack of income, Mary and her children often faced disapproval.

“I have had to deal with negativity from the society that mistreats widows and single mothers,” Mary said. “I have had to overcome self-pity over my situation and that of my children — that has been the greatest challenge. Trusting in God and in a brighter future is what keeps me going.

“I am just grateful that Unbound stepped in when all my hope was lost,” she continued. “They sympathized with my situation and two of my children got sponsored. … I am also hopeful that with the help of the small mothers group loaning system I will be able to start up a livelihood business in the near future.”

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Archbishop Oscar Romero
Apr 20 2015

The beatification of Archbishop Oscar Romero


By Larry Livingston, senior writer/editor

On May 23, the Roman Catholic Church will formally beatify Oscar Romero, the Salvadoran archbishop who was murdered in 1980. In Catholic tradition, beatification is the last and most significant step before canonization, the official recognition of a person as a saint.

But while Romero has yet to be officially canonized, as far as the people of El Salvador are concerned, his sainthood has never been in doubt. Since his assassination in1980, they have revered him, in a very personal way, as their patron saint and a martyr for the cause of the poor.

Victor Mendez, a member of the accounting team in Unbound’s San Salvador office, understands and shares in the joy with his fellow Salvadorans as they prepare to celebrate Romero’s beatification. As a member of a generation that grew up hearing stories of the martyred archbishop — and one who now works with those living in poverty — he appreciates the significance of this event for his people.
Victor sees the formal recognition of Romero as a Salvadoran success story.

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Unbound's Outreach Volunteer team, from left: Claudia Vázquez-Puebla, Lydia Leffelman, Clair Paul, Laurel Harrold and Maureen Ortiz.
Apr 17 2015

Celebrating volunteers, Unbound style

Unbound's Outreach Volunteer team, from left: Claudia Vázquez-Puebla, Lydia Leffelman, Clair Paul, Laurel Harrold and Maureen Ortiz.

Unbound’s Outreach Volunteer team, from left: Claudia Vázquez-Puebla, Lydia Leffelman, Clair Paul, Laurel Harrold and Maureen Ortiz.


To celebrate National Volunteer Week, we checked in with Unbound’s Outreach Volunteer team. It’s their happy duty to support the efforts of volunteers who are willing to help find new sponsors in their local communities. The team calls these dedicated supporters “ambassadors,” and they are an invaluable part of Unbound’s outreach efforts.

Though the team spends much of their time finding volunteers to assist Unbound preachers at weekend church presentations, ambassadors contribute in a number of other creative ways as well.

Team member Clair Paul appreciates their devotion.

“I find the passion of our volunteers very inspiring,” she said. “It’s obvious they care so deeply for their sponsored friends and want their family and friends to have the experience they’ve had with Unbound.”

Read more about our volunteers!

Ines, 66, recites one of her poems for a group of visitors.
Apr 15 2015

An ode to Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month in the United States. To celebrate we asked sponsored friends if they had any poems they’d like to share. Ines, 66, is a sponsored elder in El Salvador. Despite leaving school after the sixth grade, she has an amazing talent for poetry.

Ines often performs poetry for awareness trip travelers and was glad to share her poetry, and its inspiration, with us.

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More than 1,500 sponsored children and youth participated in the 2015 Bob Hentzen Memorial Sports Day organized by Unbound staff in Hyderabad, India.
Apr 13 2015

The joy of 1,500 sponsored kids in India at play

Children and teenagers living in poverty don’t often get the chance to participate in organized sports. Participation fees and equipment costs add up, making sports a low priority for families struggling to afford basic necessities. So when Unbound staff in Hyderabad, India, organized the Bob Hentzen Memorial Sports Day, more than 1,500 kids sponsored through Unbound showed up for the event.

For Sarita Mendanha, program coordinator for Unbound in Hyderabad, the sports day is “extremely important to the India program because it builds team spirit, … [a] winning attitude [and] pride to carry away specially designed awards.” She also views the sports day as a way to build rapport between Unbound staff and the families they serve.

The day consisted of 15 different track and field events, such as tug of war, sack races, the traditional Indian game kho kho, shot put, discus throw and 100, 200, 400 and 800 meter dashes. Unbound staff had help from scholars and the participants’ mothers, and sports professionals were on hand to referee.

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Kenyan mothers from diverse faiths work together through Unbound mothers groups.
Apr 10 2015

Kenyans mourn while standing against violence


By Regina Mburu, communications liaison for Unbound in Africa

Editor’s note: There have been no reports of youth sponsored through Unbound being affected by the April 2 terror attack on Garissa University College in Kenya.

As the long Easter weekend approached, we were excited and busy making plans on how best to enjoy the holiday with loved ones.

Then we got the news that Garissa University College in the northeastern part of Kenya was under siege. The school is part of the Moi University system.

Terrorists had taken over the Garissa campus. With guns and knives, they took the young lives of 148 students.

Easter celebrations were dampened. The mood was somber as the whole nation was thrown into mourning. Our Kenyan flag, flying at half-mast, served as a symbol to honor the lost lives.

The news media reported that terrorists targeted students who were not of the Islamic faith. Tensions between Christians and Muslims heightened, even while leaders from both faiths condemned the attacks.

Unbound-Kenya serves beneficiaries from both Christian and Islamic religions. As a program, Unbound serves the two religions without favor. Members interact and live harmoniously with each other. Some have formed great friendships, thanks to the Unbound mothers groups.
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From left: Dora, Ana, Maria S., Maria Eva and Maria Y. are part of a mothers group through Unbound in Guatemala.
Apr 8 2015

Creating more choices for mothers in Guatemala

Mushrooms
Looking at this photo, you might see a work of art. A sculpture carefully crafted, textured and painted to convey a new meaning for each new angle it’s viewed from. Or maybe, and more accurately, you see a mushroom farm.

For Guatemalan mother Ana, this mound of chopped corncobs, corn husks and mushroom cultures represents another step toward economic self-sufficiency.

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Purity, 11, from Kenya.
Apr 6 2015

Help Purity find a sponsor

Purity’s morning routine in rural Kenya looks similar to that of many fourth graders in the U.S. — with a few important differences.

After her mom, Jane, wakes her at 6 a.m., Purity washes her face, gets dressed, eats breakfast, brushes her teeth and walks 15 minutes to school. But here’s where it’s a bit different.

The water Purity uses to wash her face and brush her teeth comes from an outdoor pump. Her mother makes breakfast over a wood fire. The home doesn’t have a latrine, and Purity has to go to a neighbor’s to use the bathroom.

“Digging a deep pit [latrine] costs money, which we do not have,” Jane shared. “… It has not been easy.”

Purity lives in a town about an hour outside Nairobi with her parents and three older brothers. Jane is a cook at a local school, and her husband sometimes gets jobs working on farms. Their combined income is only about $30 in a good month, and isn’t enough to support the family of six.

Covering school fees for Purity and her brothers is increasingly difficult. Their eldest son completed high school and would like to go on to college, but funds are too tight for him to do so.

Jane has seen the positive outcomes being part of the Unbound program has had for many of her neighbors, and hopes her family can experience the same. She knows sponsorship will help cover Purity’s school fees, making it possible for her to stay in school.

“I want Purity to have the best education,” Jane said. “I want her to study up to the highest level of education. I am sure with a good education, her future will be bright.”

Despite the hardships her family faces, Purity is still a very happy little girl. She enjoys school, where her favorite subject is science, she loves playing with her dogs and dreams of becoming a teacher someday so she can “teach children things that they do not know.”

When asked if she had a best friend at school, Purity said, “I do not have a best friend. I just have many friends who I play with. I like playing with everyone.”

Purity turned 11 yesterday. Make her birthday extra special this year by helping her get a sponsor.

Editor’s note: Since the publication of this post, Purity has been sponsored. Thank you for making her birthday special. Click here to view others still waiting for a sponsor.

Ashley in front of her home in Costa Rica.
Apr 3 2015

One step forward, never one backwards

Ashley in front of her home in Costa Rica.

Ashley in front of her home in Costa Rica.


“Do you feel poor?”

That’s how Henry Flores, director of the Unbound communications center in El Salvador, began his conversation with Ashley, a sponsored 15 year old from Costa Rica.

A difficult question to ask; an even tougher one to answer.

How could a teenager living in a poor community behind one of the largest shopping malls in the area, where she and her mother, Juana, can only see the walls that hide their reality from the beauty and fantasy of the department stores, answer a question like that?

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Rita, 24, from Kenya.
Apr 1 2015

Changing mindsets on educating girls

Rita, 24, from Kenya.

Rita, 24, from Kenya.

By Regina Mburu, communications liaison for Unbound in Africa

Twenty-four-year-old Rita recently graduated with a bachelor of arts in gender studies, sociology and political science from a renowned university in Kenya. She has worked hard to reach what she considers one of her greatest achievements, despite the many challenges she faced growing up.

Rita was born and raised in a remote area of central Kenya outside of Meru. Her father was polygamous, and her mother, Beatrice, was the third wife. She grew up with her 17 siblings. Rita’s mother worked as a teacher and her stepmothers were housewives.

In the traditional African setting, a man is allowed to take as many wives as he wants and sire as many children as he is able. A man’s worth was measured by the number of wives he had and the children borne to him.

“It was not easy growing up in a mixed family,” Rita said. “When my father passed on, life became unbearable.

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By Regina Mburu, communications liaison for Unbound in Africa Twenty-four-year-old Rita recently graduated with a bachelor of arts in gender studies, sociology and political science from a renowned university in Kenya. She has worked hard to reach what she considers one of her greatest achievements, despite the many challenges she faced growing up. Rita was born and raised in a […]

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