Hortensia
Jan 26 2015

Help a 68-year-old woman achieve her dream

Hortensia

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

Sponsor a child
Jan 23 2015

Woman reconnects with past by sponsoring a child

Unbound awareness trip

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.”

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Anna and Fred
Jan 21 2015

Rising together

Fred and Anna

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.

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Martin Luther King, Jr.
Jan 19 2015

Let the work continue

Martin Luther King, Jr.

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.

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Sister Dinora and Sister Marta
Jan 16 2015

Called to do good

Sister Dinora and Sister Marta

Sister Dinora (left) and Sister Marta share their stories of compassion and commitment.


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 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

Elizabeth Alex
Jan 16 2015

Tea and hospitality in an Indian slum

Elizabeth Alex

Elizabeth Alex, second from left, visits the home of Kusma, whose son Alok is sponsored through Unbound in India.

By Elizabeth Alex, community outreach and media relations director for Unbound

You meet some of the nicest people in a slum.

I learned that lesson the moment Kusma welcomed me into her home — a tiny, two-room place packed into a congested street — with the sounds of motorcycles, car horns, cows, food carts and the chatter of children joining the smells of exhaust, cow dung, dust and curry just outside her door.

The “door” is actually a few cloths draped in front of the entrance. The roof is a piece of tarp attached by some sticks and rope.

I met Kusma at the Unbound office in Agra, where she helps her mothers group raise money sewing shoe covers for visitors to the Taj Mahal. She invited me to visit any time.
Read more about Elizabeth’s visit

How to Say Happy Birthday
Jan 7 2015

How to say ‘happy birthday’ in El Salvador

With 2015 officially here, there’s a whole year of birthdays ahead. To jazz up your birthday wishes throughout the year, watch this video of sponsored children from El Salvador teaching you how to say happy birthday in Spanish.

Make birthdays special for all sponsored friends by donating to the Birthday Fund.

Thomas and Francisca
Jan 5 2015

Sponsor, elder help each other ‘continue on’

Thomas and Francisca

Sponsor Tom Slattery greets his sponsored friend Francisca on an awareness trip to the Philippines.

Tom Slattery remembers the day he first saw a picture of Francisca, the elderly woman he sponsors in the Philippines.

He and his wife decided to sponsor someone after hearing a priest speak about Unbound at church one weekend. Tom’s wife, Nancy, chose a child. Tom picked Francisca after seeing her photo because “everybody was gravitating to the young people,” and he thought an older person would need support as well.

That was in 1996, when Francisca was 84. She’s 103 now.

“She is a beautiful human being,” Tom said. “She has meant a lot to me over the years, and to my wife.”

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sunflowers
Jan 2 2015

‘To the stars through difficulty’

sunflowers

By Alley Stonestreet, bilingual communications manager

There’s something about Unbound that has always puzzled me.

Not about how sponsorship works better when both parties involved write to each other. Not about where the money goes. Not about why this works. But why Kansas?

Don’t get me wrong, I love Kansas. Midwestern values, sunflowers, Jayhawks, BBQ — I love it all. But as the hub of an international organization that brings hope and empowerment to kids and elderly across the world? Probably would not have been my first thought.

I’m not the only one to ask this question. It seems like such an interesting location for the headquarters to be. Of all places in the country or the world, how did Kansas get in the mix? Other than the founders being from the area, how did Kansas become the right place for Unbound?

After a year of working here, it finally hit me: Kansas’ state motto, “Ad astra per aspera,” or “To the stars through difficulty.”

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Fireworks
Dec 31 2014

Try these New Year’s resolutions in 2015

Fireworks

New Year’s resolutions have been around for thousands of years, in some form or another. There are some modern classics, like losing weight or kicking a bad habit, but we have a few you might want to add to your list in 2015.

Check out the resolutions

New Year’s resolutions have been around for thousands of years, in some form or another. There are some modern classics, like losing weight or kicking a bad habit, but we have a few you might want to add to your list in 2015.

Around the world with Unbound