Cecilia, Josefina and Walter.
Feb 24 2016

Chicken farm allows for more opportunities

Cecilia, Josefina and Walter.

Cecilia, Josefina and Walter.

Seven years ago, Walter’s family grew a whole lot bigger when they requested 12 baby chicks as part of their sponsorship benefit from Unbound.

Walter and Cecilia live in Guatemala with their five children, including their 13-year-old daughter Josefina, who is sponsored through Unbound. After learning about Unbound through their niece, who is also sponsored, Walter and Cecilia approached Unbound to see if Josefina was eligible for the program.

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Former sponsored member Alex in his home in Colombia.
Feb 22 2016

‘Don’t ever tell me that things are impossible’

Former sponsored member Alex in his home in Colombia.

Former sponsored member Alex in his home in Colombia.

Throughout his life, one of Alex’s biggest champions has been his grandfather Saniel. Growing up in Colombia, Alex was mostly raised by his grandfather, as his father left when he was still young and his mother works as a housemaid in a different city.

“My grandpa is the one who has always cared for me,” Alex said. “He has always been there for me. My mother works as a housemaid and we visit each other often. She comes here and I go there.”

Now 30, Alex learned a lot from Saniel. He learned how to overcome obstacles, about the importance of punctuality and encouraged Alex to take up sports. But most importantly, Saniel taught Alex not to let the fact that he was blind get in his way.

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The enclosure the family built to keep their pigs.
Feb 19 2016

Getting ahead through careful saving

Sarobidy helps take care of his family's farm animals.

Sarobidy helps take care of his family’s farm animals.

Just four years ago Sarobidy’s family was struggling to survive, living in a small wooden house in Madagascar on the little income his mother, Hasiniaina, made doing laundry and selling vegetables and firewood. His father, Léon, wasn’t able to find work.

Sarobidy attended an inexpensive local school, though the quality of the education wasn’t very good. Though the tuition only cost about $2.50 USD per month, the expense took a toll on the family’s budget.

“We were afraid to borrow money,” Hasiniaina said. “There were many times that we didn’t have food, but there was no one to help.”

Then in March of 2012, Sarobidy was sponsored through Unbound by Paul and Maureen from Ohio, and his family was able to start turning their situation around.

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Claudia Stapley, child move coordinator for Unbound
Feb 17 2016

What happens when a sponsored friend leaves the program

Claudia Stapley, child move coordinator for Unbound

Claudia Stapley, child move coordinator for Unbound

By Claudia Stapley, child move coordinator for Unbound

Claudia Stapley is a child move coordinator for Unbound and has been with Unbound for 10 years. When a sponsored member sends in a farewell letter, her team is in charge of processing the letter and contacting the sponsor to let them know their friend is leaving the program. For some this can be an emotional time, and Claudia and her team are there to offer care and understanding.

I’ve been writing to Gemmil in the Philippines since 2010. It’s exciting to hear from him and learn what’s happening in his family. His mom just had a baby this year, plus Gemmil’s in college studying to work on a ship and he tells me about the things he learns, like celestial navigation.

Even with all this excitement, there’s a little pit in my stomach because I know that soon — probably very soon — I’m going to receive a letter telling me that Gemmil is leaving the sponsorship program. I’m so happy for him to be graduating and starting to work. He’ll be able to help his parents and siblings and one day his own family, but I’m also a little sad that our relationship will come to a close.

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Tanzanian twins Clementina and Clecencia with some of their golf trophies.
Feb 15 2016

Twins in Tanzania excel in golf

Tanzanian twins Clementina and Clecencia with some of their golf trophies.

Tanzanian twins Clementina and Clecencia with some of their golf trophies.

On the golf course, twin sisters Clementina and Clecencia from Tanzania rely on hard work and determination to stay on par with their peers.

“People believe that the game of golf is for the rich only, but that is not true,” Clementina said. “We are not rich, but we are good players.”

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Children in the Philippines make a heart with their hands.
Feb 10 2016

Embracing the gift of mercy

Children in the Philippines make a heart with their hands.

By Larry Livingston, senior writer

In Catholic tradition, a holy year is a time of special prayer, pilgrimage and grace. They normally occur every 25 years, but there can be exceptions for special occasions.

2016 is one of those exceptional years, with Pope Francis proclaiming this The Holy Year of Mercy. During this time, the pope has invited not only Catholics but all people of goodwill to enter into deeper reflection on the concept of mercy.

So let’s reflect a bit, through the lens of Unbound.

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Simon proudly displays some of his art.
Feb 8 2016

“I can only go further”

Simon proudly displays some of his art.

Simon proudly displays some of his art.


By Regina Mburu, communications liaison for Unbound in Africa

Regina Mburu, the communications liaison for Unbound in Africa, recently visited sponsored friends and families served through our Kampala, Uganda office. One of the young men she interviewed is 24-year-old Simon, a sponsored youth currently pursuing his higher education goals.

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Suyapa, a former sponsored child, now works as a nurse.
Feb 5 2016

Where are they now: Suyapa

Suyapa, a former sponsored child, now works as a nurse.

Suyapa, a former sponsored child, now works as a nurse.

Growing up in Honduras, former sponsored child, Suyapa, saw the need in her community. She witnessed this in the struggles her mother and family faced.

Growing up, conditions were difficult for Suyapa and her family.

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Karen Allemang, trip and volunteer manager for Unbound, on an awareness trip in Guatemala.
Feb 3 2016

Zika and traveling with Unbound

Karen Allemang, trip and volunteer manager for Unbound, on an awareness trip in Guatemala.

Karen Allemang, trip and volunteer manager for Unbound, on an awareness trip in Guatemala.

By Karen Allemang, trip and volunteer manager for Unbound

As concerns grow about the spread and potential effects of the Zika virus, some of our sponsors have asked whether Unbound will cancel any of our planned trips to the field. Many of these sponsors are traveling with Unbound on an awareness trip and are excited to meet their sponsored friend for the first time.

I am happy to say that we have no plans to cancel any of our upcoming trips.

As part of our standard procedures, the awareness trip coordinators and I monitor current events that could impact travelers. Here is some of the key information we are reading from the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) regarding Zika virus:

  • “Until more is known, CDC recommends special precautions for pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant.”
  • “Pregnant women (should) consider postponing travel to any area where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.” Read more.
  • A WHO committee advised on Feb. 1, 2016, “The Committee found no public health justification for restrictions on travel or trade to prevent the spread of Zika virus. At present, the most important protective measures are the control of mosquito populations and the prevention of mosquito bites in at-risk individuals, especially pregnant women.”

Regardless of what is or isn’t making headlines, we urge all our travelers to read the CDC’s Traveler’s Health page and speak with a medical professional regarding travel and their health. We provide information useful for that conversation such as the elevation of the areas they’ll visit and whether or not the lodging is air conditioned. We also require pregnant travelers to obtain medical clearance from their doctor in order to travel with us.

Many illnesses can be avoided by preventing mosquito bites. We refer travelers to the CDC’s Mosquito Bite Prevention PDF for guidance on preventing mosquito bites. A favorite prevention method of our team is using Permethrin to treat clothing as directed by the CDC.

If you have questions or would like more information about the trips Unbound offers, please visit unbound.org/trips or email trips@unbound.org.

Thank you!

Karen Allemang, trip and volunteer manager for Unbound

By Karen Allemang, trip and volunteer manager for Unbound As concerns grow about the spread and potential effects of the Zika virus, some of our sponsors have asked whether Unbound will cancel any of our planned trips to the field. Many of these sponsors are traveling with Unbound on an awareness trip and are excited to meet their sponsored friend […]

Around the world with Unbound