When Jorge joined the Unbound program nearly eight years ago he was just 11 years old. He and his family lived in a small town two hours outside of Monterrey, Mexico. The six family members lived in a home with only two rooms, one for sleeping and the other for everything else.
It’s 3 a.m. in northwestern Nicaragua, with sunrise still more than two hours away, and sisters Susana and Jazmin are already waking up. Together they grind corn they prepared the night before into flour. Their mother, Maria, starts a fire in their wood-burning stove. Then, while Jazmin showers and prepares for school, Susana helps Maria make tortillas.
The International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is Aug. 9, and we thought it was fitting to hear from a few sponsored youth from the Dumagat tribe, an indigenous community in the Philippines, about their heritage and hopes for the future.
Flor starts her day at 4 a.m. She wakes up, brushes her teeth and then grinds corn so her grandmother can make and sell tortillas. She then works as a nanny from 6 until around noon. After that she tries to spend some time with her family before she heads out again for her night classes from 6 until around 10. After class, she takes the bus home and gets ready for bed.
“That’s my daily routine,” she said. “That’s how my beautiful days are.”
Mark is a good student, finishing in the top three in his high school in the Philippines. But despite this accomplishment, going to college wasn’t a certainty. His parents’ medical issues meant the family budget was tighter than ever, and there just wasn’t anything extra to help pay for college fees.
Milestone moments don’t happen every day. For Jolly, a sponsored youth in the Philippines, graduating from college is one of his happiest memories. While most graduates walk toward the stage to get their degrees, Jolly was walking toward his mom.
“When my name was called by the host in our graduation, my mother was clapping her hands,” said Jolly, a sponsored youth living in the Philippines. “I was the one who got her hand and we walked together up the stage. She was the one who put the medal on my neck. I was so happy that moment,” he said.
Manish spent a good part of his childhood stationed outside the East Gate of India’s famed Taj Mahal.
By the age of 5 he was working long days peddling trinkets: bracelets, beads or cheap keychains.
Selling on the streets is dangerous work for little kids. They can become easy prey for thieves or victims of speeding cars and motorcycles.
But Manish had little choice. He is the youngest of seven. His father works, but doesn’t make enough money to feed every child in the family.
On a good day, Elizabeth earns $3.78 selling pastries she makes in the home she shares with 12 other family members.
That’s a good day. Sometimes, she makes less.
Education is considered a key step in a person’s journey out of poverty, but paying for higher education can also be one of the biggest challenges. It certainly was for Randy, a young man sponsored through Unbound in the Philippines since he was 8 years old.
That’s where Unbound’s scholarship program came in. Funded by donations for Education, the scholarship program enables students all over the world to pursue upper levels of education, such as high school, technical school or college, giving them the boost they need to achieve their dreams. We had the opportunity to interview Randy shortly before he graduated from college and learned how being part of the scholarship program impacted his life.