Letters are an everyday part of the Unbound program — they’re the bridge that connects people throughout our world. Hundreds of thousands of letters from sponsored friends pass through our Kansas City headquarters each year on their way to sponsors. With all the correspondence that passes through our office, some letters still come as a surprise.
Sometimes, smarts just run in the family.
Juan, age 11, has been showing off his smarts for the past few years. He was recognized recently with an Education Excellence Award from Unbound in the Dominican Republic.
The Unbound staff in the Dominican Republic created the Education Excellence Award to recognize students who achieve grades with an average 80 percent or higher in every subject and get good reports on their behavior and overall participation.
Students who qualify are invited to a ceremony where they eat lunch, receive medals and watch artistic presentations. The student with the highest award wins a brand new laptop computer.
Yuda has always had a love of education, and was smart even as a young child.
His father, Maurice, is a primary school teacher in rural Uganda, and education was encouraged. Unfortunately, Maurice’s income as a teacher wasn’t always enough to cover school fees and other family needs.
As the fifth child among eight siblings, Yuda said, “[the] chances of me joining school were slim because of money problems.”
In Uganda, as in many other countries, students must pay fees to attend public school. If the fees aren’t paid, the child is refused schooling. This was the future facing Yuda and his siblings.
Education is at the heart of everything Unbound does. For children in the Unbound community, education is a road out of poverty.
Unbound’s Education support helps students stay in school when it becomes financially impossible to continue. Small contributions can go a long way. What may seem like a minor obstacle may be the deciding factor between a student dropping out and staying in school.
Rosa, from Guatemala, faced a decision about dropping out shortly after entering middle school.
Sitting in her humble living room on old car seats covered in blankets, she recounted her story.
Daniel speaks proudly of his cultural heritage and passing it along to his children. There’s one tradition he and his wife won’t continue, though, in order to protect their daughters.
Female genital mutilation — also referred to as FGM or female circumcision — is a difficult subject to talk about in their culture, but the Kenyan couple agreed to speak with Unbound about their views.
Diego faced many challenges when he decided to go to college and study teaching. Classes were far from home, and transportation costs as well as food and education fees began to add up. Although difficult, Diego stuck with it.
“I kept telling myself, ‘this is hard because it is worth it. It will be fruitful someday,'” Diego said.
By Barclay Martin, new channels coordinator for Unbound
Sitting in the home of Yollande and her mother, Jeanne, I was given a beautiful glimpse of human potential. In a place where homes are commonly assembled with humble and often salvaged materials, their home is simple, but stately. When I commented on how lovely it felt to be in their home, Jeanne replied, “We have built our life one step at a time, including this house.”
Yollande is 21 and has been raised alongside her siblings in their neighborhood on the outskirts of Antsirabe, Madagascar. Their neighborhood’s name translates to “No Place for Lazy People.”
Welcome to Tsiratrinikamo.
He stands straight and tall for his picture. Looking sharp in a buttoned-up shirt, he sports a shy but hopeful smile.
A sixth-grader in India, Shiva just arrived at the Unbound office from prayer. The white lines on his forehead are called tikka and are part of the Hindu prayer tradition.
Shiva plays cricket, a national pastime in India, he celebrates Diwali, the festival of lights, and he enjoys poetry in his native language, Hindi.
This delightful boy respectfully requests you sponsor him.
Shiva is one of three children supported by their dad, Gopi, who rides a bike selling tea door-to- door in India. Gopi works long days but doesn’t bring home enough income to provide for a family of five.
Shiva has a passion for school. Especially math and science.
“I like playing with magnets,” he said. “I can show you how the North Pole and South Pole attract.”
But the future of Shiva’s education is a stress for his mother, Laxmi.
“Financial problems are haunting us,” she says. “We are struggling with the education expenses.”
With help that a sponsorship brings, Shiva will remain in school. His parents will see some of their financial burden lifted. Shiva can continue to develop his love of learning and reach a goal of improving his English skills.
You can help this bright young boy reach his full potential.
Editor’s note: Since this was posted, Shiva had found a sponsor. Check our website for other children still waiting for sponsors.
by Alexandra Stonestreet, project manager for Unbound
In recent years, Honduras has become known for corruption, gang violence and drug trafficking. It holds the unfortunate distinction of being home to some of the worst statistics imaginable. Amid the poverty and mounting violence, a bright spot emerges.
His name is Fernando.
By Barclay Martin, new channels coordinator
I met Mamisoa at the Unbound-Madagascar central office while he was helping out with an event for aging members of the Unbound community. He’s studying earth sciences and wants to work to improve the water quality for people in Madagascar. He was introduced as one of the scholarship recipients. Unbound scholarships are funded by donations to Education. Luckily, I had a chance to pose some questions to Mamisoa.
Q. Why did you apply for an Unbound scholarship?