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.
By Melissa Velazquez, international evaluation and systems manager
A few years back, I sat with a group of local Unbound staff in our office in the Dominican Republic to talk about program evaluation. These individuals work day in and day out with limited resources to connect with sponsored individuals and their families, ensuring that initiatives and activities are moving forward in honest, sustainable and empowering ways.
They have a lot on their plate, and that day they had one question for me: “Why should we care about evaluation?”
When most girls her age were playing with dolls, Faith was wondering where she and her sister would get their next meal.
Faith was 7 when her father passed away. Three years later her mother grew ill and died, leaving Faith at 10 years old to care for herself and her younger sister.
For many U.S. college students, going home on the weekends to do laundry is a time-honored tradition. The time waiting between loads is a chance to catch up with family, friends and pets, or maybe doing some homework.
Twenty-year-old Roy is from a rural area of the Philippines and is studying education at a nearby university. He is sponsored through Unbound, which helps him meet the costs of attending college. Though he goes home every Friday, and laundry is involved, his weekends look a bit different than those of many U.S. students.
Roy’s weekends are filled with farming and doing other chores in order to earn a weekly income. He returns to school on Sunday afternoon, or sometimes very early in the morning on Monday, to attend class.
When it comes to doing laundry, Roy and his family rely on their surroundings. Their home is located at the base of a mountain. One of the mountain streams provides water and plenty of rocks for washing clothes.
Roy knows how to work hard and applies that to his studies as well as his weekend work. He hopes to be a teacher when he completes his education and is creating more opportunities for himself and his family through his studies.
Click here to support the higher education goals of students around the world.
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.
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.
Thinking of her childhood home, one thing stands out for Jéssica.
“We could see the stars at night,” she said.
That was only because the roof on her home was so bad she could see the sky through the holes.
Jéssica, now 24, lives with her parents and four siblings in Mexico. And she remembers finances were tight at home.
“I could not have things that I wanted and needed,” she explained. “I recycled notebooks, school supplies, school bags and anything I could for the following year.”
While her friends were out having fun, Jéssica could be found packing groceries at the local supermarket, earning $6 USD on a good day, to help her parents make ends meet. She was just 13.
But something changed six years ago.
David became her sponsor.