By Pritha Hariharan, program director for Unbound’s international programs
Pritha, at the age of 13, dressed for her coming-of-age ceremony. According to Pritha, this photo was taken in a professional photographer’s studio, in front of a mirror so that the intricate braid work could be seen in the reflection.
In her role as program director at Unbound, Pritha visits sponsored child Antony at Antony’s home in India.
Picture this: a young girl of 13 fully decked out in a brand new sari. All the gold her family can afford hangs on her ears, around her neck, her wrists, her ankles and even her waist. She is the center of attention — all the ladies of the family and the neighborhood mill around her. Some bring gifts, others bring food, but everyone is congratulating her and her parents.
She isn’t quite sure why she’s been put in the spotlight, but she’s enjoying it for now. The male siblings are feeling left out, and for the first time in their lives they can’t figure out why the sister is getting all the attention.
Middle school graduation?
Luis outside the home he shares with his mom and sister in Bolivia.
Luis has spent his whole life in La Paz, Bolivia. And for 15 of his 26 years, he has been sponsored by Anna from Ohio. Being part of the Unbound program has had a big impact on his life, and the values he learned from the organization helped shape his desire to serve others through police work.
“I have this strong desire to serve, to provide a helping hand for others,” Luis said. “If I have a coin in my pocket and I see someone who needs it more, I give it to the person even though I know that I also need it. I think I’ve picked up this type of attitude at Unbound, the spirit of serving with no self-interest.
“Sponsors are great role models because they provide support for people like me just because their heart says, ‘They need it.’ … I think I joined the [police] academy with the hopes that this career could provide opportunities for me to help society.”
By Regina Mburu, communications liaison for Unbound in Africa
Veronica, whose daughter Rosemary is sponsored through Unbound, had to relocate after her rented home flooded. She received rent money and items for her new home as part of flood assistance from Unbound.
Veronica attempts to salvage her children’s textbooks from their flooded home.
Heavy rains pounded Nairobi, Kenya, in May of this year, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake.
Some families were rendered homeless while others lost their belongings. As they waited for the rains to stop, the corridors of a nearby school became their home once dusk fell.
Unfortunately, families served by Unbound in the small village of Rongai were among those affected.
“I would walk by what I used to call home and I could feel my knees get weak,” Jane, a mother of a child sponsored through Unbound, said. “I lost household belongings that I had worked so hard to buy.”
Yuda is a former sponsored youth from Uganda who has earned a master’s degree and is now a teacher. “My sponsor has played a big role in my life,” Yuda said. “The support, encouragement and financial help I have gotten made me reach my goals and dream.”
Education opens up opportunities in life, especially when entering the job market. And for a child living in poverty, a good education can become the means by which she lifts her family out of poverty. But education isn’t a guarantee for much of the world, and for many children it’s a luxury their family might not be able to afford.
In many of the countries where Unbound works, families are often required by the schools to pay for things like textbooks and cover additional fees, or families of school-age children view education as a low priority compared to other needs of the family.
In some families, children and youth may be expected to leave school at a young age so they can work to provide additional income or help take care of younger siblings. These families are faced with the decision of sacrificing their child’s education in favor of feeding the family and keeping a roof over their heads.
Regine (center) with her parents, Judith (left) and Reynald (right), who run an ice cream business. They prepare ice cream each day in a small area of their home in the Philippines and sell it in the community.
Judith (left) and Reynald (right) make their morning batch of ice cream — strawberry and mango!
This Sunday is National Ice Cream Day, and we’re celebrating by honoring an Unbound family who makes their living from ice cream! If you don’t already have a bowl of your favorite cold treat ready to enjoy, you will definitely be craving one after reading this.
Hugo and Maria with four of their children. Sons Jairo and Cesar (from left) are in the background, while the parents hold twin babies (from left) Ethan and Adler.
This is the last in a series of four stories about fathers of children sponsored through Unbound. We’ve been posting these leading up to the celebration of Father’s Day on June 19. Click here to watch the companion video.
Read Hugo’s story
Peter helps his daughter, Florence, with her homework. She is able to go to school because of her Unbound sponsorship.
This is the third in a series of four stories about fathers of children sponsored through Unbound. We’ll be posting these leading up to the celebration of Father’s Day on June 19. Click here to watch the companion video.
A water barrel belonging to a sponsored family in El Salvador.
By Henry Flores, director of the communications center in El Salvador
The more I learn about people living in poverty, the more I discover how expensive it is to be poor and how their fragile personal economy forces them to face high costs of living and social prejudice.
We all know that the less you earn the more expensive getting credit becomes. You have to pay more in interest for being a “risk” to the creditor, as earning less makes you a higher risk to default on your loan.
Something similar happens to poor people. Most of them don’t have a steady income, so they aren’t eligible for credit, and since they live off daily earnings, they can only make small payments daily. How do you conduct business in such a fragile economy? How do you make products and services available for people in such economic conditions?
Unbound sponsor Jude Fournier visits with the twin girls he sponsors, Faith and Elizabeth, and their mother Grace, on an awareness trip in Kenya.
Jude takes part in a group hug with Faith, Elizabeth and Grace.
By Regina Mburu, communications liaison for Unbound in Africa
On an Unbound awareness trip, a group of sponsors arrived in Meru, Kenya, early in the morning, eager to meet their sponsored children. With dances and ululations (shouts of joy) from the mothers, the sponsors were ushered in, anticipation written on their faces.
The usually calm man from New Mexico, Jude Fournier, was not so calm on this particular day. The sponsor of twin girls Elizabeth and Faith for four years, he excitedly paced back and forth, overwhelmed with the anticipation of seeing the two girls.
The moment he had been waiting for had finally arrived.
Rosa shows off some of her beautiful embroidery with daughter Susana.
Rosa in Mexico has worked hard her whole life to put food on the table for her family. Now, at age 74, she’s hoping for a sponsor to help her family eat healthier.