By Paul Pearce, director of global strategy for Unbound
Empowerment is a driving principle of the Unbound program and looks different in each of our families. So we need a nimble set of program activities, benefits and services to adapt to each family situation.
In a recent evaluation conducted with Filipino and Guatemalan youth, empowerment was seen as the attainment of education and having a good character or set of values to navigate the world. In one study, the ability to even imagine goals was described as a significant outcome.
Although the map says it’s not far from the Unbound coordinating office, it takes nearly two hours to reach the dusty Manchay region outside of Lima, Peru.
The community is situated on a steep hill, and when the wind picks up the dust swirls in a fury.
Several women begin to gather outside a small office and their bright red vests stand out as the group gets larger. Stitched prominently on the back of each vest are the words, “Defensora de la Familia,” or “Defender of the Family.”
Families who are part of the Unbound sponsorship program are often found at the frontlines of creating positive change in their own communities. And one such example exists in Ecuador.
Deborah is a single mother of three children living in Tanzania. She’s struggling to provide for her family, and she and her children are living with her uncle’s family until she’s able to get back on her feet. She sells mandazi, which is a snack made out of wheat flour, but the money she makes isn’t enough.
Two of her children are 6-year-old twins Jackson and Jackline. Because of the family’s financial situation, Jackline is part of the sponsorship program, but Jackson still needs a sponsor.
“My children look up to me to provide for them,” Deborah said. “I feel like a failure when I am not able to meet their various needs. It is not easy being a single mother with no source of income.”
Deborah hopes for a better life for her children, and her hope lies in the chance for a quality education for them.
The twins already have their own unique personalities and are different in many ways. Jackline likes to play ukuti, a singing game, with her friend, while Jackson likes more physically active games.
“My best friend is called Goodluck,” Jackson said. “We play many games together like hide-and-seek, football and running.”
The family has chickens, and the twins feed and take care of the animals as part of their household chores.
Jackson and Jackline are going to school and learning to read and write. They both want to become teachers when they grow up.
A sponsor for Jackson would mean the chance for him to continue in school and fulfill his dreams.
Editor’s note: Since this was posted, Jackson has found a sponsor. Click here to view other kids waiting for a sponsor.
Olga is a sponsored elder who is the mother of 10 grown children. She has 46 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. That’s a lot of names to remember and a lot of love to spread around. She experienced many challenges throughout her life in Honduras, but she remains positive and an inspiration to many.
It all started with a workshop at Unbound.
That’s what Teresa, a mother from Guatemala said about the shampoo and detergent business she created with three other mothers from her community. It also got started thanks to the determination of these mothers to provide for their families.