Randy, 23, is an alumnus of the Unbound program in the Philippines.
Randy outside the house he shared with five other family members.
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.
Rolando and his youngest daughter, Nataly, enjoy spending time together.
Rolando didn’t have a father growing up in Cartagena, Colombia. His dad died in a car crash when he was just a baby, and his mother died from diabetes when he was only 3 years old.
“I don’t recall much of my parents,” Rolando said, “but I remember my mother being a hard-working woman, and remember her selling fried food downtown. … The one thing I remember from her is the big love she gave us; that is something that I still have inside me.”
Jorge sitting in his favorite spot.
Jorge’s favorite spot is the hammock on his front porch.
“I spend the afternoon right here,” he said. “I read the Bible — I stay here until about 8 at night. We eat something, and we go to bed.”
Jorge is 68 years old and lives in Guatemala. Those relaxing afternoons in the hammock are much needed after his long mornings selling clothes in the marketplace.
Jorge and his wife, Reyna, wake up at 5 a.m. every day and try to sell clothes to provide for their daily needs. They may earn $4 or $5 on a good day, but many times they can’t sell anything, leaving them with no money for food or transportation home from the market.
Maria Elena (right) embraces her daughter Maria Angelica.
Maria Angelica has grown up around nurses and hospitals.
Born almost three months early, she spent much of her first four years in the hospital before being diagnosed with kidney failure and a tumor in her liver. Though the doctors were able to remove the tumor, Maria Angelica’s health continued to worsen. She needed a new kidney, but the waiting list was long and knowledge about organ donation was almost nonexistent in Bolivia in the late 90s.
“It is too difficult to find a donor,” said Maria Elena, Maria Angelica’s mother. “When they went to sign up my daughter, she was number 600 on that list. It is very difficult; there is no awareness to donate organs here.”
Salvadoran mother Maria with sons Diego (left) and Osacar (right), who is sponsored through Unbound.
Happy Mother’s Day from Unbound! As you get ready to celebrate your mom on Sunday, take a moment to check out all these amazing moms from around the world. They are overcoming great odds to give their children better futures.
And don’t forget to share your Mother’s Day photos with us on Monday. Post a photo on Instagram of your mom or a photo of you with your mom, tag @Unboundorg and use the hashtag #MotherMonday.
Alicia, from the Dominican Republic, is an Unbound scholar and mother of a sponsored child. She studies hard so she can get a better job to support her family.
Though Esteban, from El Salvador, may be taller than his mother, Lucely, he will always be her baby boy.
These Guatemalan mothers work together on livelihoods to earn money to support their families.
Widowed mom Nida with her five children at their home in the Philippines.
These moms in Peru are proud to be leaders in their community and speak out against violence in the home.
Bolivian mom Florencia and her three oldest kids in their urban garden.
Indian mom Maan Devi makes anklets and sells them to support her children.
Mary with her two youngest kids, Veronica and Elijah, who are sponsored through Unbound in Kenya.
Ulises with his mother, Marjorie.
Marjorie with her son Ulises at their home in Costa Rica.
Autism affects one in 68 children, and it’s one of the fastest growing developmental disorders in the last 20 years.
April is Autism Awareness Month — a month dedicated to educating the public about autism and helping to create a safer, happier world for those challenged by this disorder. Unbound sponsorship offers support to families around the world who are impacted by autism.
Ulises is a 22-year-old sponsored youth who has autism. He lives in Costa Rica with his mother, Marjorie, who takes care of him.
“My dream is that one day he would do things on his own, so he would be independent when I’m no longer with him,” Marjorie said.
Juan completes his homework using his new laptop computer.
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.
Dayanna, 8, from El Salvador.
Dayanna with her mother, Karla, and little sister, Genesis, inside their home.
There’s a lot to learn about Dayanna. She’s 8 years old, lives in El Salvador, likes the color pink and playing with her sister, and she has a cat named Lunasol.
Dayanna’s in second grade and her favorite subject in school is math.
“One day, the teacher assigned as homework to write all the numbers up to 300, but I wrote until 309,” Dayanna said.
Karla, Dayanna’s mom, wants to see both her daughters graduate, but the family’s situation makes providing an education difficult.
“We try to make an effort in sending Dayanna to school,” Karla said, “but education is something that is difficult for us [to afford]. My husband works, but it isn’t enough.
Keep reading to learn how you can help Dayanna
From left: Jorge, Cesar, Julio and Alicia stand next to the family’s food cart.
Life has not been easy for Alicia. Her father passed away when she was 7 years old, leaving her mother to raise four children. Within a year of her father’s death, Alicia and her 10-year-old brother entered the workforce to help support their two younger siblings.
“Life was hard for me,” Alicia shared. “I did not have time to be a child.”
Alicia grew up cleaning homes instead of attending school, and started her adult life with a very limited set of skills. Her husband, Julio, had a similar upbringing, and though he worked hard, found it difficult to provide for his family as a seasonal worker.
“Life was difficult because we did not have jobs, we didn’t even have the knowledge or skill to start a business,” Alicia said of herself and her husband.
Shruthi is sponsored through Unbound’s program in Hyderabad, India.
Shruthi (left) and her siblings, Vinay and Sony, pose for a picture with their parents, Venkat and Shoba.
In 2010, the United Nations declared the first week in February as World Interfaith Harmony Week. For 2015, the focus is on promoting religious and inter-religious actions for sustainable development. At Unbound, we build relationships of mutual respect and support that bridge cultural, religious and economic divides. Shruthi and her family are just one example of this philosophy in action.
With bright eyes and a warm smile, 13-year-old Shruthi carries herself with confidence.
She’s had a sponsor through Unbound since she was in the second grade. She’s in ninth grade now.
“It was the happiest feeling, I remember, when I was told that there is another family far away who is sponsoring me,” she said. “I learned gradually what sponsorship is about.”