Biko is a sweet Filipino dish made using glutinous, or sticky, rice.
Agriculture, especially rice, is the main source of income for many residents of the San Mateo, Rizal, area in the Philippines. And they don’t just harvest the rice — they also have many creative, and tasty, ways to serve it up.
TThe residents of San Mateo even have a celebration dedicated to rice and the many dishes made from it. The Kakanin Festival of San Mateo is on Sept. 9 each year, and coincides with the feast day of San Mateo’s patroness, Nuestra Señora de Aranzazu.
There are more than 1,000 children, youth and elders sponsored through Unbound in the San Mateo area, and each year many participate in the Kakanin Festival parade along with their families and Unbound staff members. After winning the title of Miss Barangay this year, sponsored youth Xena Mae rode in a float as one of the contestants to go on to the Miss San Mateo pageant. Though she wasn’t crowned Miss San Mateo, she was awarded for being the most eloquent of the contestants.
Maria (right) and her mom, Mirna.
Maria’s many things. She’s a daughter, a granddaughter and a big sister. She’s a sponsored youth, an Unbound scholar and a hard worker.
She’s also someone who knows an opportunity when she sees it.
Ana sells snacks from her food cart.
While some may think of Cancun, Mexico, as a popular tourist spot, others consider it home.
Ana and her family live in Cancun, and although she lives in a beautiful place, life there has been challenging. After her husband suffered a work-related injury he was unable to work for a long time.
“It was a hard time in our lives,” Ana said. “We did not have any income.”
Taking a break from baking, Johana shares a happy moment with her daughter, Juniesky, who is sponsored through Unbound.
Being released from the anxieties of poverty liberates people in more ways than one. It allows them to be more generous with those around them and gives them permission to dream big dreams.
That is how it was for Johana when her daughter, Juniesky, became sponsored through Unbound.
Julia with a pan of freshly baked bread.
Julia and her daughters, Maria (left) and Ondina (right), sell bread they made using a family recipe.
Julia learned the art of making bread from her mother-in-law. It’s a family tradition that has long been part of her husband’s family, and Julia is happy to keep it going. But for this Honduran family, baking bread isn’t just about keeping a tradition alive. It’s about moving the family forward in life.
Doña Jesus started raising turkeys about seven years ago to help support her family. It was right around the time her son Diego was sponsored through Unbound. When all of her turkeys got sick and died, she received lots of encouragement from the Unbound staff not to give up. She also got seven turkeys from Unbound to help her restart her business.
To say thank you for all the support and encouragement her family has received, Doña Jesus shared her recipe for turkey stew, which she makes for her family every Christmas.
Get Doña Jesus’ recipe
Marcelino prepares bola-bola on his food cart.
Food carts are part of everyday life in the Philippines, and one of the popular snacks offered is bola-bola. Bola-bola is made from fish that has been pounded into a paste, rolled into balls and fried. Customers skewer a piece from the vendor’s frying pan and dip the tasty treat in a sauce of their choice.
Marcelino owns one of these food carts and sells bola-bola. His daughter Jenny is sponsored through Unbound. Jenny’s sponsorship supplements the income Marcelino makes from farming and the food cart, helping the family meet their basic needs and build a path out of poverty.
Marcelino uses what he makes selling bola-bola to help pay his children’s school fees. His goal is to help his children get a good education and achieve their dreams.
Help support a family in need. Sponsor today!
Carlos and his mother, Wendy, make enchiladas to sell.
By Jordan Kimbrell, Unbound writer/editor
Poverty creates challenges that can thrust adult worries and responsibilities on children. That’s certainly true for sponsored child Carlos from El Salvador.
At just 11 years old, Carlos takes his role as the oldest child and older brother seriously, especially since his father left shortly after his younger brother, Byron, was born.
Carlos experienced the joy of becoming a big brother when his mom, Wendy, gave birth to Byron in 2008. Unfortunately, Byron was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, which meant he would need special care and medical treatment.
Yurani, an Unbound scholar from Colombia, demonstrates her skills in the kitchen.
By Jordan Kimbrell, Unbound writer/editor
Most mornings, Yurani walks alone to the bus that takes her to the local university, a short 15-minute ride away.
Though she walks alone, Yurani knows she has her family and the entire Unbound community beside her.
Before heading off to catch a bus, Yurani helps her younger brother, Daniel, make the bed. Some weekdays, she also helps her mother prepare lunch for the whole family.
For Yurani, cooking meals is one of her favorite chores, and it gives her good practice for her studies. Yurani is studying gastronomy, or the art and science of gourmet cuisine.
“When I was younger my dream was to be a chef,” Yurani said. “[Now] my dream is to have my own restaurant.”