Tag: inspiration

Yami is a sponsored youth in El Salvador.
Sep 19 2016

No distance will keep her from school

Yami is a sponsored youth in El Salvador.

Yami is a sponsored youth in El Salvador.

For some Unbound families, there are more obstacles to receiving an education than just the cost. For 18-year-old Yami, it has been a struggle to complete her education because her family lives in a remote, mountainous village in El Salvador.

After finishing the 9th grade, Yami temporarily stopped attending school. The nearest high school is hours away, and the transportation cost and distance became too overwhelming for the family.

The trek to the highway is an hour walk or a 40-minute horseback ride. It goes along a deserted path and across a river. On top of all this, it’s not safe for Yami to travel alone, so her father, Jaime, accompanies her.

However, she is determined to finish school.

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Gustavo-FEATIMG
Sep 14 2016

Celebrating the cultures of the world every day

Gustavo Aybar, Unbound's Sponsor Services communication manager, performed a poetry reading at booth #Unbound908 of a poem titled "Solo of Hope" by Pedro Mir. He read, "… La esperanza es la esperanza de reanudar la juventud del pueblo", which means, "Hope is hope to renew the youth of the people."

Gustavo Aybar, Unbound’s Sponsor Services communication manager, performed a poetry reading at booth #Unbound908 of a poem titled “Solo of Hope” by Pedro Mir. He read, “… La esperanza es la esperanza de reanudar la juventud del pueblo”, which means, “Hope is hope to renew the youth of the people.”


By Gustavo Adolfo Aybar, Sponsor Services communication manager

As we move closer to the observance of National Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, I think of how I strive to honor my history, my culture. As a native Dominican, having lived most of my life in the United States and in large Latino communities, I never gave much thought to the annual celebration of Hispanic heritage, since how every day I was fully aware and living among my people.

I’ve lived in Los Angeles, New York and Miami Beach, and though I’ve been in the Midwest for nearly a quarter of my life now, my lifelong personal mission remains to better educate myself about the history and the complexities of what it means to be from the Dominican Republic. Both my B.A. and M.A. degrees resulted from this strong desire to gain more knowledge about the European (Spanish), African and Taino bloodlines that make up Dominicans, and in most of my pursuits, I search for contributions from underrepresented voices.

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Maria has been sponsored for five years and has a spirit of serving others — even when she's not feeling well, she does her best to care for her community members as a midwife.
Sep 12 2016

Elderly midwife makes the most of every day

Maria has been sponsored for five years and has a spirit of serving others — even when she's not feeling well, she does her best to care for her community members as a midwife.

Maria has been sponsored for five years and has a spirit of serving others — even when she’s not feeling well, she does her best to care for her community members as a midwife.


Maria is a calm and shy sponsored elder who loves to dance. She lives in El Salvador with her husband in an adobe home — surrounded by beautiful flowers and mango and avocado trees — with a dog, cat and even a few pet parrots. At age 80, she serves her community as a midwife and caretaker — a role she’s had for decades.

Maria joined the Unbound community in 2011, when she was sponsored by Gary from Missouri. The support from Unbound has been a great boost to her health and quality of life.

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Griselda plays wind instruments in a popular all-women's music group called Enclave. She listened to the group on the radio as a child and later fulfilled a dream of playing with them. She's now the group's youngest member.
Sep 2 2016

Youth use music to better their worlds

Griselda plays wind instruments in a popular all-women's music group called Enclave. She listened to the group on the radio as a child and later fulfilled a dream of playing with them. She's now the group's youngest member.

Griselda plays wind instruments in a popular all-women’s music group called Enclave. She listened to the group on the radio as a child and later fulfilled a dream of playing with them. She’s now the group’s youngest member.

From traditional folkloric music to hip-hop, sponsored friends around the world are practicing their favorite forms of music and using music to better their worlds and bring peace of mind.

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Competing for many years in Bolivia's Special Olympics in rhythmic gymnastics, Miriam lives her life to the fullest and encourages others to always be grateful.
Aug 29 2016

Special Olympics gymnast finds her rhythm

Competing for many years in Bolivia's Special Olympics in rhythmic gymnastics, Miriam lives her life to the fullest and encourages others to always be grateful.

Competing for many years in Bolivia’s Special Olympics in rhythmic gymnastics, Miriam lives her life to the fullest and encourages others to always be grateful.


Miriam is a 22-year-old sponsored youth in Bolivia — and a big medal winner in the Bolivian National Special Olympics.

Miriam has been sponsored by Dan and Maureen in Oregon since 2006. She has an intellectual disability that affects her speech and learning.

One day in 2008, she saw a video at school about rhythmic gymnastics.

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Sundarapandi lost his hands at age 10. He later went on to win numerous medals in the Indian Paralympics as a swimmer.
Aug 26 2016

Indian swimmer wins Paralympic gold

Sundarapandi lost his hands at age 10. He later went on to win numerous medals in the Indian Paralympics as a swimmer.

Sundarapandi lost his hands at age 10. He later went on to win numerous medals in the Indian Paralympics as a swimmer.

When Sundarapandi, an 18-year-old sponsored youth in India, lost his hands in an electrical accident at age 10, he never imagined he would someday become a decorated athlete.

Winning three gold and one bronze medal in the India National Paralympics in 2015, Sundarapandi has achieved far beyond what he ever could have dreamed.

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Usebio crosses a bridge on a walk through the mountains surrounding his community in Ecuador.
Aug 24 2016

Living a life of service

Usebio crosses a bridge on a walk through the mountains surrounding his community in Ecuador.

Usebio crosses a bridge on a walk through the mountains surrounding his community in Ecuador.


Usebio is a natural-born leader and offers up his own services to anyone who needs them.

Through his leadership, he helps others in his mountain community in Ecuador get ahead. And at 69, he’s had a lot of practice as a leader.

“I liked to lead and organize since I was little,” Usebio said. “When I was 9 years old, I started catechesis classes with the schoolchildren in my house. Also, when I was bigger, I organized young people to arrange festivals, dramas and social activities.”

His community is mostly made up of farmers, and there isn’t always enough work to go around.

“There are not many jobs here,” he said. “People collect sugar cane, guavas and grow cassava, potatoes, etc. During guavas season, people collect and sell them to people from the city. For example, we sell guavas at $1.50 per box. In a good day we can sell 10, but in a bad day we don’t even get $5.”

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Social worker Anibal Perez (right) visits with Angelica and Emerson, the mother and brother of sponsored child Ada in Guatemala.
Aug 17 2016

From sponsored members to staff members

Social worker Anibal Perez (right) visits with Angelica and Emerson, the mother and brother of sponsored child Ada in Guatemala.

Social worker Anibal Perez (right) visits with Angelica and Emerson, the mother and brother of sponsored child Ada in Guatemala. As a student, Anibal was sponsored and had a scholarship through Unbound. Because he comes from similar circumstances as the families in the program, he says, “I understand their struggle. …”


Former sponsored child and scholarship recipient Anibal Perez remembers how important support from the Unbound staff was growing up.

Now, in his role as a social worker with Unbound in Guatemala, Anibal works with 322 children and their families to support them and be part of their lives.

“I understand their struggle and can be sort of a role model for them,” he said.

Anibal credits his family, his sponsors (Dennis and Mary in Illinois) and the Unbound staff for making it possible for him to graduate from high school.

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Nancy gets ready to enjoy a bowl of mukimo, a traditional Kenyan dish of mashed vegetables, which she makes for her family. Nancy’s 17-year-old son, David, is sponsored through Unbound.
Jul 18 2016

Faces of triumph — photo essay

Nancy gets ready to enjoy a bowl of mukimo, a traditional Kenyan dish of mashed vegetables, which she makes for her family. Nancy’s 17-year-old son, David, is sponsored through Unbound.
Taste of tradition

Nancy gets ready to enjoy a bowl of mukimo, a traditional Kenyan dish of mashed vegetables, which she makes for her family. Nancy’s 17-year-old son, David, is sponsored through Unbound.

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Ismael Kwenga, a former sponsored member from Meru, Kenya.
Jun 20 2016

‘I look forward to going even further’

Ismael Kwenga, a former sponsored member from Meru, Kenya.

Ismael Kwenga, a former sponsored member from Meru, Kenya.

By Ismael Kwenga, a former sponsored member

When a sponsored member leaves the program, especially after completing their education, it marks a new chapter in their lives. Sometimes Unbound is part of that new chapter, like when a former sponsored member takes on a staff position, but other times their lives take a different path.

That’s why it’s always a great joy to hear from former sponsored members about what they are doing after leaving the program. We received the following letter from Ismael in Meru, Kenya, updating us about his future plans. He left the program last year after completing his college degree. And though he is no longer part of the Unbound program, his story is a testimony to the lasting impact sponsorship can have on someone’s life.

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