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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
By Regina Mburu, communications liaison for Unbound in Africa
Regina Mburu is based out of our Nairobi office. On one of her recent visits with Unbound sponsored members for stories and photographs, she experienced the natural ability of children to warm one’s spirit, even on a bad day. Read Regina’s reflection and let your heart be warmed by the very smiles that made her day.
Just like the dark clouds hanging over Nairobi on the cold, breezy morning, my heart was gloomy. I hadn’t been feeling well and wasn’t up for the photo shoot of Unbound sponsored children I had scheduled for that day. Little did I know that the experience would put a big smile on my face.
Headed into the school for students with special needs, I wasn’t sure what to expect and was concerned that the children may not want their pictures taken. But the moment I stepped in, my worry vanished. The children came happily running toward me with open arms. I felt a sudden warmth of love rush over me.
One little girl would not leave my side and held my hand tightly as we moved around the classroom. In her eyes, I could see genuine love, happiness and a warm spirit — all of it contagious. I had one of the most enjoyable photo shoots with these children that I’ve ever had. Their joy bubbled over and rubbed off on me, and I was left with blue skies in my heart.
Sponsored children Collins, Martin, Elizabeth, Florence and Caroline in Nairobi, Kenya, eagerly display their schoolwork.
Caroline, Peter, Stephen and Elizabeth in Nairobi, Kenya, take a break from their studies for a photo.
Bring more smiles to kids like these. Sponsor today.
An Unbound sponsor stands just outside a bamboo door of a small dwelling in a village in the central Philippines. She has traveled thousands of miles to be there after months of anticipation. Her sponsored child and his parents wait just inside the small house, smiling their welcome.
Feeling excited and nervous, the sponsor steps through the door and into the home, somehow knowing that her world is about to be forever changed.
On Dec. 8, Pope Francis stood outside an ancient set of doors in St. Peter’s Basilica, surrounded by hundreds of people. Performing a ritual dating back to the 14th century, the pope solemnly pushed the ornate doors open and walked through, officially inaugurating the Holy Year of Mercy.