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.
Brothers Ever (left) and Marvin with their mother, Mercedes.
Creativity can help you accomplish your dreams, but the ambition to follow your dreams can take you even further. For Salvadoran brothers Ever and Marvin, the drive to chase their dreams runs in the family.
Gaby spends part of her volunteer time with Unbound in the correspondence department in El Salvador.
Many obstacles keep children living in poverty from reaching their full potential.
Gaby was raised by a single mother in a rural region of El Salvador, so the odds were already against her.
Gaby’s father passed away, leaving her mother, Dina, as the sole provider for Gaby and her four siblings. Dina’s income as a baker fluctuates, as her wages depend on how many orders she gets and how much bread she sells daily.
Beaming with pride and a smile that constantly says, “I can do it,” 12-year-old Bryan enjoys a grand accomplishment for a boy his age.
For the third year in a row, Bryan has earned the distinction of being valedictorian at his grade school in Guatemala, a feat that is even more impressive when you consider only one student gets to have that honor each year.
Excelling at school might be difficult for a lot of students, but not many have faced the sort of obstacles that Bryan has had to overcome.
In Catholic tradition, a holy year is a time of special prayer, pilgrimage and grace. They normally occur every 25 years, but there can be exceptions for special occasions.
2016 is one of those exceptional years, with Pope Francis proclaiming this The Holy Year of Mercy. During this time, the pope has invited not only Catholics but all people of goodwill to enter into deeper reflection on the concept of mercy.
So let’s reflect a bit, through the lens of Unbound.
Jolita wears the cultural dress of the Dumagat indigenous community at a ceremony where she received recognition as one of 10 Outstanding Elders of the Philippines.
By Loretta Shea Kline, managing editor for Unbound
Sponsored elder Jolita helped three generations of women in the Dumagat indigenous community give birth. For her efforts, she received recognition as one of the Outstanding Older Persons of the Philippines.
Ana and Katherin go for a walk in their neighborhood.
Ana helps Katherin with her homework.
Many of us make New Year’s resolutions: eat healthy, get organized, save more, forget less. Even with the best of intentions, many resolutions fall by the wayside. If you’ve made a resolution, we want you to achieve it. Let the story of one mother’s personal transformation inspire you to succeed in your own goals for 2016.