Mark is a good student, finishing in the top three in his high school in the Philippines. But despite this accomplishment, going to college wasn’t a certainty. His parents’ medical issues meant the family budget was tighter than ever, and there just wasn’t anything extra to help pay for college fees.
Karen has experienced much trauma in her life — from domestic violence and a near fatal attack from her first husband to being abandoned by her second husband. Now the 31-year-old single mother of three in Colombia is raising her children alone in a humble home made of bamboo sticks and rusted sheet metal.
Karen’s strength and hope for her children’s future shines brightly. Her daughter is sponsored through Unbound, and while the tangible benefits help her family, the sense of belonging and hope she feels from the Unbound program is just as meaningful.
Manish spent a good part of his childhood stationed outside the East Gate of India’s famed Taj Mahal.
By the age of 5 he was working long days peddling trinkets: bracelets, beads or cheap keychains.
Selling on the streets is dangerous work for little kids. They can become easy prey for thieves or victims of speeding cars and motorcycles.
But Manish had little choice. He is the youngest of seven. His father works, but doesn’t make enough money to feed every child in the family.
Designing and creating fashionable jewelry can be challenging, but for Florence it’s the perfect career. Florence was badly burned when she was young, leaving her with little use of her hands. But she doesn’t let her disability define her life. She chose her career, and it’s helping her earn a living for herself and her three children.
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.
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.
The ability to read and write opens doors both inside and outside the classroom. Communication connects the world and knowledge is arguably the most life-changing gift one can give.
But for Ugandan parents Henry and Prossy, it was nearly impossible to support the educational needs of their six children.
The family relied on raising animals for an often meager income. Henry was also able to pick up occasional jobs at construction sites, but this wasn’t a reliable source of income. The family’s earnings were not enough to properly educate their children.
In Unbound communities around the world, however, the lives of families are transformed by the sponsorship of even one of their children.
Joseph, 22, is a sponsored student in Kenya. When he was 2, Joseph’s parents noticed that he wasn’t able to do some of the same things other children his age could. By the time he was 3, he was unable to walk or move around.
His parents took him to a local hospital, where he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that impairs movement and is caused by brain damage during development.
Joseph underwent surgery to help straighten his legs. He also received physical therapy and used crutches for some time. In all, he spent four years in the hospital being treated for his condition.
Joseph was finally able to join primary school at the age of 7. He was one of the best students in the class.
Joseph’s parents found it hard to get by with Joseph’s medical expenses, four children in school and no steady income. Unbound staff in their area learned of the family’s situation, and in 2002 Joseph was sponsored. The support he received from his sponsor meant his parents could continue paying for his education.
Joseph’s schooling, however, was interrupted in fourth grade when he had to have another surgery.. He spent another year in the hospital, which meant he had to repeat fourth grade. Despite the difficulties, he continued to excel when he returned to school and even managed to score highly on the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education.
With his high scores, Joseph received a scholarship from the Jomo Kenyatta Foundation, which combined with his sponsorship benefits meant his parents could send him to a better secondary school.
The first secondary school Joseph attended wasn’t the best fit. His condition made it difficult for him to write, which made it hard to keep up with the other students. But it was the negative treatment he received from some of his classmates that was the biggest challenge.
Seeing his struggles, Joseph’s parents decided to transfer him to a school that specialized in teaching students with disabilities. Being among others who faced similar challenges boosted Joseph’s self-confidence.
Joseph recently graduated secondary school with good grades, and plans to pursue a degree in business administration from Kenyatta University. While he waits to get into the university, Joseph puts his time to good use.
He volunteers at his old primary school teaching math and Kiswahili, and he helps out at the Unbound office near his home.
When giving advice to younger students, he keeps it simple. “Disability is not inability,” Joseph said. “Work hard and stay focused.”
Donations to Health help provide equipment and therapeutic devices to sponsored friends with disabilities, along with many other health related initiatives.
A lot can happen in an instant. The phone rings, a dog wags his tail, a frown turns into a smile, someone clicks “like” on Facebook.
A life changes.
Watch this video, “In an Instant,” to see how the simple click of a button can change the life of a child.