Like most moms, Maria is a busy woman. Cooking, cleaning and getting her children ready for school are just a few of the things that make up her daily routine. Maria is also involved in starting her own business and improving the health and wellness of her community. It’s a full plate, but she’s excited about each opportunity that comes her way.
Living in Kenya as a widow with six children hasn’t been easy for Mary. Aside from dealing with emotional loss and a lack of income, Mary and her children often faced disapproval.
“I have had to deal with negativity from the society that mistreats widows and single mothers,” Mary said. “I have had to overcome self-pity over my situation and that of my children — that has been the greatest challenge. Trusting in God and in a brighter future is what keeps me going.
“I am just grateful that Unbound stepped in when all my hope was lost,” she continued. “They sympathized with my situation and two of my children got sponsored. … I am also hopeful that with the help of the small mothers group loaning system I will be able to start up a livelihood business in the near future.”
“Do you feel poor?”
That’s how Henry Flores, director of the Unbound communications center in El Salvador, began his conversation with Ashley, a sponsored 15 year old from Costa Rica.
A difficult question to ask; an even tougher one to answer.
How could a teenager living in a poor community behind one of the largest shopping malls in the area, where she and her mother, Juana, can only see the walls that hide their reality from the beauty and fantasy of the department stores, answer a question like that?
By Jennifer Afflerbach, Unbound sponsor
Eight simple words of encouragement: “I can tell you are a good mother.”
That’s what I wrote to Sirlen, the mother of Bryan, the child I sponsor in Costa Rica. Little did I know what a profound effect it would have on her — and on me.
“Thank you for saying that,” she wrote back. “Your letter brought tears to my eyes.”
And her letter brought tears to mine, as I envisioned this strong, courageous mother of four children under the age of 8 being buoyed by such a small gesture on my part.
I knew I had to meet this woman. So I went on an awareness trip to Costa Rica the next year. When we met face to face, it was as if we were old friends — we connected instantly.
And my instinct had been right — she is a very good mother.
After the visit, when I wrote and inquired about their long journey home on mountainous roads, she replied that the trip wasn’t the most difficult part, the goodbye was.
Again, she brought tears to my eyes.
Sponsorship may cost $30 a month, but you can’t put a price tag on the relationship.
Start the journey of sponsorship today.
Life has not been easy for Alicia. Her father passed away when she was 7 years old, leaving her mother to raise four children. Within a year of her father’s death, Alicia and her 10-year-old brother entered the workforce to help support their two younger siblings.
“Life was hard for me,” Alicia shared. “I did not have time to be a child.”
Alicia grew up cleaning homes instead of attending school, and started her adult life with a very limited set of skills. Her husband, Julio, had a similar upbringing, and though he worked hard, found it difficult to provide for his family as a seasonal worker.
“Life was difficult because we did not have jobs, we didn’t even have the knowledge or skill to start a business,” Alicia said of herself and her husband.
By Shanxi Omoniyi, CFCA correspondent