On Oct. 17, 1987, more than 1,000 people gathered in Paris at the site where the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights had been signed 39 years earlier. They came to publicly affirm their belief that being forced to live in extreme poverty is a violation of those essential rights. Five years later, the United Nations formally designated Oct. 17 as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.
Perhaps nothing says more about Unbound’s culture of learning than our movement toward small, community-based groups within our programs. The families themselves taught us that when those who are systemically disadvantaged come together, great things can happen.
Local Unbound program staffs discovered early on that small peer groups were ideal for building trust and an environment of mutual support within a larger community. They found that the ideal size was about 25 members — large enough to feel empowered but small enough to maintain a sense of intimacy.
Stop for a moment to consider the clothes you’re wearing. For the majority of Americans, it’s likely the fabric was woven on a machine loom and the garment pieces cut and stitched using an overlock sewing machine in a distant country.
But for Sandra, a mother of two sponsored children in Guatemala, the process of making clothes is much closer to home.
By Regina Mburu, communications liaison for Unbound in Africa
Editor’s note: There have been no reports of youth sponsored through Unbound being affected by the April 2 terror attack on Garissa University College in Kenya.
As the long Easter weekend approached, we were excited and busy making plans on how best to enjoy the holiday with loved ones.
Then we got the news that Garissa University College in the northeastern part of Kenya was under siege. The school is part of the Moi University system.
Terrorists had taken over the Garissa campus. With guns and knives, they took the young lives of 148 students.
Easter celebrations were dampened. The mood was somber as the whole nation was thrown into mourning. Our Kenyan flag, flying at half-mast, served as a symbol to honor the lost lives.
The news media reported that terrorists targeted students who were not of the Islamic faith. Tensions between Christians and Muslims heightened, even while leaders from both faiths condemned the attacks.
Unbound-Kenya serves beneficiaries from both Christian and Islamic religions. As a program, Unbound serves the two religions without favor. Members interact and live harmoniously with each other. Some have formed great friendships, thanks to the Unbound mothers groups.
Looking at this photo, you might see a work of art. A sculpture carefully crafted, textured and painted to convey a new meaning for each new angle it’s viewed from. Or maybe, and more accurately, you see a mushroom farm.
For Guatemalan mother Ana, this mound of chopped corncobs, corn husks and mushroom cultures represents another step toward economic self-sufficiency.
Mothers groups and staff of the Hogares de Solidaridad subproject in Bogota, Colombia, recently organized a Family Day celebration. With food, face painting and dancing, there was a lot to do for everyone that attended.
For 11-year-old Johanna, the day was extra special. Her mom, Alejandra, and the members of her mothers group choreographed a dance to traditional Colombian music. They were one dancer short, however, so Johanna got to join in.
“I had a lot of fun because I had the chance to dance with the other mothers and we supported each other,” Johanna said. “We had good coordination, and I had a great time.”
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By Elizabeth Alex, community outreach and media relations director
A confident smile is the first thing you notice about Doris. It lights up the home where she lives with her mom, dad and baby brother.
It’s a tiny but tidy two-room space. An American visitor might notice the walls are covered with cardboard to insulate against cold weather.
Doris wants to be an engineer so she can design homes that are much sturdier than the one she lives in.
“When you are an engineer you get to draw,” Doris explained. “And I like to draw houses.”
For many living in poverty in places like India’s Rasoolpura slum, thoughts of saving money and having a bank account are distant dreams. Many have never even stepped foot inside a bank.
In India, Unbound sets up individual bank accounts for sponsored children and youth in which funds sent by sponsors are deposited. For children who are underage, the mothers manage the bank accounts. The mothers work with each other and the Unbound staff to make budgets and plan how the funds will be used for their children’s best interests.
Having a bank account is an empowering, uplifting experience for the mothers.
Read more about their experience here.
Mothers everywhere have dealt with the age-old problem of getting the kids to eat their veggies. A group of mothers in Colombia have found a way to encourage their kids to enjoy vegetables and learn the value of hard work, all while increasing the sustainability of their families.
Read more to learn how they did it.