Tag: people

Sponsor Jennifer Afflerbach, center, with her sponsored friend Bryan and his mother, Sirlen, on a 2012 Costa Rica awareness trip.
Mar 27 2015

A vision of courage

Sponsor Jennifer Afflerbach, center, with her sponsored friend Bryan and his mother, Sirlen, on a 2012 Costa Rica awareness trip.

Sponsor Jennifer Afflerbach, center, with her sponsored friend Bryan and his mother, Sirlen, on a 2012 Costa Rica awareness trip.

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.

Indian family
Feb 6 2015

Celebrating World Interfaith Harmony Week

In 2010, the United Nations declared the first week in February as World Interfaith Harmony Week. For 2015, the focus is on promoting religious and inter-religious actions for sustainable development. At Unbound, we build relationships of mutual respect and support that bridge cultural, religious and economic divides. Shruthi and her family are just one example of this philosophy in action.

With bright eyes and a warm smile, 13-year-old Shruthi carries herself with confidence.

She’s had a sponsor through Unbound since she was in the second grade. She’s in ninth grade now.

“It was the happiest feeling, I remember, when I was told that there is another family far away who is sponsoring me,” she said. “I learned gradually what sponsorship is about.”

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Loretta and Myrna
Jan 30 2015

Another kind of generosity

Loretta and Myrna

Myrna Cado and Loretta Kline wait in the rain for Pope Francis’ closing Mass to start. Myrna is a community leader and the mother of a sponsored child. She lost three of her children in 2000 after her home was swept away in a flash flood.

By Loretta Shea Kline, managing editor for Unbound

I witnessed generosity in abundance while in the Philippines for Pope Francis’ mid-January visit.

It was the kind of generosity in which people give, not from excess, but of themselves.

Pope Francis went to Tacloban to be with survivors of Typhoon Haiyan as another storm approached. I heard more than one person say how the gift of his presence gave them courage to face trials in their lives.

“He is one of us,” they said.

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Martin Luther King, Jr.
Jan 19 2015

Let the work continue

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking at the Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C., Aug. 28, 1963. National Archives photo no. 306-SSM-4D-107-8.

By Larry Livingston, senior writer/editor

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is properly associated with the U.S. civil rights movement of the mid-20th century. But like all great people, his witness transcends his times.

The heroism of Dr. King is found, as it is for other noble figures throughout history, in his commitment to speak truth to power. It is a simple virtue to understand but a most difficult one to live out. Those who do usually pay a price for it.

Though Dr. King did in fact pay the ultimate price for his commitment to naming injustice for what it was, the words he spoke live on. Nearly 50 years after his assassination, he continues to inspire those who strive to create a more just world.

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Sister Dinora and Sister Marta
Jan 16 2015

Called to do good

Sister Dinora and Sister Marta

Sister Dinora (left) and Sister Marta share their stories of compassion and commitment.


By Alley Stonestreet, bilingual communications manager

As an interpreter, I know the cardinal rules: don’t show emotion, use proper pronouns, don’t say “he said” or “she said,” always use “I.” It’s hard to remember when you’re interpreting on the spot, but important to keep the conversation directed to the right people.

One of the first rules they teach you is not to get caught up in the emotion of what you’re interpreting.

I broke that rule for the first time recently.

Find out why

Henry Flores
Dec 22 2014

‘They need opportunities, not blame’

Henry Flores

Henry Flores records sponsored members playing soccer in Mexico.


By Henry Flores, director of the Unbound communications center in El Salvador

During a filming trip to the Dominican Republic, the director for the shooting told me, “I want to portray the sponsored members, the poor, in a way that describes who they really are. I know what the world tells me the poor are, please tell me what they are not!”

Our general conception of those living in poverty has been modeled by what we have seen or read, creating for many a preconceived image of the poor. After 20 years working with poor people and communities in many countries, I can tell you they are not what we´ve been told.

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Sponsor a child
Dec 19 2014

6 reasons you should write letters

Sponsor a child

Madala in India reads a letter from her sponsor.

Each year Unbound sponsors receive at least two letters and a Christmas card from the person they sponsor. But not as many letters go the other way.

There are lots of reasons for not sending a letter. Not knowing what to say (here are some useful tips), international postage can be a hassle (did you know you can send eLetters?), or maybe life is just plain hectic.

To counter that, here are six reasons from Unbound staff and sponsors on why you should be writing letters.

1. “Each day I communicate in an overwhelming number of ways: social networks, texts, emails, phone calls. However, nothing brightens my day like receiving a little piece of news from one of my sponsored friends in a faraway country. I write because I want them to have the same experience.” — Ellen Edgar, project specialist

Click here to see the rest

Don Quique
Dec 15 2014

‘Money goes away. Encouragement fills my spirit’

Don Quique

Luis Enrique shows off piñatas he made for birthday parties to celebrate other sponsored members.

By Alley Stonestreet, bilingual communications manager

Meet Luis Enrique from Costa Rica, better known as Don Quique.

An active man with a big heart, Don Quique is a former construction worker and father of four adult children and grandchildren. He spends his days cultivating his garden with natural fertilizers and making piñatas that he donates to Unbound for birthday parties.

You could say Don Quique isn’t your typical sponsored friend. He’s neither a child nor an elderly man, but he is sponsored. Why?

Unbound does not limit itself when it comes to helping people in the communities we serve. We invite people of goodwill to be part of the Unbound program. This includes those who find themselves in need of assistance because of a disability — physical, mental or otherwise — regardless of their age.

And Don Quique needed that support.

After a brain tumor, two aneurysms and complications from surgery, Don Quique lost his sight several years ago.

He discovered Unbound through one of his grandchildren.

Keep reading

Favorite photos of 2014
Dec 12 2014

14 favorite Unbound photos of 2014

Each year we share hundreds of photos from our staff members around the world. A window into another person’s life, each photo tells a unique story.

We shared a ton of amazing photos in 2014. Here are 14 of our favorites.

Click here to see our favorite photos!

Sponsor a child
Dec 1 2014

Be a Superhero this Giving Tuesday

Sponsor a child

Rodrigo and his mother, Silvia.

In an urban neighborhood in El Salvador, a little boy with a gapped-tooth smile named Rodrigo dreams of becoming a superhero.

But not so he can fly, become invisible or freeze his enemies.

He loves pretending he’s a superhero because every day he sees people who need one.

In a country where more than a third of the population lives in poverty, including Rodrigo, hungry bellies, leaky roofs and families struggling to send their kids to school and to get ahead are everyday realities.

“My dream is to be a superhero,” Rodrigo said. “To save and help people.”

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