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.
Maria is a sponsored elder who lives in Mexico with her oldest son and his family. Maria’s husband passed away, and she now sells clothes at a local market to earn a small income. She is outgoing and enjoys staying active. Learn Maria’s secret to a long life and other wisdom she shares with us.
By Melissa Velazquez, international evaluation and systems manager
A few years back, I sat with a group of local Unbound staff in our office in the Dominican Republic to talk about program evaluation. These individuals work day in and day out with limited resources to connect with sponsored individuals and their families, ensuring that initiatives and activities are moving forward in honest, sustainable and empowering ways.
They have a lot on their plate, and that day they had one question for me: “Why should we care about evaluation?”
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.
Jorge’s favorite spot is the hammock on his front porch.
“I spend the afternoon right here,” he said. “I read the Bible — I stay here until about 8 at night. We eat something, and we go to bed.”
Jorge is 68 years old and lives in Guatemala. Those relaxing afternoons in the hammock are much needed after his long mornings selling clothes in the marketplace.
Jorge and his wife, Reyna, wake up at 5 a.m. every day and try to sell clothes to provide for their daily needs. They may earn $4 or $5 on a good day, but many times they can’t sell anything, leaving them with no money for food or transportation home from the market.