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.”
: Barclay Martin speaks with high school teacher Gail Martin and a group of her students about the documentary “Rise and Dream.”
This 2008 archive photo shows teens from the “Rise and Dream” documentary.
Letters are an everyday part of the Unbound program — they’re the bridge that connects people throughout our world. Hundreds of thousands of letters from sponsored friends pass through our Kansas City headquarters each year on their way to sponsors. With all the correspondence that passes through our office, some letters still come as a surprise.
Happy Make a Friend Day! At Unbound, we’re all about creating meaningful relationships between sponsors and sponsored friends. To celebrate Make a Friend Day, we’d like to give Maynor the opportunity to make a new friend.
Maynor enjoys drawing and playing soccer. Maynor’s father earns an income by working in the cornfields as a day laborer, and Maynor likes helping his father in the field. Maynor, his parents and four siblings are living in a one-room adobe hut. It has a corrugated-tin roof and a dirt floor. His mother takes care of the domestic chores, and the family lives on the father’s earnings. The amount isn’t enough to meet their everyday needs. For Maynor, sponsorship would mean a better situation for his entire family.
Diego, a sponsored youth and scholarship recipient in Costa Rica.
Diego faced many challenges when he decided to go to college and study teaching. Classes were far from home, and transportation costs as well as food and education fees began to add up. Although difficult, Diego stuck with it.
“I kept telling myself, ‘this is hard because it is worth it. It will be fruitful someday,'” Diego said.
Hortensia enjoys reading the Bible, and reads it every night before going to bed.
Horetensia lives in a small town to the west of Guatemala’s capital with her husband, Victor. At 68, she has a clear dream for her future.
“I dream of living my elder years with good health, and I dream of not having to work so hard anymore,” Horetensia said. Laughing, she added, “I no longer have the strength to work hard; it’s not that I turned lazy.”
Hortensia has been working hard all her life. She and her husband started their family in Guatemala City more than 40 years ago. He worked as an auto mechanic, and she had a small business selling tortillas. They had 10 children, though two of them passed away in infancy.
When Victor started having strokes, which made him lose the ability to walk for some time, the burden of supporting their large family fell solely on Hortensia.
“I knew without proper education, his life would turn out bleak,” Anna said of her grandnephew. “I had to do everything within my reach to help him go to school and learn.”
The 72-year-old Ugandan woman took over the care of Fred when he was just 8 months old after the untimely death of his parents. Fred’s mother was Anna’s niece, whom Anna also cared for. Growing up, Fred has always just referred to Anna as his grandmother.
Anna found herself in a position to help her extended family after the end of her 29-year marriage. Anna’s husband, a polygamist, banished her from his home because Anna did not bear him children. She moved in with her ailing brother who soon died, leaving his children and grandchildren, Fred among them, in her care.
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.
Recently, I had the privilege of sitting down with Jim and Ginger, a lovely couple who have been a part of the Quaker tradition for more than 40 years. As it so often happens, it was nothing like I thought it’d be.