Category Archives: Africa

World Toilet Day
Nov 19 2014

World Toilet Day: Solving the sanitation crisis

World Toilet Day

This latrine in Uganda afforded no privacy and is no longer usable.

By Elizabeth Alex, community outreach and media relations director for Unbound

The United Nations has designated Wednesday, Nov. 19, as a day to talk about toilets.

At first glance it may seem an odd topic to dwell on for a day. Most people don’t spend a lot of time thinking about toilets.

Unless you happen to be one of the people without access to one.

According to the United Nations, almost 2,000 children die every day from preventable diarrheal diseases.

Keep reading

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Voices of Unbound: Madagascar
Nov 7 2014

Setting ego aside to let music in

By Barclay Martin, new channels coordinator for Unbound

It is an outlandish thing to make your living as a singer/songwriter, and one of the lessons it taught me early was that in order to make it, you have to hustle.

You have to release the notion that just because a morning of coffee and scratching in a notebook renders a song the world is compelled to respond. There’s a brawn to art, the idea that beneath the lustrous promise of a new creation there is muscle and metal driving it. With each release, there is a constant chirping in my brain, beckoning people to pay attention for a moment to what I’m doing. It is a daily battle for a sliver of presence in a world more infinitely layered than we could ever know.

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Education
Oct 22 2014

Support keeps student in school, out of factory

Unbound scholar

Mamisoa receives a scholarship through Unbound in Madagascar. His scholarship is funded by donations to Education.

By Barclay Martin, new channels coordinator

I met Mamisoa at the Unbound-Madagascar central office while he was helping out with an event for aging members of the Unbound community. He’s studying earth sciences and wants to work to improve the water quality for people in Madagascar. He was introduced as one of the scholarship recipients. Unbound scholarships are funded by donations to Education. Luckily, I had a chance to pose some questions to Mamisoa.

Q. Why did you apply for an Unbound scholarship?

Keep reading to find out Mamisoa’s answers

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Voices of Unbound: Madagascar
Oct 15 2014

Meeting Migasy

By Barclay Martin, new channels coordinator

For those compelled to think that people who live in poverty have nothing but their need to offer the world, I might begin by offering them the example of the extraordinary group, Migasy. This ensemble of musicians from the Unbound Madagascar community has developed a sophisticated sound with thoughtful messages. Messages that move humanity forward. These are engaged people who, amidst struggle, have committed themselves to creating works of art.

As they played song after song for us, I thought about the instruments that they played — some of them borrowed, some of them held together with rubber bands and plastic. These are the stories that don’t come through the music at first listen. They must be told. So should the very fact that they shared their music with us so others might have opportunity to go to school through Unbound scholarships. They were proud to do it.

As we recorded, the spirit in the room was of generosity. For each of the artists in Migasy, the desire to grow as musicians and offer something of substance moves them forward. For my part, I simply felt lucky to be in the presence of beautiful artists who had managed to do so much with so little.

It is the best of our human spirit set to music. It’s their gift to us.

Learn more about Voices of Unbound: Madagascar at unbound.org/music.

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Voices of Unbound: Madagascar
Oct 2 2014

Introducing Voices of Unbound: Madagascar

Voices of Unbound: Madagascar

Recently our resident musician and new channels coordinator, Barclay Martin, traveled to Madagascar. While there he collaborated with members of the Unbound community to record songs that are unique to the Malagasy people. Through instrument and song, the Voices of Unbound: Madagascar CD tells a story that leaves the listener with a sense of the gifts, capacities and cultures of the people with whom we work.

Watch this video to learn more:

Want a copy of the CD? Check out unbound.org/music for more information.

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Sponsor a child
Sep 29 2014

“Disability is not inability”

Joseph teaches math to students in classes eight and nine.

Joseph teaches math to students in classes eight and nine.

Joseph, 22, is a sponsored student in Kenya. When he was 2, Joseph’s parents noticed that he wasn’t able to do some of the same things other children his age could. By the time he was 3, he was unable to walk or move around.

His parents took him to a local hospital, where he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that impairs movement and is caused by brain damage during development.

Joseph underwent surgery to help straighten his legs. He also received physical therapy and used crutches for some time. In all, he spent four years in the hospital being treated for his condition.

Joseph was finally able to join primary school at the age of 7. He was one of the best students in the class.

Joseph’s parents found it hard to get by with Joseph’s medical expenses, four children in school and no steady income. Unbound staff in their area learned of the family’s situation, and in 2002 Joseph was sponsored. The support he received from his sponsor meant his parents could continue paying for his education.

Joseph’s schooling, however,  was interrupted in fourth grade when he had to have another surgery.. He spent another year in the hospital, which meant he had to repeat fourth grade. Despite the difficulties, he continued to excel when he returned to school and even managed to score highly on the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education.

With his high scores, Joseph received a scholarship from the Jomo Kenyatta Foundation, which combined with his sponsorship benefits meant his parents could send him to a better secondary school.

The first secondary school Joseph attended wasn’t the best fit. His condition made it difficult for him to write, which made it hard to keep up with the other students. But it was the negative treatment he received from some of his classmates that was the biggest challenge.

Seeing his struggles, Joseph’s parents decided to transfer him to a school that specialized in teaching students with disabilities. Being among others who faced similar challenges boosted Joseph’s self-confidence.

Joseph, from Kenya

Joseph walks around his classroom full of students.

Joseph recently graduated secondary school with good grades, and plans to pursue a degree in business administration from Kenyatta University. While he waits to get into the university, Joseph puts his time to good use.

He volunteers at his old primary school teaching math and Kiswahili, and he helps out at the Unbound office near his home.

When giving advice to younger students, he keeps it simple. “Disability is not inability,” Joseph said. “Work hard and stay focused.”

Donations to Health help provide equipment and therapeutic devices to sponsored friends with disabilities, along with many other health related initiatives.

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Sponsor a child
Sep 24 2014

18 ways to say I believe in you

Sponsor a child

“I believe in you.”

A powerful statement not often spoken. It offers up a pure form of confidence in the people who need it most.
In this blog post, we will show you how to write this powerful statement in 18 languages. You can even send one of these translations in a note to your sponsored friend.

Uganda:

Luganda is a major language spoken in Uganda. In Luganda, “I believe in you” translates to “Nkukiririzaamu.”

Keep reading for more languages

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