This article is sponsored by Unbound, a charity that focuses on one-to-one sponsorship to combat poverty around the world.
Travel has opened our eyes to so many amazing things in the world, but it’s also shown us how many people around the world struggle with basic necessities like food, clean water, and a safe place for their family to live.
As the holiday season approaches, we, like many, become more mindful of the opportunities we have, and what we can do to create greater opportunities for all. My focus when donating my time or money has always been about helping others to gain self-sufficiency. I’m honored to partner with the charity Unbound, which works individually with children, families, and the elderly to help them set and work toward specific goals to become more self-sufficient.
Our most meaningful charitable experiences have all been about getting to know people and what they really need, and then providing either the help or resources so they can become self-supporting.
In college, I spent a year working with a refugee outreach program. I was able to mentor a high school student that had recently been placed in my area to navigate the new challenges of attending school in a completely different place and culture, and in a language that wasn’t their first.
After living in a remote part of Thailand for almost a year, Aaron saw that one of the biggest barriers to children attending and finishing school was an efficient means of transportation from their family farm to the local schoolhouse. Education is one of the most important tools to create opportunity and combat poverty, so he wanted to provide a solution that could make a big long-term impact.
We spent the better part of that year engaging in fundraising efforts in order to buy bicycles for this local school. At the end of the year we traveled to Thailand together, and as part of our trip we were able to deliver the bikes to this school.
As life has gotten busier with work and a child, we don’t always have the time to dedicate to a long-term project. While one-time service projects like serving meals at a homeless shelter or attending a local beach or park clean-up are great, I also want to find ways I can be a part of long-term, lasting change in an individual’s or family’s life.
Through the charity Unbound, this is possible. Unbound was established in 1981 with the goal of helping families in poverty to become self-sufficient. When you talk about global poverty statistics, the problem sounds almost impossible to overcome. But focusing on what we can do for one person or one family will make a world of difference to them.
Ways to Join Unbound in the Fight against Poverty
Unbound has several programs where you can be an integral part of the path out of poverty.
1 Sponsor a Child
Unbound has carefully structured their sponsorship program so they are providing a “hand-up, not a handout.” This program utilizes local staff members to listen to and work with families to set personal goals. After all, they know best what they need for their family, they usually just need the resources and the opportunity.
A monthly contribution of $40 to $50 is used to provide families with those resources needed to reach their goals; these usually fall under nutrition, health care, education and skills training, improvements to their living conditions, or seed capital for a small business or farm.
2 Sponsor an elderly person
Aging can present an uncertain time for many, and this is especially true if you aren’t surrounded by supportive family or friends. Through Unbound, you can connect with a senior to help them feel recognized and appreciated. A sponsorship also provides access to basic necessities like medical care and healthy food, along with support groups and fellowship through the Unbound community.
3 Donate to the Agents of Change Program
The Agents of Change program provides grants for specific need-based projects within a community. People within a community come together to identify a small, but impactful local need, and apply for a $500 grant. As a donor, you can provide the entire grant, or several contributions will be pooled together to provide the entire $500 to the community.
Projects completed using an Agents of Change grant include building a sanitary, working school bathroom in Honduras, a well-cover to safeguard the water supply for a village in India, and installing street lighting to create a safer neighborhood in the Philippines.
4 Donate to the Unbound Scholarship Program
I truly believe that education is one of the most effective ways to combat poverty, and so much research supports this. Access to education, and specifically the costs associated with transportation to school, tuition, books, or supplies can be cost-prohibitive to some students, leading them to drop out. Local staff at Unbound award these scholarships to students in need based on merit and leadership.
Unbound receives CharityWatch’s Highest Rating
With Unbound, 92.6% of your donation goes directly to the program. This is one of the first statistics I look at when considering a donation, because I want my support to go directly to where it is intended. Unbound received CharityWatch’s highest rating, which covers transparency, governance policies and financial practices and disclosures.
Start your journey with Unbound on Giving Tuesday – December 1, 2020
This year has been exceptionally difficult for everyone. Giving Tuesday is a wonderful way to end the year on a positive note and make a difference with Unbound. Establish a long-term relationship with someone in need by becoming a sponsor, or make a donation to a project that can transform an entire community.
Unbound sponsored this post. Visit Unbound.org to learn more about empowering those in need through sponsorship today.