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Understanding Obstacles of Poverty

 Community groups participating in Unbound’s International Poverty Simulation learn what it takes for families to survive and thrive By Loretta Shea Kline For a quarter century, co-founder Bob Hentzen accompanied travelers on Unbound’s awareness trips to Africa, Asia and Latin America. In conversations on buses traveling over paved roads and dirt roads, on boats crossing vast lakes and on foot trekking up winding mountain paths, Hentzen listened and learned. He learned, among other things, that people are “in their own search pattern.” “They want to understand the world problem and what they can do,” he said in a 2009 interview. “And when they find this instrument, things begin to expand." The “instrument” Hentzen referred to was Unbound sponsorship and the opportunity it provides to connect with a child and family overseas to support them on their path out of poverty. “What I’m hoping and praying will happen is that more and more people will help us get the word out,” he said. Hentzen passed away in 2013, but his dream to “get the word out” about child sponsorship and how it helps families chip away at poverty lives on.

SPOTLIGHT ON Mothers groups Mothers groups are the primary way parents and guardians participate in Unbound. Organized and encouraged by local staff, these small groups of 15-30 mothers from the same community meet regularly to encourage learning, leadership, entrepreneurship, accountability and mutual support.

Bolivia Bolivia is one of the poorest countries in Latin America with the majority of its population living below the poverty line. Indigenous communities, women and young people are particularly vulnerable to poverty and food insecurity because their income is insufficient to meet basic food needs. Unbound's outreach in Bolivia began in 1988 and serves families in the country’s three main cities: Cochabamba, Santa Cruz and La Paz, and surrounding communities. Many children in Bolivia leave school to help their families on farms or to assist in their families’ commercial activities. Others leave because they cannot afford fees, supplies or other school-related expenses. Unbound sponsorship offers sponsored members and their families in Bolivia opportunities to build a path out of poverty. The program provides vital support and encouragement and assists with resources to meet basic needs and set and achieve goals for families’ ongoing development. Through their participation in the Unbound program, families in Bolivia can discover in one another and within themselves the tools, talents and strengths needed to overcome the economic and historic cycle of poverty faced by their families and communities.

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