“We are all family," said Annet, a mother who chairs an Unbound parents group in Uganda. "We keep check of each other.”
It’s not a stretch to say that without this community care, 10-year-old sponsored child Jonah’s life might have turned out differently.
The families Unbound works with around the world face significant challenges in creating a better future for their children.
Jonah’s mom, Jane, has always been committed to providing a promising future for her son. Because of a lack of job opportunities in her village, she decided to go to another town to try to earn a living selling produce. She left Jonah in her father’s care.
“I want him to have the best education and attain his goals,” Jane said. “I did not go to school because my parents could not afford to take me. I want Jonah to have a chance to study.”
But while Jane was away working, Jonah stopped attending school. That's when mothers from area Unbound groups stepped in.
“Jonah’s grandfather, who passed away in December, was a member of our group,” Annet said. “He told us about Jonah refusing to go to school. We decided as a group to visit Jonah and his grandfather, and get to know what the problem was.”
After spending time with them, seeking counseling support for Jonah and talking with the school, the mothers discovered that Jonah had been getting good marks but started skipping class because he no longer felt comfortable with his teacher.
“We talked to the administration, and since he was due to go to the next class it meant he would have a different teacher,” Joyce, another group member, said. “He was happy about that, and since 2015 he has been attending classes as normal and is doing well.”
The mothers' concern and support made all the difference in getting Jonah back in school.
“The mentorship at Unbound makes us have that concern for one another,” Annet said. “As a parent, I felt like Jonah is my own child and I had to do my best to see him go to school.”
Had the mothers not intervened, Jonah could have been vulnerable to negative influences in the community.
"He, at one time, had told his grandfather that a group of men had come asking him to join them in the city," Joyce said, adding that the mothers, after hearing about this, confronted the men and told them to stay away from Jonah.
Unbound’s small group model is a cornerstone of the sponsorship program, and the mothers in Uganda exemplify why community support is key. Together, they provided help and encouragement when one family needed it most, offering stability and a caring environment for Jonah, and standing in for his mother when she couldn’t be there.
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Jonah’s mom has since returned to the village and is now a member of the parents' group, where she’s learning to read and write through classes offered by Unbound.
These inspiring women look out for one another and in doing so they make their community stronger. Unbound is thankful to partner with them as they care for each other.
Copyright 2017 Unbound.org
About the Author
Unbound is an international nonprofit founded by lay Catholics grounded in the Gospel call to put the needs of the marginalized and vulnerable first. We build relationships of mutual respect and support that bridge cultural, religious and economic divides. We bring people together to challenge poverty in 18 countries. We invite you to join us. Find us on Facebook or Twitter.