Summer of Opportunity

Community Snapshots: Skills training and summer camps in India, traffic safety in Santo Domingo, new experiences in Cuernavaca

October 10, 2022 | Be Informed

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Community Snapshots are informational blurbs on happenings from Unbound’s field offices and communities around the globe. They give readers a glimpse into the activities, initiatives and events occurring within the Unbound community, beyond the deeper stories that appear on Living Unbound.

Here are the summer 2022 updates shared by program staff via the organization’s channels.

india — tamil nadu program


Creating sustainable livelihoods for mothers
Mothers of sponsored children and youth across all zones of Unbound’s Tamil Nadu program have been actively participating in skills training opportunities.

According to Unbound Correspondence and Evaluation Coordinator Antony Bosco, Tamil Nadu’s mothers groups realized the importance of having a sustainable livelihood, especially after experiencing the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on their family incomes.

“[Encouraging] women entrepreneurship is not only the right thing to do, but it also helps to build a stronger community,” Bosco said.

Mothers came together this summer to participate in a variety of micro-level skills training and entrepreneurship activities, including brainstorming sessions on how to create branding and pricing, and a marketing strategy for products they learned to create.

Different mother units have learned to hand-create such things as doormats, soft toys, jute bags (handbags made from the fiber, or jute, of a flowering plant) and home-care products, while others have learned baking skills.

Mothers with Unbound’s Tamil Nadu program have been actively participating in skills training sessions that have the potential to help them develop sustainable livelihoods. Over the last few months, mothers have taken part in sessions that have included such topics as how to create home-care products, make brightly colored doormats and plush toys, and use baking for business. The mothers also learned how to make marketing strategies and pricing for the products they created.

[Encouraging] women entrepreneurship is not only the right thing to do, but it also helps to build a stronger community.

— Antony Bosco, Unbound Correspondence and Evaluation Coordinator, India

Children’s summer camps return
After a two-year-long hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, children’s summer camp activities returned to Unbound’s Tamil Nadu and South Tamil Nadu programs during the months of May and June.

The summer camps’ focus this year was to help sponsored children perfect the art of personalized letter writing, learn goal orientation and gain awareness of the rights of children. In addition, classes on career guidance, computer fundamentals, spoken English and dance were also provided, as well as sessions meant to build motivation. Children took a field trip to the Anna Science Centre-Planetarium and participated in drawing and craft-making activities.

According to Antony Bosco, correspondence and evaluation coordinator, the summer camp inspired the children to learn their duties, roles and responsibilities in society and uncover new skills.

“The children were receptive, thoroughly entertained and delighted,” Bosco said. “It brought smiles and happiness to the hearts of the children.”

As a result of the summer camp this year, the staff noticed an increase in new children’s clubs emerging all throughout the programs.

At the Tamil Nadu program’s summer camps for children this year, staff members gave classes on how to perfect the art of letter writing to sponsors, hosted art and drawing sessions and dance performances, and took chaperoned learning experiences to the Anna Science Centre-Planetarium.

india — delhi program


Summer camps introduce street theater, career counseling
According to Unbound Delhi program staff, summer camps are the place where many children have the most memorable experiences of their lives. The Delhi program staff sought to introduce summer camps this past summer to help children, youth and even mothers re-engage following the isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Major activities organized this past summer for camp included street theaters, computer classes, English-speaking classes, art and crafts workshops, career counseling, a drawing competition, educational field trips, and stitching and embroidery classes. Mothers of sponsored children also got the chance to participate in the camp, taking a class on food preservation.

In Unbound’s Delhi program, summer camps this year introduced a variety of different educational and physical activities for children. Two major activities included street theater performances and the “Best Out of Waste” drawing contest. Street theater in India is used as a means of communication to disseminate social themes and to raise awareness among the general public. Children from age 14 and up had the chance to participate in street theater performances. Some of the awareness topics performed included “Clean India, Green India” and “Save Girl Child.”

The art contest, “Best Out of Waste,” challenged sponsored children to bring waste items from home that they could turn into art designs. Children were also asked to create drawings that depicted important social causes like protecting the environment. According to Delhi staff, the purpose of these activities was to make children aware of social causes and how they could contribute “toward the betterment of society.”

latin america — santo domingo program


Santo Domingo program opens new Agents of Change-funded community center
In August, the Santo Domingo program celebrated opening a new community center with a visit from President and CEO Scott Wasserman and his wife, Anabella.

The Villa las Hortalizas Community Center, located in the community of Constance, was part of an Agents of Change initiative led by a determined group of mothers working together in the name of progress.

The Wassermans took part in the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the community center, and all present for the opening enjoyed refreshments, live music and fellowship. During their trip to Santo Domingo, the Wassermans also visited with many sponsored families.

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Unbound CEO Scott Wasserman and wife, Anabella, participated in the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Santo Domingo program’s new community center and visited with the community. The new center, located in the community of Constance, was part of an Agents of Change initiative managed by a group of Unbound mothers.

Sponsored children get a lesson in traffic safety
Each year, more than 2,000 Dominicans die from traffic accidents, while a similar number are either injured or disabled. Of every 100 people involved in traffic accidents, 70 are between the ages of 15 and 21 years old.

To that end, the Santo Domingo program’s summer activities for sponsored children included a field trip to the School of Road Education, a branch of the National Institute of Land Transit. The children were taught the meaning of different traffic signs from the points of view of a passenger, a driver and a pedestrian.

Afterward, the children were able to put the theory into action by practicing via bicycles and pedal carts on a safe driving range. Children who completed the training and exercises were given a participation card.

“With this teaching, our children will have the ability to teach others when crossing the streets, as they were also taught in detail the content of the land transit law in the Dominican Republic,” said Maria Ferreira, program evaluator with Unbound Santo Domingo.

In addition, the children got to visit a community garden maintained by the institute to learn about the variety of vegetables grown and shared with the community.

Children and youth with Unbound’s Santo Domingo program took a National Institute of Land Transit workshop this past summer where they learned the meaning of different traffic signs. They put their learning to use afterward, riding bicycles and pedal cars during the road safety training part of the workshop. They completed the learning experience by visiting the institute’s community garden.

Learning jewelry-making as a new income-generating skill
The Santo Domingo program introduced a variety of summer workshops beginning in July for sponsored children, mothers and scholarship holders, two of which involved learning how to make simple, yet beautiful jewelry.

The first workshop covered tips and uses for resin, a sticky and versatile substance often used in arts and crafts, home renovation projects and more. The workshop covered how to combine colors and encapsulation techniques to create keychains, earrings and pens.

In the second workshop, attendees learned how to make various other accessories through weaving and basic knot tying. They designed bracelets, rings, necklaces and loops for face masks.

“With this learning, each participant will be able to have the initiative to start their own business, [which will] contribute to improving their economic quality [of life] by generating new income,” Santo Domingo Program Evaluator Maria Ferreira said.

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Sponsored children, scholarship recipients and mothers got the chance to learn how to make bracelets and other accessories as part of a summer workshop hosted by Santo Domingo program staff. The workshop offered an opportunity to learn skills that could be used to generate income or start a business. Participants also learned how to make earrings, keychains and pens out of resin, a sticky substance often used like a glue.

Scholarship holders introduce ‘homework room’ to sponsored children
Two Unbound scholarship recipients in the Santo Domingo program created a “homework room” for children in the community as part of their summer scholarship projects.

The purpose of the homework room was to provide assistance during school breaks to children and mothers who were struggling to read, write and do basic math.

According to the Santo Domingo staff, the homework room was a great help to the children who attended. Though the scholarship service project period has ended, the scholarship recipients have continued to offer the homework room with the understanding that school breaks can lead to setbacks in learning. The homework room gives children the option to make the most of learning during school holidays.

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The Santo Domingo program’s “homework room” welcomed sponsored children in the community to continue their learning during school holidays, while helping those struggling with math, reading and writing to brush up on their skills.

latin america — cuernavaca program


Popcorn and a movie for sponsored families
In Unbound’s Cuernavaca, Mexico, program in early September, sponsored families had the opportunity to attend a movie at a local theater.

The field trip was called “Let’s Go to the Cinema.” For several of the sponsored individuals and families, it was the first time in their lives they had gotten to enter a movie theater.

“We are very happy to be able to manage these trips totally free for our communities,” said Mariana Reyes, who manages the Unbound Scholarship Program in Cuernavaca. “[Their] faces of happiness say it all.”

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Some sponsored children and families with Unbound’s Cuernavaca program got to experience a movie theater (including movie theater popcorn) for the first time during a special field trip with staff.


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